What you put into your body has a direct effect on your skin's appearance. The foods you consume provide your skin with nutrients needed for collagen production, skin cell turnover, hydration, and protection from environmental damage. Eating a diet rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help give your complexion a youthful glow and reduced signs of aging.
In this article, I will explore some of the top foods that nutrition experts recommend for beautiful, healthy skin. When consumed regularly as part of an overall balanced diet, these ingredients can benefit your skin both externally and internally.
Let's get started!
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel contain essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which have anti-inflammatory properties. These omega-3s are vital for skin health as they help reduce inflammation and redness associated with conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea.
Omega-3 fatty acids also support skin barrier function to lock moisture in and toxins/allergens out. Plus, they aid collagen production so skin remains firm, tight, and youthful-looking.
Avocados are a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids which hydrate skin and plump up its appearance. They also contain antioxidants like vitamin E which protect skin from free radical damage caused by UV rays and pollution. Fatty acids in avocados have anti-inflammatory effects so they calm irritated skin.
For skin health, replace butter or margarine on toast or sandwiches with avocado slices. You can also mash avocado into guacamole, soups, or salads to reap its skin perks. Eating just half an avocado per day is an easy way to see improvements in complexion.
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes - all contain high amounts of vitamin C along with antioxidant plant compounds. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production for firm skin structure and quicker wound healing. It may also reduce pigmentation caused by sun damage when applied topically. Citrus fruits hydrate skin too due to their water content.
For best absorption, enjoy half a grapefruit, an orange, or squeeze fresh lemon/lime juice into water daily. You can also drink citrus flavored teas or add fruits sections to salads. Citrus peels make a great facial scrub to slough off dead skin cells when you exfoliate.
Sweet Potatoes and Carrots
These root vegetables pack plenty of beta-carotene which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for skin cell turnover and repair so dead skin cells shed on a regular basis. It also regulates sebum production to prevent clogged pores/breakouts.
A single baked sweet potato or 1-2 cups of cooked carrots provides over 200% of your daily vitamin A needs. For an easy side dish, toss wedges or coins of sweet potato and carrots with a little olive oil and rosemary. Roast at 400°F until tender. Their vibrant colors even offer a miniature antioxidant boost!
Collagen production requires a steady supply of vitamin C, so eat leafy greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard that contain this important vitamin. Leafy vegetables are also incredible sources of fiber, vitamins K and A, and minerals like manganese and folate. Greens aid detoxification of the skin too.
Blend a handful into green juices or smoothies daily for easy extra nutrition. You can sauté leafy greens down with healthy fats like olive oil or avocado for a delicious side dish. Their vibrant appearance makes them beautiful ingredients for salads too. Go for bright jewel tone greens whenever possible.
Berries pack a powerful antioxidant punch thanks to compounds like anthocyanins and ellagic acid. These disease-fighting antioxidants neutralize free radicals to prevent collagen breakdown. As such, berries help delay visible signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. They also possess anti-inflammatory benefits useful for problematic skin conditions.
For maximum skin health, enjoy a quarter cup of berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries daily. You can add berries whole or blended to smoothies, cereal, yogurt, or atop pancakes. Their bright flavors add appeal to natural skin treatments as well - try a berry face mask!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are concentrated sources of vitamins E, B3, and minerals like selenium, zinc, and copper. These nutrients aid cell turnover, reduce inflammation, and stimulate collagen production for an ageless complexion. Plus, nuts bring vegetarian protein and healthy fats.
Keep single-serving baggies of almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on hand for grabbing handfuls throughout the week as snacks. You can also sprinkle nuts and seeds onto salads, homemade trail mix, or oatmeal. Aim to incorporate a small amount daily into your diet.
Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene which gives them their deep red coloring. Lycopene has been shown to protect skin from sun damage and reverse signs of aging when consumed regularly. Fresh tomato products also furnish vitamin C for collagen synthesis.
To reap tomato benefits, add sliced specimens to salads or sandwiches. Blend tomato pieces into sauces, gazpachos, or salsas. Don't forget about dried tomatoes packed with concentrated lycopene. Even tomato paste or puree possess generous skin-protective compounds. Enjoy a serving daily of your favorite tomato product.
Using garlic internally and externally lends skin antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant perks. Garlic stimulates circulation and possesses silica to underpin collagen structure/formation. For skin prone to breakouts or superficial infections, garlic can prove quite healing.
