10 Things To Eat For Fabulous, Healthy Skin
Today, we're celebrating Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day in honor of all the professionals who help us make better choices regarding our diets. After all, what you put INTO your body is just as important as what goes onto your skin.
Want to step up your skincare regimen from the inside out? Then take control of your diet and ensure your skin reflects what you eat by making these 10 skin-nourishing foods your new BFFs…
1. Oily Fish
Certain fats are super important for the health of your skin because they help balance your skin’s barrier function which helps keep your skin hydrated, plump, strong and moisturized. Studies also show they may have anti-inflammatory properties which is great news if you suffer from facial redness or monthly breakouts.
The key, however, is to make sure you choose the right kinds of fats – and no, chips, burgers, fried chicken and butter are not on that list. One of the best is omega-3 fatty acid, an essential fatty acid (EFA) that’s found mostly in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring.
More good news… These skin-loving types of fish not only contain omega-3s by the bucketload, but they’re high in protein, zinc and vitamin E which are all vital for the look and feel of your skin.
Fruit and veggies, as a rule, are winners when it comes to glowing, healthy skin. One word: antioxidants. Not sure why antioxidants are the basis of great skin? Well, in a nutshell, they counteract the damaging effects of free radicals which are produced by the skin when it’s exposed to things like the sun, pollution, stress and a lack of sleep. Free radicals are seriously bad news for your skin because they break down collagen, accelerating the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin.
One of our favorite fruits is watermelon – and no, it’s not because it’s so Insta worthy (although it really is a pretty slice!). Watermelon is literally chock full of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C and E. Furthermore, it’s packed with water which helps keep you hydrated without the hassle of having to down glasses upon glasses of water on the reg.
It also tastes awesome, so there’s that ;)
Speaking of fruit and veggies, one of the most skin-loving vegetables you can include in your diet plan is broccoli. Of course, it’s high in vitamins like A, C and K, but it also contains a beta carotene called lutein which skin loves. How so? Well, lutein is well known for protecting the eyes from light damage and macular degeneration, but it also has similar photo-protective benefits for the skin, helping to shield it from damaging UV radiation.
Broccoli also contains something called sulforaphane which works alongside lutein and other antioxidants to further support your skin’s natural protection from sun damage, spurring the skin’s natural healing process and helping to calm inflammation. Take that, sun.
Like oily fish, nuts are an awesome source of essential fatty acids which help maintain strong, supple and well-moisturized skin. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals like zinc, copper and vitamins A, C and E, and just a handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts and/or pistachios every day will work wonders for dry, dull or lackluster skin.
Walnuts, in particular, are high in protein, omega-3, omega-6 and selenium. Selenium is an important mineral which puts up a great fight against those dastardly free radicals. It also works hard to reduce inflammation and has been proven to help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
If you ever needed a reason to eat avo toast every morning, here’s one for you. Just half an avocado a day provides 14 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin E, as well as 11 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. Vitamins C and E are proven antioxidants that, while great on their own, work much more effectively as a team. This makes avos pretty darn unbeatable in the fight against environment damage and oxidative stress.
But that’s not all. Avocados also contain various other vitamins, minerals, essential fats and skin-loving nutrients including plant sterols which contain UV protection and help prevent the breakdown of important proteins in your skin such as collagen and elastin.
While tomatoes are a fabulous source of vitamin C (great stuff) and potassium (ditto), their main draw is all the incredible lycopene and lutein they're packed with. Lycopene and lutein are carotenoids which work as powerful anti-aging antioxidants, offering your skin natural sun protection and free radical fighting powers.
Some studies show that higher amounts of lycopene are found in cooked tomato products than the raw stuff, so if you love to make stews, soups and sauces with tomatoes, go nuts!
Sidenote: eating tons of toms is not enough to replace your daily sunscreen so make sure your morning skincare routine always finishes up with SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen. No arguments.
7. Natural Yogurt
It’s a well-known fact that yogurt (not the sugar-laden, fruity stuff, of course) contains lots of calcium for strong bones and healthy skin. But that’s not the only thing yogurt has up its sleeve. Let’s talk about probiotics, shall we?
Probiotics are extremely important for keeping your skin’s microbiome in check. What’s that, you say? Well, the microbiome is an ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms that live on your skin. Sure, this sounds pretty gross but it’s actually a very smart system that’s evolved over centuries to help keep bad bacteria away. Your microbiome can go a bit squiffy, however, thanks to your environment, age, diet and skincare habits, so it’s important to conserve and support it through gentle skincare and a healthy diet that includes plenty of biotics. Probiotics, for example, are living microorganisms that help increase the population of good bacteria in your body. How to up your probiotics? Look no further than plain, live yogurt. Simple. Don’t worry if you’re lactose intolerant, though – miso, kombucha and kimchi are great alternatives.
8. Chia Seeds
Most seeds are bursting with awesome skin-boosting love thanks to vitamin E, selenium, essential fatty acids and protein, so sprinkling them on salads, cereals, smoothies and soups is never a bad idea. However, if you’re looking for the absolute queen of seeds, look no further than the mighty chia.
After oily fish, chia seeds are known to be one of the richest sources of collagen-boosting omega-3 fatty acids which makes them a great choice for vegans. They’re also full of manganese, magnesium, selenium and protein which work together to soothe, protect, hydrate and strengthen your skin.
9. Bell Peppers
When you think of fruit and veggies that are high in vitamin C you probably go straight to oranges and carrots, right? Well, little known fact: red and yellow bell peppers are also extremely rich in vit C. In fact, one cup of bell pepper provides a whopping 211 percent of your daily recommended dosage of vitamin C. This makes them a fabulous choice for significantly reducing oxidative stress and helping your skin get its glow on.
Bell peppers are also a great source of beta carotene which gets converted into vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A is mega important for boosting your skin’s natural healing process, boosting your immune system and increasing moisturization.
10. Leafy Greens
Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach and collard greens are brimming with zinc for helping to reduce inflammation and breakouts, plus vitamin K which has been proven to improve blood flow. Great circulation is important for ‘feeding’ your skin with nutrient-rich oxygen to help reduce dark spots and give you the radiant complexion you so rightly deserve.
Zeaxanthin is another asset leafy greens can lay claims to. It might be trickier to spell but, like lutein, zeaxanthin is a carotenoid which has powerful antioxidant properties and may help your skin stay more protected from the perils of UV radiation. Kale, in particular, is known to be a total powerhouse for your skin and health in general.
Bottom line is a balanced, healthy diet that’s high on fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, live yogurt and oily fish are exactly what the skin doctor ordered. Couple all this good stuff with a great skincare routine that mimics your eating habits with plenty of antioxidants (hi there Vitamin C Facial Serum) and moisture-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and you’re well on the way to healthier-looking skin.