What do you do in order to take care of your skin? You probably wash your face, or maybe you try a face mask when you find the time for a little self-care. But what you eat makes a big difference, too. You may not think of your diet as part of your skincare routine, but it actually is. Not only are there certain foods that could damage your skin if you’re not careful, but your skin requires certain nutrients to stay healthy. These nutrients are crucial in order to maintain a soft, even complexion and prevent wrinkles and damage from the sun. Here are some of the best foods you could possibly eat for your skin.
There are a number of reasons that eating fat is good for you, and the health of your skin is one of them. In a study of around 700 women, it was found that eating healthy fats (especially those from avocados) helped maintain supple, springy skin. Another study showed that avocados could help prevent skin from suffering UV damage from the sun.
Broccoli has three nutrients that are hugely beneficial for your skin health: vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc. Your skin actually needs vitamin C in order to produce collagen, a structural protein that helps to grow stronger, more resilient skin cells. Broccoli contains lutein, as well, which works to prevent skin from suffering oxidative damage. There are many ways to eat this cruciferous vegetable, and you can find it at the grocery store year-round.
Vitamin E is another crucial ingredient for your skin. Research shows that vitamin E can help to protect your skin against damage and inflammation from free radicals. Butternut squash contains significant amounts of vitamin E as well as beta-carotene, the compound that gives orange vegetables their bright color. Beta-carotene, a nutrient that gets converted to vitamin A in your body, helps to protect your skin against damage from sun exposure. Try a recipe with this fall superfood and use this hack for peeling butternut squash in your microwave to make cooking it even easier.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for keeping healthy skin. Studies show that a deficiency in omega-3s can result in dry skin and inflammation. Chia seeds are rich with omega-3s, as well as other nutrients such as calcium and manganese. You can sprinkle them on your yogurt, add them into smoothies or make chia pudding for a healthy, brain-boosting snack.
There’s one obvious benefit to eating chocolate — it tastes great. But that’s not the only reason to eat more of this dessert food. Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate can actually benefit your skin. A study published in the journal Nutrients showed that eating 20 grams of high-antioxidant dark chocolate each day could help protect your skin against UV radiation. Another study showed that eating cocoa with high levels of antioxidants resulted in firmer, more hydrated skin. Sugar, on the other hand, can cause adverse effects to your skin when you eat a lot of it. For the most benefit, eat dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa and minimal amounts of sugar.
Eating eggs can help to firm and nourish the skin from the inside out. Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants studies show have the potential to improve skin tone. They also contain vitamin A and zinc. Eggs carry most of their nutritional value in the yolks, so don’t opt for egg whites if you’re looking to get the most benefit from this food.
Protein-rich Greek yogurt is a healthy addition to your breakfast and a satisfying snack to fuel your afternoon. No matter how and when you eat it, your skin will thank you. Greek yogurt contains B vitamins that could help to produce new and healthy skin cells while improving skin tone and texture. A 2018 study showed promising effects of B vitamins in promoting healthy cell growth, while another study from 2011 showed that folic acid (another compound found in Greek yogurt) improved skin tone and texture.
This cruciferous vegetable has lots of vitamin C, which can help your skin to grow new cells and heal. One cup of kale has nearly 60 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. Kale can be eaten raw as part of a salad, massaged with olive oil or cooked for those who prefer. No matter how you choose to eat it — whether in a salad, with eggs or blended in a sweet smoothie — kale is good for you.
When you think of fruits with vitamin C, oranges are probably the first to come to mind. But kiwis actually contain far more vitamin C than their citrusy cousins. Just one medium-sized kiwi contains nearly 80 percent of the vitamin C you typically need in a day. In addition to keeping your skin bright and strong, these nutrients can help to boost your immunity and reduce oxidative stress.
Mackerel is a small, nutrient-dense type of fish that has lots of omega-3s. They’re one of the healthiest types of seafood you can eat, with 100 percent of your recommended daily value of selenium and 200 percent of vitamin B12. In addition to all the skin-brightening benefits of omega-3s, studies suggest that the selenium in this food could help to protect your skin from the damage caused by UV radiation.
Cooking with olive oil can help preserve the youthful glow of your skin. Olive oil has fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, along with the healthy fats needed to absorb them. There are some potential benefits to using olive oil on the skin topically, as a moisturizer, for instance, but consuming olive oil can help as well. The healthy oil contains antioxidants which can help to reduce oxidative stress and fight damaging free radicals.
As long as you know how to eat them without getting sick, oysters are actually surprisingly good for you. They contain more zinc per serving than almost any other food, along with protein and other vitamins. Zinc, a nutrient you might not be eating enough of, has been shown in studies to help with wound healing and skin regeneration.
Colorful, sweet bell peppers make a great vehicle for hummus and other delicious dips. Eat them as a snack or add them to your salads, sandwiches and other meals to help up your intake of vitamin C. This can help to promote the growth of stronger, longer-lasting skin cells to maintain your skin’s structural integrity and keep your complexion looking smooth.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is one of the worst things you can do for your skin (and the rest of your body), but drinking moderate amounts of red wine could have a beneficial effect. Studies show that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, can help to maintain skin elasticity and slow the signs of aging.
Salmon and other fatty fish are rich with omega-3 fatty acids. Once or a few times a week, consider making a simple dinner with salmon for all the benefits these healthy fats have to offer. Salmon also contains vitamin E, which can help prevent skin damage from inflammation.
Like other types of nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds are chock-full of healthy fats. These fats help your body to absorb certain vitamins that are fat soluble, as well as having skin-brightening benefits of their own. Sunflower seeds specifically also contain vitamin E, selenium and zinc.
Beta-carotene, the same nutrient found in other bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and bell peppers, is also found in sweet potatoes. Just one half cup of sweet potatoes offers nearly four times your recommended daily value of vitamin A. There are a number of ways to cook sweet potatoes — you can cook them in olive oil over the stove, roast them in your oven or mash them. Pretty much any way you would cook regular potatoes will work for sweet potatoes, too, with a couple tweaks.
Tofu contains soy, which can help maintain the youthful and even-toned look of your skin. Additionally, this plant-based protein contains vitamin E, another nutrient your skin craves. Consider cooking a meatless dinner now and again with tofu. It works great in salads, sandwiches, stir fry and even some desserts.
Tomatoes have a good amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene, both of which are helpful for maintaining integrity of your skin. But in addition to these two qualities, tomatoes also have lutein and lycopene, antioxidants known for their skin-brightening effects. Studies show that the compounds can protect your skin from the sun and, as a result, prevent wrinkles.
Like mackerel and salmon, trout is a fatty fish with omega-3 fatty acids. Trout also contains vitamin E and protein. Eating enough protein can help to keep your skin strong and prevent wrinkles.
Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. It’s filled with fiber and other nutrients, along with tons of water in each satisfying slice. The more hydrated you are, the healthier your skin will be. Water is also critical to your health overall — here are some things that can happen if you don’t drink enough water every day.
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