Our bodies at the end of the day, are an accumulation of what we eat. Keeping this in mind enables us to appreciate that our diet is an essential part of staying healthy. Skin health is no different, food and water intake does play an essential role. For your skin, anti-oxidants are really good to give you a natural glow and keep free radicals away. There are also dietary elements that are essential for the control of acne.
The usual perception that people have with vegetarianism and health in India is that the only thing that vegetarians need to bother about is that they do not get enough protein. Proteins are important for your skin too. Connective tissue, that keeps your skin together is protein-based tissue. Protein is also really important for healthy hair. Is it true then? Do vegetarians not get enough protein? The answer is a simple NO. Vegetarian diets can also be rich in protein.
It is therefore important to have a fair idea of what nutrients need to be focused on by vegetarians, because they are short on them. We also must know the inherent health advantages that a vegetarian gets over meat or egg consuming diets. Beyond this I will also share here some power foods that are good for your skin!
The one thing that a vegetarian diet ensures is that the diet contains lesser amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. This is good for your skin. This means that you are consuming fewer calories which is helpful in the control of acne. Also, vegetarian diets are richer in unsaturated fats in general, which include omega 3 and omega 6 which are not only helpful in controlling acne break-outs but also play an essential role in normal skin function.
Related reading: Treatment of acne
This is not universal, but studies have shown that vegetarian diets tend to fall short of nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium and iron. Of these, the most significant is Vitamin B12. You therefore need to ensure that you keep replenishing your vitamin B12 levels. This can be achieved through oral supplements as well as injectables.
Skin and hair manifestations of Vitamin B12 deficiency include:
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A healthy salad where you are adding some of these power foods followed by dark chocolate for dessert sounds perfect!
Vegetarian diets are again inherently richer in water. This does not mean that it is a substitute for your water intake. Water does play an essential role in your skin.
Water plays a crucial role in maintaining the elasticity of skin. It helps fight acne, eczemas and aging. So how much water should a vegetarian consume in a day? There is no specific answer to that. Just make sure that water is the primary drink in your day and you are consuming it whenever you are feeling thirsty and your body craves it. Do not let your skin get dehydrated. All the power foods in the world will not help If your water intake is not sufficient.
Whether you are vegetarian or a meat eater, the presence of high amounts of processed sugars, is not good for your skin. Consumption of sugar leads to a spike in insulin levels which in turn plays a role is adverse conditions like acne break-outs. There are also studies which show that it plays a role in causing hyperpigmentation or patches of dark skin. You want to avoid these.
A vegetarian diet has enough options to maintain healthy skin and hair. The main thing you need to look out for is deficiency in Vitamin B12. Add some of the listed power foods to your diet for better skin results and drink as much water as your body craves. Avoid processed sugar as much as you can and consult a dermatologist for any hair and skin concerns.