You’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat.”
I know that it’s true, at least where skin is concerned!
Certain foods are “skin-friendly,” because they offer antioxidant protection, whereas other, unhealthy foods can actually exacerbate skin damage and promote skin aging.
I was able to clear up my acne when I started paying more attention to my diet. (Read more about that on my post, “My Journey to Clear Skin Without Prescriptions.”)
Did you know that you can also help your skin recover from a long, harsh winter with the right foods?
Here’s more, and what you may want to add to your plate to have glowing, radiant skin this spring!
Start with Careful Skin Care
Winter is hard on skin. All that dry, cold air dries it out, and makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Harsh winds and pollution damage skin, and can lead to sagging, hyperpigmentation, and dullness.
When spring comes, we want all that gone! It’s time to slough off all those old, damaged, and dead skin cells and reveal new, fresh skin that has a natural glow.
You can start by changing up your skin care routine a bit. Exfoliate at least a couple times a week (with a gentle product that includes fruit enzymes and glycolic acid), and use a hydrating mask to counteract dryness. You can even make your own with ingredients like mashed bananas, avocados, yogurt, olive oil, and cucumber. (Find more information on reducing the effects of harsh winter weather on your skin.)
Then look to your diet to do the rest.
10 Foods for Radiant Skin
Start any skin-recovery diet with water. Pure, clean water is your friend! Keep it nearby at all times and sip throughout the day.
Then try to work these 10 damage-busting foods into your diet and see if you don’t notice your skin becoming softer, smoother, and more radiant within a few weeks.
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries-go crazy! All berries are high in antioxidants that protect skin from damage that can accelerate aging. They’re also rich in vitamin C, which can help protect skin from damaging UV rays and encourage the production of collagen, keeping skin firm and taut.
- Salmon, walnuts, and other sources of healthy fats: Your skin craves the fats in these foods. They’re extremely hydrating and plumping, and can help counteract some skin conditions like eczema, and psoriasis. Make sure you’re getting some salmon (or other fatty fishes like sardines and anchovies) a couple times a week, snack on walnuts, and add some flax seed to your morning smoothie.
- Green tea: This beverage may be the best of any that you can drink for your skin (besides water). It’s full of protective antioxidants, has shown in studies to help reduce the risk of damage from UV rays (thus reducing the risk of skin cancer), and it also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent redness and reduce breakouts.
- Brazil nuts, turkey, and tuna: These foods are all high in selenium, which is a key nutrient for skin. Not only does it help reduce the risk of skin cancer, it also seems to help reduce acne breakouts. Some studies have found that people with acne have low levels of selenium, so if acne is your problem this spring, add more of these foods to your diet. Other good sources include halibut, cod, sardines, beef, and lamb.
- Broccoli: It’s high in antioxidants, as well as in collagen-protecting vitamin C and hydrating vitamin E. A 2013 study found that “sulforaphane,” a compound in broccoli, had the power to help reduce the risk of skin cancer, inhibiting cancer-causing pathways and triggering the action of protective genes.
- Pineapple, kiwi, and papaya: These fruits are all high in vitamin C, which preserves collagen and protects from harmful UV rays. They’re all high in water content too, which can help keep skin hydrated.
- Kidney beans and oysters: They’re high in zinc, which can help deter acne breakouts. Studies have found that those with acne often have low zinc levels. A 2007 study, for example, found that over half of acne patients had low zinc levels, while only 10 percent of control patients had low levels. Researchers suggested that increasing zinc levels could help improve the success rate of acne treatment. Other good sources of zinc include beef, lamb, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, and cashews.
- Apples: This fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients for the skin. Vitamin C helps protect from free radicals and encourages collagen production. Copper helps maintain the strength of skin, and promotes the production of skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. Vitamin A may reduce the risk of skin cancer, and also helps protect skin cells as they develop. Apples are also full of water, promoting a youthful appearance while keeping you feeling full!
- Carrots: These are rich in beta-carotene, a form of provitamin A that helps shield skin from damaging UV rays. Vitamin A has been linked with easing the symptoms of eczema. One 2012 study even found that after six weeks of eating more fruits and vegetables rich in carotenes, participants experienced a change in skin tone to one with a healthier glow. Other good sources include apricots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.
- Tomatoes: If you’ve got oily skin, boost your intake of tomatoes this spring. The natural acidity helps get rid of excess oil, and you also get the benefit of lycopene and other antioxidants that protect your skin from premature aging. Tomatoes also have natural astringent properties, which help to shrink pores. They’re good sources of vitamin A and vitamin C. A 2012 study found that eating tomato paste could help protect against sunburn and skin ageing caused by exposure to the sun. You can also apply tomato juice directly to the skin to help shrink pores and absorb excess oil.
Do you know of other foods that help bring about smooth, radiant skin? Please share your tips.
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., “What are the best foods for healthy skin?” Mayo Clinic, December 18, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/healthy-skin/faq-20058184.
NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. “Broccoli to fight skin cancer?” ScienceDaily, September 4, 2013, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904203540.htm.
Yesim Kaymak, et al., “Zinc Levels in Patients with Acne Vulgaris,” Journal of the Turkish Academy of Dermatology, 2007; 1(3):71302a, http://www.jtad.org/2007/3/jtad71302a.pdf.
“Skin Tone Linked to Fruit and Vegetable Consumption,” Medical News Today, March 9, 2012, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/242679.php.
Jenny Hope, “Tomatoes ‘help keep skin young’ and protect against sunburn,” Daily Mail, June 6, 2012, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2155595/Tomatoes-help-skin-young-protect-sunburn.html.