With so many creams, cleansers, and toners on the market, it’s easy to overlook one of the best ways to improve your skin — through your diet. Nutritious foods that are high in healthy fats and antioxidants are particularly good for your skin, because they add moisture, promote cell regeneration, and reverse damage from free radicals. Eating a healthy diet also helps balance hormones, which can cause acne when they’re out of whack (for example how women tend to break out around their periods).
On the other hand, processed foods, dairy, gluten and other frequently inflammatory foods tend to lead to breakouts. Inflammation is one of the most direct causes of acne, so it’s important to avoid these irritating foods for your healthiest skin. Everyone is different, so it’s great to experiment with adding or removing certain foods from your diet to see how your skin reacts. If you experience a lot of breakouts, keeping a journal of what foods you eat and the condition of your skin may help you pinpoint what’s causing the irritation.
Despite individual differences, certain foods tend to boost skin quality across the board. Here are some of the best foods to eat for glowing, healthy skin.
- Salmon. Salmon is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for healthy skin. Omega-3s are a powerful nutrient that helps provide a barrier around cells to shield them from damage from sun, pollution and other environmental toxins.
- Walnuts. Walnuts are another good source of skin protecting Omega-3s and a great option for vegetarians who often lack this nutrient.
- Olive oil. Studies have shown people who eat more olive oil tend to show fewer signs of aging. The monounsaturated fats are linked to more youthful skin, while the antioxidant polyphenols help reverse damage from free radicals.
- Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that helps to hydrate skin, giving it a smoother, softer feel. Go for a chocolate that’s 70% cacao or higher and stick to 1-2 squares a day to avoid excess calories or sugar intake.
- Green tea. Green tea is a great source of antioxidants that boost circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your skin for better elasticity and a healthy glow.
- Kale. As you might have heard, kale is one of the most nutritious foods on the planets. It has 90% daily value of Vitamin C, which boosts the production of collagen, long fibers that keep our skin strong. Vitamin C and other antioxidants also help reverse the effects of free radicals, minimizing damage from UV rays. Try this Confetti Chopped Kale, Walnut and Beet Salad.
- Rosemary. Herbs like rosemary are a great way to get tons of antioxidants in just a little garnish. Getting more antioxidants means less damage from the sun and a lowered risk of getting melanoma.
- Water. There’s nothing like a little H2O to keep your skin looking beautiful. Drinking enough water is the best way to make sure your skin is hydrated, which gives it a smooth, plump look and prevents dryness and flaking all over. Watermelon Water is a great way to keep hydrated since it’s made of 92% water and important electrolytes.
Don’t let breakouts get you down. Keep in mind that many of the products meant to clear skin up actually cause more dryness and irritation, and it can be a hard cycle to break. Give your skin a rest from products and start with what’s on your plate. By minimizing junk food, dairy, and gluten and loading up on antioxidants and healthy fats, your skin will be looking brand new in no time.a