If your eyes are the windows to your soul, your skin may be the window to your stomach! That’s because what you eat has a direct impact on your skin health. While certain foods can leave your skin looking dry or prematurely aged, others will nourish your skin from the inside out, helping to provide hydration, protection against wrinkles and skin maintenance and repair.
For starters, you’ll want to be sure you’re eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, namely fruits and vegetables. For instance, vitamin-C-rich foods, like strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, kiwis, kale and oranges, are ideal because vitamin C:
- Is a building block for collagen
- Is an antioxidant that helps protect your body from free radical damage—think UV rays, pollution and environmental toxins
- Supports immune system function
Other notable nutrients to help keep your skin looking radiant include:
- Quercetin, found in onions, apples, sage, parsley and citrus fruits. Quercetin is an antioxidant that may protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) sun damage and has soothing properties that may reduce skin irritation.
- Lycopene, found in tomatoes (especially cooked tomatoes), helps protect your skin from sunburn. Lycopene is also found in watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit and blood oranges.
- Omega-3 fats, which are found in fish and fish oils, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are also important for skin health, as they support healthy cell membranes, which will help keep skin cells hydrated and plump.
- Green tea has also emerged as a powerful beverage for skin health. With both antioxidant and immune system supporting properties, green tea is protective against harmful oxidative stress.
Staying hydrated is incredibly important, which is why drinking plenty of pure water is one of the best secrets for glowing skin. As reported by Supermarket Guru:
“Skin cells contain mostly water, and if you’re dehydrated, skin can look and feel dry. Water with fresh squeezed lemon and herbal tea are two great choices to stay hydrated.”
As for what to avoid, eating too much sugar or refined carbs leads to the production of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These molecules damage collagen and elastin, and in so doing may actually contribute to wrinkles and sagging skin.
A diet low in processed foods and added sugars, and rich in whole foods like fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean protein and healthful fats, will lead to visibly healthier younger-looking skin (and the benefits will translate to other areas of your health as well!).