The saying goes: “You are what you eat.” Our skin is our largest organ and is affected by our nutrition (or lack thereof). A poor diet can cause metabolism changes, weight gain, and damage to organs — including the skin. It is important to eat healthy foods and include foods that are good for the skin in order to improve your health and keep your skin looking young and healthy.
Foods That Are Good for the Skin
First on our list of foods that are good for the skin is broccoli. Broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and zinc. It also has the carotenoid lutein, which is known to help protect from oxidative stress, which can cause your skin to become dehydrated, damaged and wrinkled. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and contains sulforaphane which has the potential to combat cancer and also protects against damage from the sun. Sulforaphane may also help keep collagen levels stable in the skin.
2. Fish High in Omega-3s
Fatty fish such as herring, salmon, and mackerel are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for skin health. Omega-3s are required to help your skin stay moisturized and supple. A lack of these acids can cause the skin to become dry, inflamed and even increase acne and other skin blemishes. Your skin can also become more sensitive to damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Omega-3s may also help your skin recover from inflammation caused by autoimmune ailments such as lupus and psoriasis. Fatty fish also provides protein which improves the overall health and strength of the skin. The vitamin E in fatty fish is a well-known antioxidant which helps protect your skin against damage from free radicals as well as inflammation. Another mineral, zinc, helps the skin with cell renewal and overall skin health.
Vegans can get their Omega-3s from plant-based foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and more. PETA offers some great suggestions for vegans in their Vegan Guide to Omega-3s.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in sweet potatoes that can convert into vitamin A which helps with skin health and protection against sun damage. This also helps to keep your skin looking healthier and less wrinkled.
Tomatoes are full of vitamin C as well as all of the main carotenoids such as lutein, beta-carotene, and lycopene. This means that tomatoes help protect the skin and improve overall health. Eating tomatoes with fats such as olive oil or cheese helps improve the absorption of the essential carotenoids.
Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation, but this is balanced out by the inflammation reducing Omega-3s. Walnuts contain zinc which helps your skin with wound healing and preventing bacteria from taking hold. Walnuts also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium which help improve skin health.
The isoflavones in soy benefit your skin by improving skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Soy is especially good for improving skin moisturization and collagen production in postmenopausal women. Soy may also help your body combat sun damage.
The healthy fats in avocados are instrumental in improving skin moisture and flexibility, making it appear more supple and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Avocados are also a source of vitamin E which helps protect your skin from the damage caused by oxidative stress. Avocados also contain vitamin C which helps grow collagen and keeps skin moisturized and healthy.
8. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin E, zinc, protein and selenium which are all nutrients that are great for skin health.
9. Bell Peppers
The yellow and red varieties of Bell peppers are full of beta-carotene which can convert to vitamin A in the body. Peppers also contain vitamin C which helps reduce the risk of dry, wrinkly skin and helps with collagen growth.
10. Dark Chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate is good for the skin. The cocoa in dark chocolate is packed full of the antioxidants that your skin needs to stay healthy, hydrated, and firm. These antioxidants protect against sun damage and can also improve blood flow, which improves the delivery of nutrients to the skin, making it healthier. Try to stick to chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa to get the best effects. Avoid chocolate with high levels of added sugar, which is not good for your body.
Eating foods that are good for the skin will help your skin stay smoother, healthier and less wrinkled. Improved blood flow and collagen production keeps your skin flushed and plump to reduce fine lines. Eating these foods will also help your skin protect against damage from UV rays as well as oxidative stress, giving you better-looking skin for years to come.