We often focus on what we put ON our skin, but what we put INSIDE our bodies influences skin health far more. Paula Simpson, a biochemist and holistic nutritionist who specializes in skin health, explains: “Diet influences skin at the cellular level, and since skin is our largest organ, it’s also the first to show nutrient deficiency.”
Eating a balanced diet and staying adequately hydrated are crucial for overall health and wellness, and when it comes to skin health, there are some foods are true superstars.
1. Watermelon: A traditional barbeque and picnic treat, this fruit is 90% water and can keep you hydrated. It is loaded with Vitamin C, which is required for collagen production, and its antioxidants – including lycopene – help prevent signs of aging.
2. Tomatoes: Speaking of lycopene, tomatoes are filled with the powerful phytochemical. The lycopene in crushed or cooked tomatoes is more available to your body than those eaten raw. Lycopene dissolves in fat, and your body will absorb it even more if you pair cooked or crushed tomatoes with olive oil.
Lycopene is also present in red grapefruit, guava, apricots, and papaya.
3. Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are excellent sources of antioxidants and Vitamin C.
Plums also have a very high antioxidant content.
4. Pineapple: This tropical fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals. It also contains an enzyme called bromelain that is believed to reduce inflammation and slow the growth of cancer cells.
6. Cucumber: Yes, slices can be placed over the eyes to reduce puffiness, but consuming them is even better – cucumbers are mostly water, so they offer a tasty way to stay hydrated.
7. Dandelion greens: These are packed with Vitamins A and K, as well as a good amount of collagen-boosting Vitamin C.
8. Sweet potatoes: These delicious tubers contain a high amount of Vitamin C and are an excellent source of Vitamin A and beta carotene, which fight the free radicals that can damage skin. Carrots also supply an abundance of Vitamin A, and mangoes provide beta carotene and Vitamin C as well.
9. Spinach: In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, people who ate the most leafy greens actually had half as many skin tumors over 11 years as those who ate the least. It’s thought that the folate in spinach may help repair and maintain DNA—basically bolstering cells’ ability to renew themselves.
10. Green tea: When hot, green tea releases catechins, a type of antioxidant with proven anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. A 2007 study in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that drinking two to six cups a day not only helps prevent skin cancer but may reverse the effects of sun damage by neutralizing the changes that appear in sun-exposed skin.
11. Flaxseeds: These tiny, nutty-flavored seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to reduce skin inflammation and redness and help keep skin hydrated. Salmon and walnuts are also good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
12. Dark chocolate: Flavonols, the antioxidants in dark chocolate, reduce roughness in the skin and protect against sun damage. One study showed that women who drank cocoa fortified with 326 mg of flavonols had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UVA rays than those who drank cocoa that contained a small amount of the antioxidant. A few ounces a day will suffice.
13. Almonds: Often referred to as nuts, these nutritional powerhouses are actually seeds, and they are loaded with Vitamin E – an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals.
14. Coconut water: This is a great choice for hydration due to its electrolyte content, and provides a good dose of potassium, which can help deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the skin by boosting circulation.
Add these foods to your diet for a vibrant, healthy glow that comes from within.