Diet And Nutrition For Keratosis Pilaris
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and the most visible indication of your overall health. The old saying “you are what you eat” truly applies to the skin. When you eat a healthy diet, your skin will be smooth, supple, and radiant. When it comes to treating Keratosis Pilaris (KP), changing your diet can play a major role in eliminating your bumps for good.
Topical treatments can only go so far as they are only treating the symptom of the problem. Improving your health internally is the best way to see permanent results in your skin. If you are not eating a healthy diet, making an effort to add healthier foods and cut out junk food can significantly improve the condition of your skin.
I will go over some of the essential nutrients that you need for healthier skin so you can start to make educated choices when it comes to the foods you put in your body. If you are serious about clearing up your KP, making changes to your diet is a must. When you eat healthy foods, you will feel better and have more energy, so that will motivate you to stick with it. When adding nutritional supplements to your diet, it is recommended to consult with your doctor first.
Vitamins For Healthy Skin
Eating a diet rich in essential vitamins will help you maintain healthier skin. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants, which are essential for preventing damage by free radicals. It is also important to get B-complex vitamins, which are essential to maintaining healthy skin.
The best way to get these vitamins is by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to look for every color of the rainbow, such as eggplant, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, spinach, kale, bell peppers, etc.
Fresh, organic produce is the most nutrient-rich because nutrients start to break down as soon as fruits and vegetables are harvested. Organic fruits and vegetables typically have more nutrients to begin with.
Vitamin A is well known for promoting healthy skin and has been used for treating acne and psoriasis for decades. It speeds up skin cell turnover rates and helps the maintenance and repair of the skin.
A deficiency in vitamin A is thought to be one causes of KP, because it can cause hyperkeratinization of the skin. This is what leads to rough, dry bumps on the skin.
There is evidence that increasing consumption of foods rich in vitamin A can successfully treat KP.
There are two sources of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A. The body readily absorbs preformed vitamin A, whereas provitamin A must be converted into vitamin A.
Preformed vitamin A, known as retinoids, includes retinol and can be found in liver and cod liver oil, kidney, eggs, whole milk, cream, and butter. Provitamin A, known as carotenoids, includes beta-carotene and can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.
If you are increasing your vitamin A intake, you also want to make sure you get enough vitamin D to balance it, as vitamin D protects against vitamin A toxicity. Also make sure you are getting enough zinc as it promotes absorption and transportation of vitamin A in the blood.
Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it is stored in the body and dangerous levels can build up if you take large doses over time. Studies have shown that moderate to high levels of preformed vitamin A once considered safe are linked to bone loss and fractures in women. No adverse effects from provitamin A have been found, since the body carefully regulates the conversion of carotenoids to vitamin A.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 900 micrograms (3,000 IU) for adult men, and 700 micrograms (2,300 IU) for adult women. If you are going to take a vitamin A supplement, consult with your doctor first. Look for a multivitamin that has no more than 5000 IU of vitamin A, and make sure at least 20% is in the form of beta-carotene. The label will say what percentage of vitamin A is from beta-carotenes.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are a very important part of your diet, because the body does not produce those and also cannot live without them. They are especially important for the health of your skin as they have anti-inflammatory properties and also help the skin retain moisture.
A deficiency in essential fatty acids is thought to be one causes of KP, as it can lead to dry, rough skin and KP bumps on the backs of arms and legs. There are two essential fatty acids you need to get from your diet: omega-3 and omega-6. These fatty acids have multiple functions, and the balance between them strongly affects their function.
Too much omega-6 can interfere with the health benefits of omega-3, and can cause inflammation and other health problems. For these reasons, it is important to maintain the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in your diet.
Modern, western diets are low in omega-3 and high in omega-6, with ratios averaging 15 to 1. Modern diets contain much less omega-3 than diets even a century ago. Early hunter-gatherers are thought to have eaten a diet with a ratio of 1:1.
This change in our modern diet has been associated with increased rates of many diseases. There is strong evidence that increasing omega-3 intake alleviates many diseases. The optimal ratio is believed to be 4:1 or lower.
Vegetable oil is the main source of omega-6, and most people get more than they need from their normal diets. Omega-6 can also be found in nuts, seeds, poultry, eggs, avocado, wheat, and cereal grains. Getting enough omega-3 is very important for people with KP. It can be found in cold-water fish such as tuna and salmon, fish oil, nuts, seeds, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, and avocadoes. If you need to add omega-3 to your diet, an easy way is to add ground flaxseeds to your food. Sprinkle them on anything from cereal or yogurt to salads or even smoothies. They have a mild nutty flavor that works great with fruits, cereals, and yogurt.
You can also take fish oil supplements if you have a hard time getting omega-3 from your normal diet. The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences recommends that adult males get 1.6 grams of omega-3 per day, and adult females get 1.1 grams per day.
Avoid Refined Sugars And Carbohydrates
Eating a lot of refined sugar, high-carbohydrate foods, and junk food is unhealthy for anyone, but it is especially harmful for people with KP because it causes inflammation in the skin and can flare up your KP. Limit foods with refined sugar, including candy, cookies and other baked goods, ice cream, soda, and sweetened juices. Microwave meals usually contain a lot of sugar as well. Also cut back on foods made with white flour, such as white bread and pasta.
Eliminating sugar from your diet can be very difficult because it is in so many of the foods we eat for convenience. Just start by making small changes so you do not get overwhelmed, and pay more attention to food labels to see how much sugar is in the foods you eat.
If you suspect that nutritional deficiencies may be the cause of your KP, I highly suggest consulting with a nutritionist to get better control of your diet. Often, it is not one thing that causes KP, but a combination of many factors. Eating a healthy diet will ensure that your body has the foundation it needs to build healthy skin.
Just remember that your skin is a direct reflection of your internal health, so be conscious of the foods you eat if you want to clear up your KP. Making changes to your diet can be daunting at first, but when you start to see results and clearer skin, it will all be worth it.