Many skin problems are based on inflammatory processes. They often go unnoticed. They lead to oxidation damage, faster skin aging and other problems. Eating the right diet can take the fuel out of inflammation. This is how an anti-inflammatory diet can protect your skin from irritated areas. What is involved and how do you integrate this diet into your everyday life – also vegan? Read on!
Anti-inflammatory diet and beautiful skin
Your diet has a major impact on the appearance of your skin. It can promote the regeneration of your skin, strengthen its self-protection and even reduce inflammation. Many unpleasant skin conditions can be attributed to this, such as rosacea, psoriasis, neurodermatitis or even acne. In addition, inflammation accelerates skin aging. So the topic is not only interesting for you in the case of visible inflammation .
The function of inflammation
To understand how anti-inflammatory nutrition can support your skin, you should first understand how inflammation works and what inflammation is.
Inflammation is part of your body's immune response. Its purpose is to eliminate germs and toxins. Redness and warmth after injuries are typical. For example, if you cut yourself, bacteria get into the wound . The worst is flushed out with the bleeding. The rest is "burned" in the next healing phase. Therefore, inflammation in such cases is quite normal. It becomes problematic when they don't subside properly. This is often the case, for example, with inflammatory skin conditions.
Not all inflammation is as obvious as a big, red pimple. There are also silent inflammations, which are often chronic. You don't feel or see anything from them . But they are there and increase the oxidative stress in your body. So they can be the cause and fuel for some skin diseases.
💡 Tip: Silent inflammation promotes oxidative stress. We've already covered in detail how damaging free radicals are to your skin . They attack healthy cells and accelerate skin aging.
Inflammatory skin diseases
This category includes, for example, rosacea, psoriasis, neurodermatitis or acne. Red, swollen or warm patches of skin make these problems obvious. Certain foods and messenger substances that are triggered when they are used promote such chronic inflammations . Others reduce inflammation. These anti-inflammatory foods are the foundation of the so-called anti-inflammatory diet, which also promotes your skin health.
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Which Nutrients Reduce Inflammation?
You may already suspect that some foods are making your skin worse. But through which? And can you change your diet to improve your skin? Yes, with an anti-inflammatory diet for the skin you can positively influence healing.
A high-fiber diet promotes a healthy intestinal flora . It's important. “Good” microbes convert dietary fiber into anti-inflammatory fatty acids . If, on the other hand, the "bad" microbes in the intestine predominate, more pro-inflammatory substances are formed .
Omega-3 fatty acids
Unsaturated fatty acids are good, we already know that. However, there are differences here. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects 1,2 while omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation . It is important to ensure a good ratio of both fatty acids. Unfortunately, omega-3 falls far short in our western diet. Most of it is available in fish, but there are also vegetable sources.
🌱 Important for a vegan diet : Omega-3 from plant sources lack certain fatty acids that ensure beautiful skin. Although your body can form them from plant-based omega-3, it needs a correspondingly larger amount to do so. Our post on omega-3 fatty acids explains how to get enough of them on a vegan diet .
Antioxidants are radical scavengers and reduce oxidative stress that accelerates skin aging. He has many triggers. One of them is underlying inflammation. If you consume as many antioxidants as possible, you counteract the consequences of oxidative stress.
vitamin D and magnesium
Both nutrients are part of an anti-inflammatory diet for beautiful skin. Why do we name them in the same breath? They work together . If there is a lack of magnesium, your body produces less vitamin D. If there is a lack of vitamin D, your body cannot use magnesium properly. In short, if you lack one, you lack both.
What does an anti-inflammatory diet that supports your skin look like
So much for the theory. So how do you meet your need for these anti-inflammatory foods? And what should you avoid if possible?
take a lot of this...
Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs
Many of the vitamins and plant pigments contained therein have an antioxidant effect , for example carotenoids, flavonoids or vitamins A, C and E. Berries and peppers in particular are also rich in dietary fibre .
☝️ Tip: Every day a tablespoon of tomato paste gives you the antioxidant kick. It is rich in lycopene, which is particularly important for beautiful skin.
Lentils, peas and the like are rich in fiber and protein . This is ideal for providing you with enough protein on a vegan diet. Because they are necessary for healthy cell growth, including in the skin.
whole grain products
Choose whole grain rather than white flour. And prefer oats, rye or barley to wheat. Background: When metabolizing easily digestible white flour, the blood sugar content and the insulin level rise . This promotes inflammation and, by the way, also sebum production – hello, oily skin!
nuts and seeds
They are rich in fiber and antioxidant minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc. Walnuts and flaxseed are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, making them an excellent source of these important fats for vegans. Nuts and seeds are not only part of an anti-inflammatory diet that supports your skin, they are also indispensable in any diet.
Healthy Vegetable Oils
In the past, fats were generally demonized. Today we know that a distinction must be made. Organic, cold-pressed and polyunsaturated vegetable oils are absolute power substances. Used correctly, they can inhibit inflammation in the body - keyword omega-3. However, they are extremely sensitive and should not be heated. It's best to keep them in the fridge and pour them directly over your food.
☝️ Linseed oil contains the most omega-3 of all vegan foods. It should not be missing in any kitchen. I dedicated an entire article to linseed oil because I find it so important. Read here how to get enough omega-3 fatty acids in your vegan diet . Tip : Put 2 tablespoons of linseed oil over your muesli in the morning!
And little of it...
sugar and white flour
When digesting carbohydrates that are easy to digest, metabolic products are produced in the body that promote inflammation. Experts therefore link the excessive consumption of sugar with an increase in inflammatory diseases . Unfortunately, the Western diet overdoes it with the "sweeten the day". If you want to limit your sugar consumption, avoid hidden sugars in drinks, ready meals and baked goods.
Hidden and heated fats
Ready meals and fast food often contain hidden fats that are not exactly good for your health. In addition, when fats are heated, trans-fatty acids can form. They promote inflammation and are generally very unhealthy. They are mainly found in fried foods such as chips or chips, but also in puff pastry, biscuits and ready meals. But even high-quality vegetable oils can convert to trans fats when heated. They're even faster. In general, therefore, heat fats as little as possible. And use suitable fats for frying and baking. The label will tell you what they are.
Smoking, too much alcohol - both are not good for the skin. They get oxidation processes rolling that quickly make your skin look old. If you regularly consume these stimulants, even a strictly anti-inflammatory diet cannot protect your skin from the oxidation processes.
Who is already stressed voluntarily? But even if you can't turn it off completely, it's worth consciously incorporating relaxation phases into your daily routine. When you are stressed, your body produces pro-inflammatory cytokines . By the way , chronic stress damages your skin in many ways .
An anti-inflammatory diet is good for your skin
You can counteract inflammatory skin conditions with your eating and lifestyle habits. This is of course particularly acute if you suffer from problems such as psoriasis, neurodermatitis, acne or rosacea. But even if your skin is not so obviously inflamed, it is worth paying attention to an anti-inflammatory diet for your skin. Because silent, subliminal inflammations can become permanent stress without being noticed.
Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your daily routine is also easier than you might think. You don't need expensive supplements for this. A colorful and healthy diet is much better.