Ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? When it comes to your skin, this couldn’t be more true. While a healthy and balanced diet will do wonders for your entire body, there are certain foods out there that are capable of giving your skin an extra-special glow.
Whether you love them or hate them, here are the 10 foods that your skin is begging you to eat more of:
Red and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables
Sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, apricots – all of these fruits and vegetables are brimming with beta-carotene, the compound that gives them their vibrant colour. However, this isn’t all that beta-carotene is good for…
You’ve probably heard of vitamin A. Whether you know it as retinol, tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, or anything else, it’s a skincare powerhouse. It’s one of the most-studied skincare ingredients available, with so much research backing up how it can help with everything from acne to sun damage to wrinkles.
This is an ingredient that your skin could really do with more of, and consuming foods rich in beta-carotene will give it exactly that. How? Because once it’s in your body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A.
Eat enough beta-carotene and your skin will take on a warmer, more orangey colour too (but not in the fake tan kind of way!), giving you a natural, all-round glow.
If you’ve ever looked into how to get rid of under-eye wrinkles or lines around your mouth, avocado face masks have likely popped up in your research. There’s a reason for this – avocados are packed with healthy fats. These keep your skin bouncy and supple.
Avocados are also a great source of vitamins. You’ll find vitamins A, C, and E in high quantities. All three are key components of collagen production, meaning that your skin will be able to build more of its structural protein fibers. The result? Firmer, smoother, and tighter skin.
Let’s talk about omega-3 fatty acids. They’re an essential fatty acid that the body doesn’t produce itself. However, your skin needs it to stay moisturized – it’s even been proven that a lack of omega-3s leads to dry skin. Not only that, but omega-3s help to reduce inflammation, reduce UV sensitivity, and fight autoimmune skin conditions.
So, it goes without saying that omega-3s should be a key part of a skin-focused diet, which is where fatty fish come in. Salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are all referred to as fatty fish because they’re high in fatty acids. Consume more of them and you’ll notice that your skin takes on a softer, smoother, and brighter finish.
If you don’t enjoy eating seafood, there are plenty of fish oil supplements out there to choose from. While not quite as beneficial as eating the fish in its whole form, these oils will still give your skin some extra nourishment.
Fatty fish may be the best food source of omega-3s, but that’s not much use if you follow a plant-based diet. Instead, turn to chia seeds. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re also chock full of other antioxidants.
You’ll find quercetin, which reduces redness and itching while increasing skin hydration, caffeic acid, which is able to boost collagen production, and chlorogenic acid, which prevents inflammation.
Just like fatty fish, chia seeds are also a great protein source. They’re an easy ingredient to add to your meals – simply sprinkle some chia seeds over whatever you happen to be eating to enjoy their nutty crunch and their skin-transforming effects.
Chia seeds on their own aren’t enough to provide your skin with all of the fatty acids that it needs. This means that you’ll need to seek out other sources of omega-3s too, one of which would be walnuts.
Walnuts are revered for their fatty acid content – they contain more omega-3 and omega-6 than most other nuts. However, they help the skin in other ways too. They offer high amounts of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that keeps skin inflammation to a minimum. They also contain selenium, a mineral that protects skin cell membranes from UV damage.
Just about every skincare brand out there uses green tea in their formulas. It’s a superfood that has so much to offer. Its biggest claim to fame is its catechin content. Catechins are extremely powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from environmental damage, particularly UV rays. Green tea has also been found to improve everything from skin texture to thickness to moisture levels.
Green tea is basically an all-rounder that everyone’s skin would benefit from. While a cup of green tea once in a while will give your skin a boost, try drinking it on a daily basis to really experience its effects.
You probably weren’t expecting to see chocolate on this list. However, dark chocolate, meaning chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa, is actually loaded with antioxidants. In fact, it contains even more antioxidants than green tea.
The antioxidants in dark chocolate can help with roughness, UV protection, wrinkles, and so much more. They even boost blood circulation, meaning that your skin is able to access more nutrients and oxygen, giving it a healthy glow.
When it comes to choosing which brand to buy, keep in mind that the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants it will contain. Eat it in moderation too – a square or two per day is all that your skin needs!
Probiotics have been in the spotlight quite a bit lately. They’re a game-changer for the gut, increasing levels of good bacteria and reducing levels of bad bacteria. This reduces overall inflammation levels in the body, which has the knock-on effect of minimizing inflammation in the skin. This not only helps with general redness and sensitivities, but also with inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne and eczema.
Probiotics come in many forms. Greek yogurt tends to be the most widely available, although kefir, which is similar, contains a higher number of probiotic strains. If you don’t eat dairy, look into miso, a delicious probiotic ingredient that’s popular in Japanese cuisine.
All beans are loaded with protein, which your skin can use to create more proteins of its own. However, kidney beans have an extra-special edge. They’re a fantastic source of zinc, a mineral that helps to regulate the skin’s sebaceous glands, therefore controlling acne breakouts.
Thanks to their folic acid content, kidney beans also stimulate the skin cell production process. Even better, the manganese within them promotes the skin’s natural antioxidant defense system, enabling it to better fight harmful free radicals.
Cinnamon features heavily in menus during the holiday season, but many neglect this aromatic spice the rest of the year. To do this would be a mistake, since cinnamon is a great ingredient for stimulating the blood vessels in the skin. This boosts circulation, giving the skin a rosy glow.
Cinnamon is also rich in polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. That said, not all cinnamon is equal. Ceylon cinnamon is what you need – it may be harder to find and more expensive to buy, but this is the spice that your skin has been asking for. Try sprinkling some into your morning cup of coffee or tea to benefit from its glow-enhancing properties.
While each of these foods may benefit your skin in their own way, it’s important to remember that moderation is key. Rather than focusing on a single food from this list, try to incorporate as many as you can into your diet. This will mean that you’ll be nourishing your skin cells in every possible way, and it won’t be long before the health of your skin starts to improve as a result.