If you’re seeking glowing, healthy skin (and who isn’t, really?) your diet plays a major role in your appearance. Eat your good fats makes a huge difference, as they’re delicious and work towards giving you amazing skin. What are the good fats versus the bad fats, though? We break it down for you below.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s help slow down the aging process and restore moisture to dry skin, says Peggy Kotsopoulos, a registered holistic nutritionist and Vega’s spokesperson and culinary consultant. Because they have strong anti-inflammatory properties, Omega-3s help heal and reduce inflammation underneath the skin’s surface, which speeds up healing and reduces the severity of acne. Food sources include oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds.
Almonds are extremely high in vitamin E. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which means that it protects our skin cells from damage and prevents aging, says nutritionist and wellness expert, Jessica Sepel.
Avocados are high in vitamin E (a nutrient that stimulates the skin’s collagen production), as well as antioxidants, which help to eliminate toxins from the body. The monounsaturated fat content in avocados can also assist in moisturizing and hydrating the skin, leaving it nourished and renewed, says Sepel.
Olives/Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Made up of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids)
Olives (and extra virgin olive oil) are one of the healthiest fruits around — and one of the best-kept beauty secrets! “Olives are a rich source of vitamins A and E, both of which protect the oils on the surface of your skin from free-radical damage. Olives also help strengthen connective tissues, improving skin tone and protecting against UV radiation. The rich phenol content protects skin against oxidization. By using extra virgin olive oil topically, you can prevent and treat aging skin,” says Kotsopoulos. In addition, used topically, olive oil’s antibacterial and anti-fungal properties can treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It helps repair cells, protects against damage, and soothes the skin, helping it renew and regenerate. The fats are made up primarily of monounsaturated fatty acids (heart-healthy because they raise good cholesterol) and cancer-fighting oleic acids, which moisturize and lubricate skin cells. Extra virgin olive oil is naturally rich in squalane, which is a key ingredient in many store-bought skincare products. Squalane absorbs easily into the skin, keeping skin moist as well as restoring lost moisture.
Coconut oil is a great way to get those beauty-boosting essential fats without the extra calories that will lead to the wrong kind of fat. By weight, coconut oil has fewer calories than any other fat source, says Kotsopoulos. “Although it’s a saturated fat, the medium-chain fatty acids make it easily absorbable by the small intestine (not requiring the full digestive process). This means it provides increased energy faster than any other fat,” Kotsopoulos says. Coconut oil has immune-boosting properties and is anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal. It’s especially beneficial to those who suffer from candida or fungal infections, which can lead to acne and skin irritations. So by adding more of this to your diet, you may begin to see your face clear.
Due to its fatty-acid profile, coconut oil is also great for topical use as a moisturizer. It can smooth and clear skin and may help reduce the signs of stretch marks. Because it’s a saturated fat, it can help firm up saggy skin. Saturated fats are required to strengthen cell walls, and plant-based sources are the healthiest.
Walnuts/ Walnut Oil (Omega-3s/ Monounsaturated fats)
Walnuts are used in the makeup and beauty industry now more than ever. Their rich stores of omega-3 fatty acids not only keep your skin healthy and glowing, but also reduce inflammation. And, since inflammation leads to breakouts, walnuts make a nutty, tasty anti-acne treatment, says Kotsopoulos. Coupled with omega-3, walnuts are also rich in vitamin E and other powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, reducing inflammation and the incidence of breakouts. Plus they provide moisture to the skin and prevent sun damage.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which keeps moisture in the skin and protects the oils in the skin’s moisture barrier from free-radical damage. It soothes dry skin and can minimize the appearance of wrinkles when applied topically. Vitamin E also reduces the effects of sun exposure on the skin and can help prevent skin cancer, says Kotsopoulos.
Just two Brazil nuts contain your daily dose of selenium. Selenium aids in the production of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione, which repairs cell damage and slows down the skin’s aging process. Selenium also supports the elasticity of our tissues and protects against sunburn and skin cancer, says Kotsopoulos.