Updated: Mar 26
Nutrition is one of the most valuable components of your health. A diet that's heavy in processed foods, fast foods, and artificial ingredients can wreak havoc on your metabolism, heart, liver, and kidneys. A lack of proper nutrition can also cause weight gain or prevent weight loss.
When considering nutrition and what's most important for your body, we can't forget your largest organ - our skin. This sensitive and protective barrier requires foods that fuel and can benefit from some foods more than others. With the abundance of studies that have evaluated diet and our appearance, it should be no secret to anyone that what you eat can significantly affect the health (and age) of your skin.
If you're not actively incorporating superfoods into your diet and are instead eating foods that are high in sugar and fat it might result in dull skin and can result in other skin issues such as acne, dry skin, oily skin, or dark under-eye circles.
In this article, we'll take a look at which foods are best for your skin and why.
Table of Contents
Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that can only be found in plants. Omega-3s are good fats that can help to reduce the harmful effects of UV radiation, tobacco use, and environmental pollutants. Studies have shown that flaxseed can also reduce wrinkles in the skin and help to improve the skin's dry texture.
Flaxseed oil is made from cold-pressing flaxseeds and is known to make skin smoother and less scaly in appearance. Foods similar to flaxseeds that are also high in omega-3 fats are sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
You might be surprised to know that kiwis have more vitamin C than oranges! These adorable tiny fruits are excellent for skin health because of the powerful antioxidants in Vitamin C that help our bodies manage and eliminate free radicals in our cells. Studies indicate that Vitamin C may also help to protect skin against UV damage, increase collagen production, and might be able to help skin maintain its hydration level.
It's best to eat kiwis when they’re fully ripe because this is when they have the most antioxidants in them. A high volume of vitamin C can also be found in blackcurrants, blueberries, citrus fruits, guava, red peppers, parsley, strawberries, and broccoli.
Yogurt is a wonderful snack that's loaded with protein and probiotics. These friendly live bacteria help our bodies fight inflammation, and this is especially true when we consider inflammation that worsens skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.
Probiotics have also been shown to help with skin elasticity.
If you're not a fan of yogurt then kombucha and sauerkraut might be suitable alternatives for you as they pack the same powerful nutritional punch.
If you want to improve the texture of your skin than swapping out your morning coffee for a cup of green tea might serve you well. Green tea is jam-packed with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that is found within the tea leaves. Polyphenols are best known to help lower the amount of sebum (oil) your body makes, and there is evidence to suggest that this makes green tea a good option to help problematic acne. This well-known super liquid also contains flavonoids, which are known to assist with DNA repair and have been shown to help lessen fine lines.
You'll get the most flavonoids if your green tea is steeped in cold water for much longer than the usual recommended steeping time.
You've probably heard of Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10, but what you might not know is that it's a vitamin-like substance that's naturally found within our body. CoQ10 is known to help with cell growth and the fight against free radicals, which cause damage to our skin.
CoQ10 supplements help lessen fine lines and wrinkles in addition to smoothing out overall skin texture. We're not sure why, but in your mid-30s levels of CoQ10 begin to drop, so it's an excellent idea to introduce supplements into your life during this time. It's important to note that a poor diet coupled with stress can also lower levels of CoQ10.
Cold-water fish such as herring, salmon, and tuna are loaded with CoQ10 and make an excellent nutritional dish.
One of our favorite vegetables, carrots not only make an excellent and filling snack, but are also high in beta-carotene, which is known to help protect our skin against the harmful rays from the sun. Beta-carotene is what gives plants their orange color and can be found in other fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mango, and cantaloupe. Carrots are also a rich source of magnesium, which relaxes nerves and muscles, and can help you produce a better quality of sleep.
Easily added to your morning smoothie, chia seeds are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids and can help provide building blocks for healthy skin cell function, as well as new collagen production which helps to keep our bodies strong and wrinkle-free. A single one-ounce serving contains 5 wonderful grams of omega-3s.
Do you eat cereal in the morning? Throw that box directly in the trash! A better substitute, oatmeal is low on the glycemic index, a scale that rates foods containing carbohydrates according to how much each food increases our blood sugar. High-glycemic foods cause a very fast, drastic spike and subsequent crash in our blood sugar, whereas low-glycemic options provide a slow, steady increase and decline - something our bodies prefers. Foods with a high-glycemic and are known to promote inflammation and have been closely associated with acne and other topical issues.
Believe it or not, you don't need to have a creamy, fattening dip to enjoy the benefits of artichokes. Artichokes contain the flavonoid silymarin, an antioxidant that's been shown to help protect the liver and clear blemish-prone skin. Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, is the richest source of silymarin.
This popular spice is great for stimulating circulation and blood flow, which helps to bring oxygen and nutrients directly to the skin. Some studies have shown that cinnamon might help to stabilize and balance our blood sugar levels, which is important because a diet that contains sugar and refined carbs can cause an overproduction of our oil glands. Adding a dash of cinnamon to your coffee or tea, or blending some in your morning smoothie, is an excellent way to sneak this warm and comforting spice into your daily diet.
Sardines are an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium, and B12 plays a major role in skin cell reproduction. Lacking B12 can cause dry, patchy skin, among other issues. Selenium is necessary if you want your body to produce an antioxidant called glutathione, which helps the skin's barrier function.
On top of that, sardines are packed with phosphorus, protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which play very important roles in keeping your skin hydrated and glowing.
Not only are egg whites loaded with excellent protein, but they are also high in both the lysine and proline amino acids, as well as collagen itself. Adding egg whites to your diet could potentially help support your body's natural production of collagen to help fight fine lines.
Are you on a plant-based diet? No problem! Peanuts might be a viable option if you want to serve yourself up a hefty dose of lysine without the animal product.
Leafy greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, are rich in vitamin K, a strong nutrient when it comes to improving blood circulation and coagulation.
Many leafy greens are also loaded with zinc which has been shown to help reduce inflammation and help prevent acne breakouts. These vegetables also contain zeaxanthin, a naturally-occurring antioxidant that is known to help protect skin and even out skin tone.
This protein-packed grain contains high levels of riboflavin which makes it a superstar for your skin. Riboflavin will help to lend a hand to your skin's elasticity as well as the production of connective tissue, which helps even things out and makes fine lines and wrinkles look less prominent.
Good nutrition helps our bodies to maintain from the inside out, but of course, nutrition alone isn't enough. It's important to make sure that you get a full night’s sleep, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (broad-spectrum), gets lots of exercise, use all-natural skincare products, manage stress, find time to relax, and avoid environmental and toxic substances, such as smoking.
A healthy lifestyle will ensure that you maintain positive habits which might help to keep your skin bright and healthy.