Nutrition is important for health. An unhealthy diet can damage your metabolism, cause weight gain and even affect organs such as your heart and liver.
What you eat also affects the health of another organ — your skin.
As more is learned about how diet affects the body, it’s becoming increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin.
You already know that filling your diet with power foods—like dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, citrus—can help beat chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But did you know that certain foods can also work wonders on your skin?
This article takes a look at 10 of the best foods for keeping your skin healthy.
This is one of the most beneficial oils in the world, and it’s also found in the “Mediterranean diet,” which makes it very easy to obtain. Olive oil provides large amounts of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamins E and K. These nutrients act as antioxidants by eliminating toxins from the body and leaving your skin looking better than ever.
Always choose the extra virgin variety because it contains more polyphenols that fight against the effects of free radicals.
If you want your skin to be smooth and blemish-free, there’s nothing better than eating nuts, including: almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts. These contain plenty of vitamin E, which neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals (responsible for dull, lifeless skin).
Almonds in particular provide you with vitamins A, E, and F to reduce premature aging. They also contain folic acid, which is ideal for oily skin that is prone to acne. And that’s not all: zinc reduces the degeneration of the elastic fibers in your skin and prevents your cells from becoming dehydrated by storing more water.
Broccoli makes the list because it is full of many vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C.
It also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. It protects the skin from oxidative damage, which can cause skin to become dry and wrinkled.
As if you needed one more reason to eat chocolate, the effects of cocoa on skin are pretty impressive.
One study found that after 6–12 weeks of consuming a cocoa powder high in antioxidants, participants experience thicker, more hydrated skin.
Their skin was also less rough and scaly, less sensitive to sunburn and had better blood flow, which brings more nutrients to the skin.
Red or Yellow Bell Peppers
Like sweet potatoes, bell peppers are an excellent source of beta-carotene. One cup (149 grams) of chopped, red bell pepper contains the equivalent of 92% of the RDI for vitamin A.
They are also one of the best sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant that’s necessary for creating the protein collagen, which keeps skin firm and strong. One cup of bell pepper provides an impressive 317% of the RDI for vitamin C.
A large observational study in women found that eating plenty of vitamin C was associated with a lower chance of skin appearing wrinkled and becoming dry with age
One of the main characteristics of this popular orange vegetable is that it contains plenty of beta-carotene. This antioxidant is converted into vitamin A in the body, which helps repair your tissues and protect the cells from exposure to the sun.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to keep skin thick, supple and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats can cause dry skin.
The omega-3 fats found in fish reduce inflammation, which can be the cause of redness and acne, and even make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Fatty fish are also a source of vitamin E, which is one of the most important antioxidants for the skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting the skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation (5).
They’re also a source of high-quality protein, which is necessary to make the structural proteins that maintain the strength and integrity of the skin (5).
Lastly, fish is a source of zinc, a mineral that’s important for regulating inflammation, the production of new skin cells and overall skin health. Having a deficiency in zinc can lead to skin inflammation, skin lesions and delayed wound healing (6).
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and contain all of the major carotenoids, including lycopene.
Beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene have been shown to protect the skin against damage from the sun and may also help prevent wrinkling.
Because tomatoes contain all of the major carotenoids, they are an excellent food for maintaining healthy skin.
Green tea may also have the ability to protect your skin from damage and aging.
The powerful compounds found in green tea are called catechins, and they work to protect and improve the health of your skin in several ways.
Like several other antioxidant-containing foods, regularly consuming green tea can help protect your skin against sun damage.
Red wine is famous for containing resveratrol, a compound that comes from the skin of red grapes.
Resveratrol is credited with a wide range of health benefits, and reducing the effects of aging is one the most well-known.
The skin has specific binding sites for resveratrol. When applied to the skin, this compound has been shown to slow skin’s aging.
When consumed, it’s also able to reduce the production of harmful free radicals, which damage skin cells and cause signs of aging.