When most of us think skin care, we think of things like serums, facials, and SPF. However, an often underappreciated part of glowing skin is what we put in our bodies. Our skin is technically our largest organ (yes, skin is an organ!) and — much like our brain and heart — proper nutrition makes a difference in how it functions. Consistent nutrition is also key (think about it: you wouldn’t eat a salad once and expect to have lower cholesterol, right? The same is true for improving the health and appearance of your skin).
Below is a list of a few foods that will help you attain the healthiest, most glowing version of your skin possible.
Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and help maintain our skin’s natural barrier — which both seals moisture in and keeps irritants out. Hate fish? That’s okay. You can buy fish oil supplements at most health food stores and through a number of online retailers (just be sure you do your research and go with a well-reputed brand).
Walnuts are a fantastic alternative for anyone who doesn’t eat fish or fish-based products, because they provide extremely similar benefits to our skin. Plus, they’re incredibly versatile and convenient. Throw a handful into your morning cereal or oatmeal, add them to a salad, or keep them in your bag for an on-the-go snack.
Dark, Leafy Greens
This includes things like spinach, kale, collard greens, and broccoli. Why? Because they contain Vitamin K, which reduces inflammation and helps support collagen production (and collagen is what keeps our skin looking firm and supple). Don’t love veggies? Consider making a daily green smoothie with ingredients like apples and lemon juice. You can find a great, glowy recipe here).
Sweet potatoes contain a red-orange pigment called beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into Vitamin A — or retinal (which any true skin care junkie knows is used topically to reduce the signs of photodamage and aging). Studies show that ingesting foods rich in beta-carotene may help reduce free radicals in our skin, and ultimately help us look younger. Don’t like sweet potatoes? Carrots are a good alternative.
Green tea is full of antioxidants, and it may help fight damage-causing free radicals in our skin. It also serves double-duty as a soothing daily ritual, which makes it one of our favorite items on this list.
If recent studies have taught us anything, it’s that sugar and refined carbohydrates (which our bodies convert into sugar) have a slew of negative effects on our overall health. One of those effects is generalized inflammation, which breaks down collagen. Sugar is also known to exacerbate acne and rosacea, so you may want to watch your overall intake if you have a problem with either of these conditions.
The above list serves to get you started, but there are a wide range of other complexion-enhancing foods out there (and there are also a number of helpful books on this topic should you want to do a further deep dive). If anything, let this post serve as a reminder that diet and nutrition are a huge part of a comprehensive skin care routine and should not be underestimated in your pursuit of glowing skin!
Authored by: Toria Sheffield