The new millennium has undoubtedly brought about a greater awareness of the importance of taking an integrated approach to health and beauty. If in the past, the focus was on finding the right product to battle wrinkles, flaccidity and pigmentation, men and women today are far more knowledgeable about the effect that the sun, diet, and sleep have on skin in the first place. Beauty gurus have long understood the importance of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables for maintaining beautiful skin, but what about protein? In this post we discuss the importance of this macro-nutrient for youthful skin that glows from within.

The Role of Protein in Skin Architecture

The boom in refined products is one of the major causes of obesity. Refined and sugar-rich items cause havoc on our skin, leading to cross-linkage of collagen (one of the skin’s basic building blocks), the formation of wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.

Many people fail to consume enough protein, which is crucial for the formation of strong collagen and for the formation of new cell walls (which help keep skin moisturised and boost cell functioning).

In her best-selling book, Skin Revolution, beauty guru and founder of the Origins brand, Leslie Kenton notes that our skin depends on almost 50,000 different proteins to carry out its work, which includes the creation of collagen, nerves, muscles, enzymes, and hormones.

Protein not only enhances our complexion, but also helps battle cellulite by playing an important role in rebuilding skin, connective tissue and muscles. Of course, there are many additional benefits of consuming protein-rich foods, which boost our immune system, have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and blood pressure, and aid in injury recovery.

Not Just Any Protein Will Do

To obtain the maximum benefit from protein, ensure you are consuming foods which contain high amounts of bio-available amino acids (those which are easier for the body to digest, absorb and utilize).

Some of the best sources of protein include eggs, fish, game and meat – preferably organic meat, which has been found to contain up to 50% more healthy Omega-3 fats than conventional varieties.

In general, researchers recommend a blend of animal and vegetable sources, since potential health concerns exist when we consume our protein exclusively from animal sources.

Although animal sources are the only complete sources of protein (i.e. they contain all the 22 amino acids, eight to 10 of which are considered essential), it is possible to be vegetarian and have beautiful skin, with a little research and planning.

Some of the best vegetable sources of protein include grains and pulses, preferably consumed together to increase the complexity of the protein consumed. Whey, meanwhile, is considered the most highly bioavailable protein.

Another magnificent form of protein is spirulina, which contains highly bio-available nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, iron, Vitamin C, and more.

While a regular skincare routine comprising quality products is important to keep skin smooth and hydrated, it is vital to tackle beauty from within. A diet comprising healthy proteins, daily exercise and stress reduction, will ensure our skin glows and maintains firmness and elasticity for many years to come.