You have heard the old adage, “You are what you eat.” And this is true for your overall health and also for the health of your skin. Luckily, it’s actually quite simple to eat your way to healthy skin.
There are numerous micronutrients essential to a glowing complexion – Vitamins A, C, E and K; minerals zinc, copper, and selenium; and fats including Omega 3 and 6. But don’t let the number of nutrients overwhelm you. Intentionally adding a few key foods to your diet will reward you with noticeably healthier skin.
Here are the top foods to look for – as well as a few things to avoid – if you want glowing skin from the inside out!
- A Variety of Fruits and Veggies
Citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and spinach are high in Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant and essential for collagen production.
Kale, spinach, lettuce, and cabbage also supply Vitamin K. Vitamin K is known for its role in blood clotting. Because of this, healthy Vitamin K levels may help to heal bruises and wounds and to minimize dark under-eyes.
- Healthy Fats
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are a key nutrient in your overall health. These fats build healthy cell membranes to create the optimal amount of skin oils to protect and hydrate the skin. Fats also aid in the absorption of Vitamins A, D, and E. Your body does not make these types of fats, so the only way to get these essential fatty acids into your system is through a healthy diet. Although you also need Omega 6s in your diet, most people get more than enough of this type of fat through processed foods. Instead, focus on foods rich in Omega 3s such as flax and chia seeds, salmon, walnuts, and avocados.
- Nuts and Seeds
Vitamin E in nuts and seeds is also an antioxidant. It is secreted by the oil producing glands in the skin and absorbs harmful UV rays to protect from sun damage.
Nuts and seeds, including pine nuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds, contain zinc, copper, and selenium which may act as antioxidants protecting your skin from cancer-causing free-radical damage.
- Lots of Water!
Drinking water not only keeps your skin hydrated from the inside out, it also helps flush waste and toxins from your body keeping you healthier overall.
Processed sugars have been shown to break down collagen and elastin, the connective tissues that keep your skin supple and youthful.
Alcohol is dehydrating to the skin, making it appear more dull and wrinkled. Drinking alcohol also can affect your sleep, emphasizing dark undereye circles. Plus, alcohol is inflammatory, which can also lead to increased puffiness, redness, and breakouts – YUCK!
- Inflammatory Foods
In addition to alcohol and sugar, fried foods, other highly processed foods, and red meat are inflammatory to your skin and your body as a whole. It is good practice to eat these types of foods in moderation and balance them out with the healthy food choices mentioned above.
- Personal Triggers
All health is personal. What is “good” for one person’s skin, may not work for someone else. This is especially true with the foods we put into our bodies. Pay attention to how your skin reacts to certain foods. Do you notice dry skin after eating pizza? Or a breakout after greasy fries? While no food is inherently “bad,” some foods may not allow our bodies to function optimally.
Want to dig deeper? Try keeping a food journal or eating on an elimination diet to pinpoint the food triggers your skin may have.
Need fresh ideas for healthy recipes to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals for glowing skin? Check out the recipe for Creamy Green Goddess Soup below created by Frownies CEO Kat Wright, ND!
By: Dr. Megan C. Wright, PT, DPT
Megan C. Wright, PT, DPT is an authority in health and wellness content with over ten years of clinical experience as well as a freelance health writer. Megan received a BA in English from the University of Virginia and earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Marymount University. Megan lives outside Richmond, Virginia with her husband and three young boys.