This Is How You Eat for Your Skin

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Trinette Reed / Getty Images

Trinette Reed / Getty Images

We’d do anything for clear skin—and that includes changing the way we eat. No matter how you want your skin to improve, we’ve got the lowdown from experts on the foods you should add to your daily meals for a better complexion. From addressing sun damage to redness, there’s a ton of options packed with essential nutrients that you can easily squeeze into your day.

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First, customize your diet plan, no matter what it is:
Nutrients and vitamins for healthy skin can be found in a ton of foods, so you’re still able to follow a specific eating plan, like the Paleo diet or going vegan, without worrying about how it’ll show up on your complexion. “At the end of the day, that’s why you have to eat a variety of foods, so that you make sure you don’t miss out on any of these nutrients,” explains nutritionist, dietitian, and the author of The Small Change Diet. “And I think many times when we go on these limiting diets, we just think that it’s not possible. It’s totally possible, but we need to be aware of what we need to be choosing.”

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To Improve Skin’s Texture:
Eat Flavonols: Foods that have this antioxidant could play a part in helping to reduce roughness in the skin, explains Gans. Get your helping of this nutrient by eating things like blueberries, eggplants, tomatoes, and beans.

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To Improve the Appearance of Sun Damage:
For protection, eat Lycopene: The sun can really accelerate aging, and we’ll take all the protection we can get. Gans says that eating foods with this nutrient in it could possibly help eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by the sun’s rays. While it’s big in cooked tomatoes, you can get it from eating watermelon, pink and red grapefruit, and red cabbage. Since it appears in so many fruits, those following a low-carb diet should be sure they’re getting it in with their fruit portion.

And, eat Vitamin E: You see this ingredient pop up in many skin care bottles, and for good reason. Gans explains it “could protect the skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors.” Get your dose of it from olive oil (ideal for anyone following a Mediterranean diet), kiwi, papaya, and kale.

To reverse any damage, eat Catechins: “By neutralizing changes that may appear in your sun exposed skin, it may reverse the effects of sun damage, notes Gans. You can find it in cherries, blackberries, raspberries, plums, apples, pears, and even dark chocolate.

MORE: The Best Foods to Eat for Gorgeous, White Teeth

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Reduce Inflammation and Blotchiness:
Battle Wrinkles with Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Believed to attract water to your skin, Gans says these anti-inflammatory fats could possibly even reduce wrinkles. It’s found in foods like fish, tofu, and flaxseed.

Help with acne by adding Zinc: Another anti-inflammatory with an added plus, this substance plays a part in your sebum production. A deficiency in sebum, explains Gans, could contribute to acne. Look to oysters, chickpeas, cashews, yogurt, and milk.

Soothe skin with Niacin: Gans explains that the anti-inflammatory niacin, also known as vitamin b3, could soothe irritated or blotchy skin. It’s found in foods like barley, bulgur, tuna, salmon, chicken, and whole grains.

Calm blemishes with Riboflavin: This is another B vitamin that Gans says could possibly reduce the skin blemishes that pop up due to rosacea. Eat mackerel, trout, almonds, sesame seeds, and roasted edamame.

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Preserving Elastin:
Battle aging with Selenium: This vitamin may help with your anti-aging efforts. Gans says it could help preserve elastin, which is the protein that keeps your skin tight and can be found in tuna, turkey, low-fat cottage cheese, Brazil nuts, and oysters. However, those following a vegan diet need to be weary. “You’ve got to be careful though because many of these foods, like Brazil nuts—you eat too many of them and you ate too many calories,” says Gans.

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Collagen production.
Boost collagen production with Vitamin C: Gans notes this is a biggie for producing collagen and repairing skin cells. Find it in dark leafy greens, broccoli, strawberries, peppers, and oranges.

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Repair skin cells.
Maintain and repair cells with Vitamin A: This ingredient is essential for helping to repair and maintain our skin cells, Gans notes. Head to the produce aisle—it can be found in foods like cantaloupe, sweet potato, mango, and carrots.

MORE: Signs of Healthy (and Unhealthy) Skin

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