There’s so much information out there about which foods you should eat and which diets you should stick to in order to be your healthiest self. But when it comes to what you should eat to keep your skin, specifically, healthy the information pool gets vastly smaller as much less research on the topic has been done. However, the Mayo Clinic has found that “antioxidant-rich foods seem to have a protective effect for the skin,” meaning there’s at least a general reliable guideline of what you should stick to for a bright and healthy complexion.
Before we get to that, it’s also important to know which foods will adversely affect your skin. Avoid them, and you’ll have to do far less damage control via a contrastingly healthy diet. Research suggest that processed foods and those high in refined sugars, carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promote skin aging, which probably comes as no surprise. Basically, all of this goes to say that if you stick to a diet that is generally considered healthy, chances are it’ll be good for your skin too. “Many of the best foods for healthy skin also promote good health overall,” explains the Mayo Clinic. “Rather than focusing on specific foods for healthy skin, concentrate on a healthy diet in general.” Below are six antioxidant-rich foods that will kickstart your health from the inside (all the way) out.
Fish including salmon, mackerel, and herring are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized. They’re also great sources of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that is essential for protecting the skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation. If you’ve heard of people taking fish oil supplements, now you know why. Why not just eat the real thing?
Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts and sunflower seeds, in particular, do wonders for your skin. Richer than almost all other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, walnuts also contain a good amount of zinc, which helps promote wound healing by fighting bacteria and inflammation. Finally, they also contain small amounts of vitamins E and C as well as selenium, which are all antioxidants.
Sunflower seeds boast similar benefits, containing selenium, zinc, vitamin E and protein. They’re also an excellent source of linoleic acid, which is an essential omega-6 fat that ensures your skin will stay flexible, moisturized, and thick.
Eating plenty of vitamin C has been associated with a lower chance of skin appearing wrinkled and dry with age, and tomatoes happen to be rich in the nutrient. They also contain large amounts of all the major caratenoids, namely lycopene. Lycopene has been proven to protect against sun damage while also helping to prevent wrinkles.
Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Other Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Like lycopene, beta-carotenoids have been shown to protect skin from free radicals and other environmental aggressors. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are rich in it.
Spinach, Kale and Other Green Leafy Veggies
Leafy veggies tend to all contain powerful antioxidants, and they’re also rich in vitamins A and C, which boost collagen. And considering kale is an all-around superfood, why wouldn’t you make sure to eat it every now and again?
Like leafy greens, berries—namely blueberries, cranberries and blackberries—are all rich in powerful antioxidants and also contain vitamins A and C. Together, these help firm skin and protect against free radical damage.
While you’re likely already aware that green tea is yet another antioxidant-rich food or, in this case, drink, it also contains polyphenols (a chemical compound) and a specific type of antioxidants called catechins. These both improve skin’s elasticity and help protect against sun damage.
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