In today's society, there is much importance placed on having beautiful-looking skin. We are constantly being bombarded with new beauty regimens to help us achieve the ideal of young, gorgeous skin. However, drugstore regimens aren’t the only thing that you can do to keep your skin looking great — healthy skin is actually achievable by eating the right foods.
Jacqui Justice, M.S., C.N.S, director of nutrition at Womens Healthy Hormones, shares with us five foods that you can eat to boost collagen production, protect yourself from harmful UV rays, and keep your skin hydrated to achieve a healthy glow.
Whole eggs are her number one choice for healthy skin. They contain sulfur, which has amino acids that are important for collagen production, and high levels of vitamin E, which protects against sun damage. Eggs are also high in protein, which is essential to healthy skin because it balances out your blood sugar. If your blood sugar isn’t balanced, you end up secreting more insulin, which can lead to skin conditions like acne.
Essential fatty acids are another important component to keeping skin healthy and glowing. Eating foods that are high in these fats, like wild salmon, helps maintain the moisture in your skin cells. If your skin isn’t keeping its moisture in, it ends up drying out. Salmon also contains anti-inflammatories that battle against skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, which are caused by inflammation.
Justice also recommends eating nonfat Greek yogurt because of its high protein content and its abundance of probiotics, which help with maintaining a healthy gut. And although they may not seem connected, poor health of the gut is actually a precursor to skin issues. Greek yogurt also contains vitamin D and vitamin A, which help protect against sun damage and are also important for the growth and development of skin cells.
Blueberries, which have the highest amount of antioxidants per serving size, will also benefit your skin, as the antioxidants they possess protect against UV damage from the sun. They also assist in the production of collagen, and the prevention of premature aging.
You may not associate pumpkin seeds with skin health, but you’d be mistaken. Pumpkin seeds contain tons of zinc, which aids in healthy skin cell turnover, locks moisture into your skin, and boosts collagen production and elasticity in your skin. Like wild salmon, pumpkin seeds also contain a vital amount of fatty acids necessary to maintain beautiful skin.
Though eating all of these foods will aid in maintaining healthy skin, Justice's number one tip is to keep hydrated and watch your caffeine intake. For every cup of caffeine you take in, replace it with 1.5 cups of water. To figure out just how much water you should be drinking a day, the formula is ½ ounce per pound of body weight. Justice's recommendation is to drink lemon water so that you get the necessary antioxidants, too, all in one fell swoop.
The accompanying slideshow is provided by special contributor Jessica Reidy.
This story was originally published on November 20, 2013.