While eating raw garlic offers maximum benefits, don't forget supplements are available too. Simply mince or crush a few cloves and toss into soups, stir-fries, or pasta sauces to warm up your meals. Externally, crush cloves into a paste for spots on the body, or mix into face masks a couple times weekly.
Although water isn't technically a "food", staying well hydrated plays an essential role in skin health. Water transports nutrients to skin cells, carries away waste, and gives a plumped appearance. Drinking enough H20 each day ensures supple skin able to repair and renew itself.
Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of room temperature water on a daily basis. You can flavor it with citrus slices, cucumbers, berries, or fresh herbs to make it more appealing. Beyond water, soups, herbal teas, and fruits/veggies with high water content all further increase hydration. Proper hydration delivers a radiant complexion.
Dark chocolate with a cacao content over 70% brings antioxidants that protect skin. The prebiotic fiber in chocolate feeds the good bacteria in your gut too which has anti-aging implications. Enjoying a small 1-2 ounce serving of very dark chocolate once or twice a week can benefit skin.
As with any sweet treat, moderation is key. Look for fair trade and organic dark chocolate bars higher in cacao to maximize antioxidants. You can shave slivers over nuts, berries, yogurt or oatmeal for a decadent topping with real skin perks. Just a little goes a long way regarding dark chocolate's skin boosting qualities.
Turmeric has long been prized in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties thanks to curcumin. This compound fights free radicals and tones down skin redness and irritation associated with certain inflammatory conditions. Curcumin may even help fade existing hyperpigmentation.
Add 1⁄4 teaspoon of ground turmeric to golden milk concoctions, scrambled eggs, or veggie dishes for an easy dose. You'll also find turmeric in many prepared mustard products and teas. Supplements deliver concentrated curcumin too. Over time, turmeric can visibly improve skin clarity and complexion.
Plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt provides skin benefits from probiotics as well as vitamins A, D, and B-complex. Probiotics aid skin barrier function and natural defenses against breakouts. Vitamin D supports cell turnover while B-vitamins curb stress that damages collagen. Protein in yogurt satisfies skin cells too.
Top natural yogurt with nuts, seeds, and fruit 1-2 times per day. Its creamy texture spreads easily on skin as a hydrating mask/treatment as well. For portable snacking, stir plain yogurt with a bit of honey. Enjoy yogurt's beauty perks right from the inside out!
Not just for breakfast, oats deliver skin-soothing benefits from their antioxidant content and prebiotic fiber. Fiber feeds good gut bacteria linked to better skin. Oats also provide magnesium, zinc, and selenium - all important for collagen production.
Beyond traditional oatmeal, try overnight oats, oat flour blends in baking, or creamy oat smoothies like peanut butter chocolate. As a facial scrub, blend cooked oats with a bit of water until paste-like then gently exfoliate damp skin. Oats prove incredibly versatile for both internal and topical skin care.
This cruciferous veggie constitutes a powerhouse of skin-protecting nutrients. Broccoli contains vitamins C and K along with glucosinolates, sulforaphane, and other phytochemicals supporting collagen production. It provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits too.
Enjoy 1⁄2 cup steamed or raw broccoli florets daily. You can also blend them into pesto or pasta sauce. Their vivid green color acts as a natural beautifying element. Lightly steaming or sautéing broccoli optimizes nutrient absorption. Go beyond just one vegetable with meals whenever possible.
Pomegranate seeds come packed with ellagic acid, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants to delay skin aging. Its compounds may defend against environmental stressors and reduce inflammation too. Studies show pomegranate protects skin barrier function from within.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of seeds over cereals, yogurts or salads daily. You can also drink pomegranate juice straight or mixed into smoothies. Look for whole fruit whenever available and in-season for peak freshness and nutrients. Its bold red arils lend natural aesthetic appeal as well.
Green tea brings polyphenols like EGCG known to perform anti-aging effects on skin. Catechins fight free radicals and help undo sun damage. Green tea regulates oil production and promotes smooth texture. It contains caffeine which tightens pores too.
Steep 2-3 bags of premium loose leaf or bagged green tea and drink throughout your day. Matcha powder blended into smoothies works too. Green tea's slight bitterness pairs nicely with citrus, ginger or honeys. Make afternoon tea part of your daily routine for better skin from the inside.
By prioritizing whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy plant compounds you nourish your skin from within. Focus on incorporating many of the top skin superfoods outlined here into your meals and snacks whenever possible.
Paired with a balanced lifestyle including moisture, stress relief and sun protection you'll give your largest organ every advantage to glow now and long into the future. Nourish beauty from the inside out.