We’ve all heard the classic phrase “you are what you eat.” Well, nowhere is this motto more true than with your skin, your body’s biggest organ!
Your diet is directly tied to the health of your skin, from the appearance of wrinkles to pesky breakouts and everything in between.
If you want to get glowing skin, add these nine dietary staples to your grocery list, stat!
Salmon of the wild-caught variety contains high levels of omega-3 fats, the kinds that help keep skin supple and give it that youthful “glow.” Salmon also contains astaxanthin, a keto-carotenoid that fights free radicals that cause the signs of aging. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone suggests a three-day salmon-based diet to help show his patients just how effective this superfood can be.
When you’re young and you pull on your skin, it quickly bounces back into place. That’s called elasticity, and the older you get, the more of it you lose. Green tea helps skin retain that elasticity that makes it appear younger and smoother.
In a 2011 study, people who drank a green tea beverage every day for 12 weeks had skin that was smoother, more elastic, and sustained less sun damage than a group who did not drink the tea.
Almonds contain Vitamin E, which helps ward off damage to the skin’s delicate cells and fights the signs of sun damage. They’re also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and a low-fat snack perfect for munching on at your desk or after the gym.
The skin benefits of almonds go beyond just snacking, too; almond oil can be used as a gentle moisturizer, while drinking almond milk helps keep skin hydrated.
This hearty green is one of the best natural sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that work like an army of defenders to prevent damage caused by the sun. UV light creates free radicals, which, as you probably know, are highly harmful to skin. These nutrients absorb those free radicals and neutralize them—including the UV waves that can make it past sunscreen.
Kale is also an amazing source of Vitamins A and C, which naturally firm skin. A cup of the leafy vegetable will provide more than 100% of your recommended daily value of each.
Blueberries get their dark, rich color from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidant compounds that shield skin from collagen damage, which keeps it feeling and looking firm. The yummy berries are also packed with Vitamin C to boot, which aids with collagen production.
Other dark berries, like cranberries and raspberries, are great for skin, too!
Specifically, the cooked variety. Cooked and/or processed tomatoes (like the kind you use in soups and sauces) contain high levels of the antioxidant lycopene, which is a natural sun protector. Researchers found that people who ate five tablespoons of lycopene daily for 12 weeks were a third more protected from sunburn than a control group who did not eat the tomato paste.
Oh, avocado! Where do we begin? First, this yummy fruit is a great source of Vitamin C, which reduces inflammation. Inflammation is a contributing source of all kinds of skin issues, from rosacea to psoriasis. Avocados also contain a healthy helping of Vitamin E, which gives skin that dewy, “glowing” look.
Our favorite avocado benefit? Increased collagen production. Collagen is that magic ingredient that keeps skin looking young—the one you see touted by all kinds of beauty creams and serums. Get it by eating a portion of avocado (half of one fruit) daily.
Who said you couldn’t indulge while eating a skin-friendly diet? Dark chocolate—the darker the better—is an excellent source of flavonols, a potent antioxidant thought to absorb UVB rays, functioning similarly to sunscreen. To max out chocolate’s flavonol content, look for the kind that’s at least 70% cacao (rather than, say, milk chocolate, which doesn’t come with many benefits).
This road trip staple does your skin good while you snack. Sunflower seeds are filled with Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that build up in your system. Vitamin E is also an anti-inflammatory, which, as we discussed earlier, can ease a variety of skin conditions. When you get sick of sunflower seeds, switch things up with chia seeds, a great salad and yogurt topper that are also beneficial for skin.
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