Stretch marks are streaks that often appear on your stomach, leg, hips and breasts while pregnant. They can be pink, red or purple and gradually fade to silver after you deliver your baby. If you are pregnant and are worried about developing stretch marks, improving your diet may help you prevent them. Food is not guaranteed to keep them away, but eating a healthy diet and gaining an appropriate amount of weight during your pregnancy are ways to reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.
Foods with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the protection and maintenance of your skin cells. It is also important for helping your body produce new and healthy skin cells. Adding foods rich in vitamin C to your pregnancy diet may help improve the elasticity of your skin, which will reduce your chances of developing stretch marks. Add citrus fruits, such as grapefruits and oranges, to your diet to get a hefty dose of vitamin C. Other healthy sources of vitamin C include berries, kiwi, bell peppers, melon and broccoli.
Foods with Vitamin E
Including vitamin E in your pregnancy diet is a way to improve the health of your skin so you are less likely to develop stretch marks. Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin, as well as for the repair of damaged skin. This vitamin is also considered an antioxidant that offers protective benefits from environmental contaminants and free radicals. Add nuts, seeds, avocados, peanut butter, wheat germ, cooked tomatoes and oat bran to your diet to help reduce your odds of developing stretch marks while pregnant.
Foods with Vitamin A
Another vitamin to include in your pregnancy diet is vitamin A, which helps protect the health of your skin, as well as encourage proper formation of new skin cells. Vitamin A is found in many foods, particularly bright orange fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe. Other nutritious sources of vitamin A include pumpkin, apricots, mango, tuna and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale.
Foods with Zinc
Eating foods that are rich in zinc encourages proper formation of collagen, which plays an important part in how healthy your skin appears, as well as how likely you are to develop stretch marks. Collagen is what holds your skin layers together, and if you have enough collagen present in your body, you are less likely to get stretch marks. Add lean meat, raisins, beans, lentils and bananas to your pregnancy diet to get more zinc.
- MedlinePlus: Striae
- "Getting Rid of Stretch Marks the Natural Way"; Ian Newton; 2010