“You are what you eat” may not be the literal truth, but your diet can certainly influence your appearance. Eating different foods (and drinking certain beverages) can help your skin become clear, glowing, and healthy from the inside out. Try a few of these delicious dietary additions to give your skin the boost it needs.
1. Fatty Fish
Some fish have exactly the kind of healthy fat you need to keep your skin hydrated (which will help fight blemishes and aging), in addition to nourishing Vitamin E. Try adding more mackerel, albacore tuna, or salmon to your diet to reap these benefits.
2. Dark Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale, broccoli, nettles, collards, and other leafy dark green plants contain lots of antioxidants that protect your skin from damage from free radicals. They’re also high in essential vitamins like C and K. Greens are one of the best things to include in your diet for skin, hair, and all-around health.
3. Red Fruits and Veggies
Red plants are another great source of antioxidants. Many reddish fruits and veggies, like cherries and raspberries, help fight inflammation with anthocyanins (a kind of antioxidant). Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which gets even more powerful when cooked—think tomato sauces. Water-dense choices like watermelon also assist in hydration, so you can forget about counting up to 8 glasses of water a day.
4. Yellow-Orange Fruits and Veggies
Yes, you can color-code your grocery shopping! Carrots, peaches, peppers, tangerines, squash, and other plants in this color family provide even more antioxidants and are high in Vitamin A, which keeps your body’s organs healthy and working properly. Skin, as you probably remember from middle school science, is the body’s biggest organ, so don’t neglect it!
Nuts contain healthy fats and proteins to keep your skin hydrated and nourished. Some nuts also contain high levels of selenium (a mineral that boosts the number and strength of your body’s white blood cells), which may aid in fighting acne. Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds are good choices for selenium, while other nuts like almonds and walnuts provide all-around benefits.
Legumes such as beans, lentils, peas, and alfalfa are rich in protein and also high in antioxidants. Protein is essential for the health of your skin (as well as your hair and nails), as your body uses it to build new healthy tissue. Although meat can also be a source of protein, legumes are one of the healthiest and least expensive ways to get it.
7. Citrus Fruits
Fruits high in Vitamin C, which includes the citrus family (think oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines) as well as strawberries, help fight the free radicals that cause signs of aging. Higher Vitamin C intake through food has also been linked to lowered risk for dry skin, and it’s essential for collagen synthesis, helping keep skin strong and elastic.
8. Olive Oil
Your skin needs healthy fat to stay moisturized, and your body needs healthy fat to help it absorb the nutrients in all these skin-boosting foods. Fortunately, olive oil is an easy solution. Consuming olive oil helps lubricate and protect your skin and will assist your body with absorbing nutrients from food. Pair greens with an olive-oil-based salad dressing, use olive oil to cook with, or use it as a butter replacement.
9. Green Tea
You can drink your way to healthy skin, too. If you struggle with redness and inflammation, green tea is good news: it’s high in the specific antioxidant that helps calm irritation. Drink it hot for maximum benefits. Start with one cup a day and drink as much as you’d like—just don’t overdo it on caffeine when it’s near bedtime.
Yes, it’s not technically a “food,” but water is absolutely essential to providing your skin with the moisture it needs. Hydration will boost blood flow, making your skin glow like you’ve just come from hot yoga. Drink lots of water in addition to eating water-rich fruits and vegetables regularly.