Healthy Skin & Why Protein Matters

The old adage “you are what you eat” not only applies to our overall health and nutrition but how our skin looks and feels as well- To rebuild tissue you need to have protein.

You cannot skimp on protein intake if you want to have healthy skin and organs. In fact, new research suggests that eating foods rich in protein may provide valuable anti-aging effects. So just how much do you need to support tissue building muscle and new skin depends on several factors.

Amino Acids are the building blocks to healthy skin. Amino Acids are the building blocks to healthy skin.

Adequate protein intake is key to our health and glowing skin. In today’s diet craze society it is common to not consume enough protein as we are being pulled a million different ways by all these “experts” some tell us to cut back , some tell us to increase our intake – it is difficult to know who to listen to and why.

It is true that too much protein can create certain health risks but getting the right amount is important too. It is all about a healthy balance. If you have ever been sick or unwell for a long time you might better understand how protein changes the game and the need for macro nutrients to replenish is instrumental to recovery. Raw materials must be coming in to achieve the goal. As we know, skin is an organ that needs protein to remain healthy and even chronic skin conditions such as eczema and cirrhosis can benefit from adequate protein intake.

In the US we are not a protein deprived nation by any means however many of us still do not get enough due to busy lifestyles or incorrect information. It does not necessarily mean you need to eat an excess amount of meat in order to get enough protein. Although animal protein is more dense than plant and easier to get all essential amino acids from eating, it is all about consuming the right kinds of proteins.

What you need to know is how much protein your body needs and that it can come from either plants, animals or both.

Plant Based Protein

Iron is better absorbed from animal protein. Sulfur rich proteins are found in animal products and this can help with liver detox and therefore, chronic rashes as well other skin conditions. But, with the right information we can choose plant based proteins such as quinoa, legumes and rice, chickpeas, nuts and beans.

Whether red meat, fish or plant based it is vital to find the best sources to help your body to do the heavy lifting. Your body has limited protein reserves to draw from if you do not eat enough. Hence our body steals from other areas for example- the skin. This is the first to get ‘robbed’ and this can result in reactions like skin rashes and other inflammatory skin diseases.

Protein digestion begins in the stomach. Low stomach acid is a sign of more plant based protein than animal protein. Undigested gut proteins do not benefit the body and this is important to understand. Amino acids are the smallest building blocks of protein. Once pulled apart they absorb in the body. If they are not pulled apart this can cause inflammation. All in total there are about 20 amino acids. Essential amino acids must be consumed on a regular basis. Deficiency of these is a big deal.

Collagen which is all the rave is not a substitute of protein because it is not a complete protein source. Collagen is made up of two amino acids. It can be great for joint problems and the skin but is not enough alone. Collagen is derived only from animal sources too so not an option for those who do not eat animal based products.

So the next questions is how much protein do we really need to eat?

Of course there are many variations depending on lifestyle, how active we are in our daily life and body size. For example body builders need far more than sedentary people or those who do not get much exercise.

To increase muscle mass research suggest about 1 gram per pound but how much do you need for skin rashes or to rebuild skin requires more raw materials. As with most things eating too much is not always better. Over consumption of protein can overtask kidneys but 70 to 100 grams daily is for most people a good starting point.

Higher protein intake is recommended to help heel wounds. Eczema and other skin conditions with wounds fall under this recommendation. This applies to clients having skin treatments that actually penetrate the epidermis. If you increase your protein intake before, during and after you can expect better overall results and less downtime.

Remember resources of plant based proteins are not as dense, many are not complete sources of protein so have the right information if you choose a plant based diet. Quinoa is excellent and combining legumes and grains for complete sources is a must. Shoot for 25 grams per meal and don’t neglect your protein it will keep you looking youthful and strong!