We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’, but when it comes to your skin this can certainly ring true. Eating too many processed foods, refined carbs and ready meals can lead to inflammation within the body and encourage skin issues, such as acne. But including the best foods for healthy skin into your diet can make your skin look younger and give you a youthful glow.
Eating a mediterranean-style diet can certainly help improve the skin, as its foods have a low glycemic index, which can stabalise the skin’s oil production and protect against acne. However, there are lots of other foods which can keep your skin looking, and feeling, hydrated and plump.
Here’s 15 foods to eat for a healthy, glowing and younger-looking complexion…
Avocados are not only a popular brunch option but contain many healthy fats that benefit many functions of your body and your overall skin health. There is evidence that proves that avocados contain compounds that protect your skin from sun damage, which in turn can help reduce wrinkles and premature ageing.
Overall, avocados are amazing for your skin as they contain fats and vitamins E and C, which help contribute to glowing skin.
2. Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
Food such as red or yellow peppers contain lots of beta carotene (which is converted into vitamin A) and vitamin C. These vitamins are important antioxidants for your skin. Vitamin C creates collagen, which is the structural protein that keeps your skin resilient.
3. Green leafy vegetables
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids that are important for the wellbeing of your skin. It also has sulforaphane, which is known to help prevent skin cancer and protect your skin from sun damage and burns.
Spinach and kale are powerful antioxidants which are important for normal skin cell development and promotes healthy skin.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is not only a treat, but the effects of cocoa are amazing for your skin. Cocoa contains antioxidants, improves wrinkles, skin thickness, hydration, blood flow, and skin texture and helps against sunburn.
To reap the benefits of chocolate, be sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.
As tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and all of the major carotenoids, especially lycopene they may also help prevent wrinkling as carotenoids protect your skin from sun damage.
6. Berries, orange, kiwi and other fruits
One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and hydrated is to make sure you have vitamin C. Vitamin C is a super antioxidant which helps support your immune system, leaves you with radiant skin and helps any blemishes heal. Some of the best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya and strawberries.
It is no surprise that salmon is on this list. This fish is one of the protein-rich foods and contains protective antioxidants. It is packed with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, selenium and vitamin B12.
Salmon is known as “brain food” due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids. It is good for the brain but how is it good for the skin you may ask?
With fatty types of fish like salmon or mackerel, they contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation, which in turn will help keep your skin balanced and moisturised. An omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can cause dry skin.
Salmon contains zinc, a mineral that is anti-inflammatory and aids with the production of new skin cells and your overall skin health.
8. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are very good foods that contain skin-boosting nutrients! For example:
Walnuts are an excellent source of essential fats, zinc, vitamin E, selenium and protein. These are all the nutrients you need to maintain good skin health.
In terms of seeds, sunflower seeds are a good source of nutrients. It contains vitamin E which is an important antioxidant for the skin.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not in the same food group as a regular potato but are more of a squash. This food is an excellent source of beta carotene, which is a nutrient found in plants. Beta carotene can be found in oranges and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes and can be converted into vitamin A in your body.
As sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, this acts as a natural sunblock and can help protect your skin from any UV damage.
10. Green tea
A cup of green tea is a great way to contribute to healthy skin. The catechins that are found in green tea are powerful antioxidants and not only helps fight against sun damage but reduces redness and skin irritation as well as improving the hydration in your skin, which in turn helps the thickness and elasticity.
Beetroot is a food that is high in vitamin C! Which makes it great for clearing up blemishes and balancing your skin tone. Beetroot juice works as a blood purifier, which in turn keeps your skin glowing and healthy.
12. Olive Oil
It may not immediately come to mind, but olive oil houses a ton of health benefits. For starters, it’s packed full of antioxidants, as well as fatty acids and vitamins that support our skin health and reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil is the best, so opt for this when cooking.
Did you know two cups of watermelon equates to a full cup of water? So your skin can stay plump and hydrated. It’s also naturally low in sugar (compared to other fruit) and the chemical reaction ‘glycation’ doesn’t occur when you eat it, which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
14. Green tea
It’s no surprise green tea can be found in lots of skincare products, as it contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant and a real skin saviour. It can help reduce inflammation, slow down DNA damage to the skin and even protect against sunburn and sun damage. Simply pop the kettle and enjoy a cuppa.
15. Greek yoghurt
Although it’s sometimes recommended to cut out dairy products when looking to improve skin conditions, such as acne, we can make an exception when it comes to Greek yoghurt. It’s brilliant to help combat the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as it’s rich in B vitamins, which detox the skin, while its probiotics can help improve your overall skin health.
Can your diet combat skin problems?
Yes, making good choices in your diet will significantly help clear up skin problems and treat acne however it will not be an overnight change. It can take up to six weeks for new skin to come to the surface and changes in diet will show once this has happened. However, not all skin problems can be helped entirely by a change in diet. If your skin condition persists, talk to a GP or dermatologist to create a more personalised plan.
As acne is caused by infection and inflammation of the sebaceous glands are stimulated by hormones it is a good idea to cut down on fats and processed foods. If you cut down on processed foods such as junk food, biscuits or crisps this will help reduce irritation. It is a balance, even if you are eating whole foods as mentioned above such as salmon, berries and nuts this will not counterbalance processed foods.