The best foods to eat for healthy, glowing skin – and what to avoid.
You can have the best skincare routine filled with all the latest products, but if you’re not eating the right kind of foods, chances are your skin just won’t be at it’s healthy, glowing best.
Because skincare isn’t just about what you put on your face – studies show that it’s what you put in your body, too.
While things like genetics, lifestyle, sun exposure, pollution and stress are all important factors that influence the look of your skin tells us what you eat can also contribute to the health and appearance of our skin and how it will age.
For example, things like sugar and processed carbohydrates (pasta, bread and all the good stuff) can mess with your skin’s internal make-up, leading to the breakdown of your skin’s collagen. Yikes!
And that persistent dullness and inflammation? You could be eating a diet too high in fat, with a lack of fibre, antioxidants, protein and essential fatty acids.
However, before you start cutting out pizza and wine nights for good (alcohol is another wrinkle causing bad guy - we’re sorry!), we’re going to take you through a few easy things you can do to keep your skin looking youthful and radiant.
Below, we’ve pulled together some of the best foods you should eat for healthy skin, along with the ones you should eat in moderation. And just remember, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is not only the best way to go for your skin, but for your overall physical (and mental) health. If you’re thinking of updating your diet, it’s obviously best to talk to a health professional first before making any big changes.
Okay. Let’s go!
The foods to limit for healthy skin. Together with protecting your skin from sun damage, limiting stress and exercising regularly, studies show that limiting junk food and alcohol are also key things you can do to help slow down the process of ageing.
Although it’s easier said than done, knowing how certain foods can affect the health of your skin is crucial. So, here’s a list of some foods that can speed up your body’s ageing process.
Studies show that when you eat sugary foods like doughnuts, pastries and brownies, your body goes through something called ‘glycation’, where sugar molecules bind to proteins and produce free radicals. This causes collagen and elastin to break down, leading to premature ageing and pesky wrinkles.
Foods that are deep fried in oil aren’t great for your skin either because they tend to add inflammation throughout your body. No good. Similar to baked goods, fried foods basically release cell-damaging free radicals, weakening your skin’s collagen and elasticity.
Foods such as red meat, cheese and butter are all high in saturated fats which, according to research, can do a real number on your skin. Instead, try to opt for leaner meats such as ground turkey breast and chicken breast. You can also reach for ‘younger’ cheeses that are lighter in colour (think: ricotta, goat cheese and feta) and substitute butter for olive oil.
Hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, and sausage are examples of processed meats that can accelerate the ageing process. These things are high in sodium and saturated fats, which can dehydrate the skin, weaken collagen and cause inflammation.
While having a drink every now and then is okay, heavy drinking can add years to your face, as alcohol dehydrates the skin. Studies show that alcohol consumption can significantly impact skin and volume-related facial ageing. The result? Wrinkles, puffiness, dryness, redness and visible facial capillaries.
The best foods to eat for healthy skin.
Alright – onto the good stuff! While certain foods can cause havoc with your skin, others can help supercharge its radiance and overall texture. Opting for a Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein can help reduce inflammation, keeping skin looking youthful. So, here are the top foods to eat for a better complexion:
Loaded with vitamin C (an essential component in the production of collagen), sweet potato is a powerhouse food for maintaining an even skin tone and texture. What’s more, it can even brighten and improve the radiance of your skin.
Mum was right – eating your greens is good for you. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as high-powered antioxidants like lutein, improving skin hydration and elasticity.
Studies show oily fish like salmon and tuna are high in protein and omega-3 fats (including EPA and DHA), which can help combat skin inflammations associated with acne, eczema and psoriasis. Not only this, but oily fishes are also rich in biotin and selenium, which helps keep skin smooth and tight. So, get into it!
Loaded with antioxidiants, vitamins and nutrients, research shows that berries pack a real punch when it comes to protecting your skin from damage and improving healing and circulation. Blueberries are especially rich in antioxidiants such as vitamin C and anthocyanin, which help reduce collagen breakdown and increase overall collagen production.
Watermelons aren’t only refreshing as hell, but they’re also loaded with a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which helps fight off free-radicals. Studies have shown it also has anti-inflammatory activity - so it’s a real all-rounder.
Lentils and beans
For the uninitiated, lentils and beans are an amazing source of iron and protein (which is important for clear skin). Look for black beans, split peas, pintos and chickpeas.
Whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and wholemeal pasta and breads contain B vitamins, like thiamine and riboflavin, which can help improve skin tone and radiance, while balancing natural oil.
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Gary Williams, Author. Bio