You are what you eat, or so we’ve been told countless times, but there is plenty of truth in that statement when it comes to deciding what to put into your mouth relevant to having healthy-looking skin. This might be hard to picture, but the skin on your body encompasses your body’s largest organ, and as such it is exposed to much potential damage from things like sunlight and air pollution. The right food and nutrients can help with that.
Consistently drinking water is fundamental to keeping your skin looking younger and fresher; we all should know that. Additionally, eating the right foods can not only help your skin renew itself, per facty.com, it can also replenish vital nutrients your skin needs in order to thrive and stay healthy. This is true even for people afflicted with skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, when a change in eating habits can prove beneficial to the skin.
'Fat' Foods Can Be Good
Many of us have been conditioned over the years to believe that a diet devoid of fat is a healthy diet, but that isn’t exactly true. There are a number of health concerns throughout your body that can benefit from certain kinds of fats in food, such as the fatty acids of the omega-3’s found in such foods as salmon.
Your skin, too, can benefit from monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which can help to give your skin its “glow,” or “shine,” by working to keep or get your skin moist, firm, and flexible, per webmd.com. Insufficient fat in your diet is a deficiency that can render your skin wrinkled and dry. So, let those healthy fats have a part in serving as “anti-aging” agents.
Is ‘Anti-Aging’ Real?
Eating certain foods and ingesting certain nutritional supplements won’t actually takes years off, but they can make your body feel and function as someone younger. It also certainly can turn old-looking skin into younger-looking skin. In a sense then, beauty comes from the inside, as National Institutes of Health (NIH) puts it, acknowledging that the link between nutrition and skin condition – or nutrition’s effect on skin aging – has emerged as a fascinating field of research for both scientists and ordinary folks like you.
NIH posits that skin aging is comprised of two “didactically independent, clinically and biologically distinct processes.” One is referred to as intrinsic skin aging, referring to chronological aging that affects the skin in the same manner it influences all internal organs. Then there is extrinsic skin aging, which we regard as aged skin, the result of external factors and environmental influence.
Nutrition that Benefits Your Skin
Protecting your skin from that latter form of aging (extrinsic) often begins and ends with preventing damaged caused by free radicals; diet plays a key role in that regard. Keep in mind that it’s always good to discuss with your physician or a dietitian what foods are best aligned with whatever health concerns you have – such as your skin – and is best not left to trial and error, or any sort of overindulgence in one direction or another. Also, any part of your skin-enhancing diet will not serve as a sunscreen on its own, so just be aware and careful.
In alphabetical order, here are some foods that can help give your skin that youthful glow (or at least keep it):
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A works well on both the upper and lower layers of skin. On the upper layer, it has been shown to prevent sun damage by disrupting the damaging process that breaks down collagen; on the lower layer, it assists the functionality of oil glands around your hair follicles, per webmd.com. Leafy dark greens (kale, spinach, etc.) and eggs are rich in A.
- Vitamin C. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, per NIH, vitamin C is a co-factor for lysyl and prolyl hydroxylase, which work to stabilize the structure of collagen, a compound crucial to the health of your skin. Citrus fruits are the best-known sources of vitamin C.
- Curcumin. This spice, the primary ingredient of turmeric, has been shown effective in reducing oxidative stress and limiting inflammation, per NIH.
- Grapes. With their dual provision of ellagic acid and resveratrol, red, green, and black grapes work to thwart oxidative stress, per goodhousekeeping.com.
- Honey. Honey can work inside as well as outside your body. Inside your body, its many nutrients contribute to your overall health in numerous ways. It can also be applied topically to help rejuvenate and soothe your skin, such as for folks dealing with the itching and rashes of eczema, per facty.com.
- Mushrooms. These contain selenium, which helps protect your skin from sun damage, per goodhousekeeping.com.
- Olives. Olives contain polyphenolic compounds that have the potential to guard against cell disruption, while also improving blood flow throughout the body, per goodhousekeeping.com.
- Pumpkin seeds. These are loaded with vitamin C and zinc, both of which can benefit skin. Zinc not only helps keep skin beautiful and healthy, it can also work with vitamin C in repairing damaged skin, as necessary.
- Salmon. Salmon, known as a “fatty fish,” is packed not only with proteins but also with heart-healthy omega-3s, and that makes it doubly good for your skin. Protein is instrumental in the rebuilding and healing of skin, while the omega-3 fatty acids can enhance your skin’s resiliency, per facty.com.
- Watermelon. Its abundance of water as well as beta-carotene and vitamin C make watermelon an antioxidant powerhouse, per goodhousekeeping.com.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is loaded with probiotics as well as protein, which effectively collaborate to bring damage-repairing capability to your skin. It helps tighten your pores and reduce skin blemishes, per facty.com.
- Other foods or nutrients commonly associated with skin-health benefits include almonds, apple cider vinegar, avocados, bell peppers, broccoli, cod, CoQ10, vitamin D, vitamin E, garlic, green tea, lemon, mangoes, oats, pecans, shellfish, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.