While what you put on your face is essential to having radiant, healthy skin, nutrition plays a major factor. Sure, we all have our junk-food cravings, and sometimes it can be fine to give in and let yourself indulge. But making sure you eat the right food will ensure you will not only stay looking your best, but keep your skin from aging in the process. Eating the right foods will boost your immune system and make you glow from the inside out. Your skin will appear smoother, hair shinier, and protect your body from specific stressors.
Of course, aging is a natural part of life and is undoubtedly beautiful in its own way, but we all want to look our best when we step out for date night or an evening spent with good friends. Because when you look good, you feel good, and these 18 foods can help you look and feel your best.
Accommodating two ounces of nuts into your diet can have a significant impact on your skin. Whether you love cashews, macadamia, or almonds— whatever you choose, nuts have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects, and they also have the power to help lower your cholesterol. They’re a fabulous source of fiber, protein, and nutrients that keep your body healthy and help you radiate.
- Lemon Juice
Adding a squeeze of lemon to your water isn’t just a tasty way to jazz up an ordinary glass of H2O. Lemons contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help with both aging and acne, the latter of which many adults are shocked to deal with later on in life. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consumed greater amounts of it had smoother skin and fewer wrinkles. Lemon water can also help protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals, as well as boost collagen production.
Pineapples are a sweet treat that packs a powerful punch. Lisa Hayim, R.D., founder of The Well Necessities, says, “Pineapple is rich in a mineral called manganese, which is needed to activate an enzyme called prolidase. Prolidase provides the amino acid proline for the formation of collagen in the skin, which plays a role in skin strength and elasticity."
Cut some up for a fruit salad, or toss some in a blender for a smoothie. This versatile fruit should definitely be on your grocery list.
- Dark Chocolate
While milk chocolate is definitely the more popular choice for those of us cursed with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is the way to go if you want to benefit from some serious anti-aging health benefits. Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which are believed to increase blood flow to the skin. Flavanols also absorb UV radiation, which can help protect your skin from sun damage.
There is a reason avocado has become so trendy in recent years. Aside from being extremely versatile in the kitchen, avocados are packed with omega-3s which are fatty acids that both keep the immune system functioning correctly and fight inflammation. Avocados also contain two of the best antioxidant vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, both of which fight the signs of aging.
Mushrooms contain vitamin D, a vitamin not easily found in foods and a nutrient of which most people don’t consume enough. Having a vitamin D deficiency means your body will have a much more difficult time absorbing calcium. This deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, brittle bones, and a hunched spine— all of which can make you look much older than you actually are. No amount of proper skincare will help you if your bones aren’t healthy and strong.
Tomatoes are both tasty and nutritious, whether raw or cooked. Still, cooking tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb the beneficial antioxidant lycopene that protects your skin from damage. Lycopene has shown it has the ability to defend against skin aging, and tomatoes are the most common source.
Vitamin A helps restore and regenerate damaged collagen, and carrots are loaded with it. Proper collagen production is essential for skin cells to maintain their elasticity and regeneration. Carrots also contain vitamin C, which helps skin recover from damage faster. The beta-carotene found in carrots reduces skin inflammation, which helps facilitate the healing process.
These tiny green trees you probably tried to feed to the dog under the table as a kid are super beneficial. A 2016 study found that broccoli contains the plant pigment lutein, which can help you use the skills and knowledge you have now well into your elderly years. Broccoli is also teeming with powerful antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C and minerals such as copper and zinc, all of which help maintain healthy skin. These nutrients can all protect the skin from getting infections and keep your skin naturally radiant.
- Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a delicious way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A. This orange spud will help your skin fight off fine lines and wrinkles that occur as a result of damaged collagen. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C and Vitamin E, which will help boost collagen production and tighten your skin. The antioxidants present in sweet potatoes can also give you a healthy glow.
Turmeric is a powerful spice that helps fight cell damage, chronic disease, and aging, ensuring your organs are in good condition. You can either consume turmeric or mix it into a paste and use it right on your skin. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties that can help heal skin traumas such as acne breakouts, acne scars, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is a specific type of honey made in Australia and New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. For years, this unique honey has been used in natural medicine as a remedy to rejuvenate skin. It works by stimulating cytokine production, which fights off pathogens and protects us from infections. It helps skin retain moisture and can soothe irritated skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Popeye had the right idea when he’d toss back a couple of cans of spinach to give himself a much-needed boost. Spinach has tons of phytonutrients that help protect your skin from sun damage. This leafy green also contains beta-carotene and lutein, which, as mentioned above, are two vital nutrients that research has found can improve skin elasticity.
- Green Tea
Green tea is well-known for its health benefits and has been for hundreds of years. It helps maintain healthy cells, protects them against damage, and helps manage stress. Green tea also contains flavonoids that protect against disease as well as block DNA damage associated with toxic chemicals that age the body. From its ability to fight off cancer to its strong inflammatory properties, green tea is one item that should be in your pantry.
Sure, coffee drinks have become a sugar-packed guilty pleasure at many cafes over the years. But, just straight-up black coffee has several health benefits. Not only will give it your day a nice little jump-start, it’ll boost your skin’s ability to avoid developing melanoma, the fifth most common cancer in the U.S. According to a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found that the more coffee people consumed, the less likely they were to get melanoma. Skip adding sugars and syrups, and stick to the basics in order to get the most out of this beloved morning beverage.
This messy fruit is worth the stained fingers. Pomegranate seeds are loaded with vitamin C, which helps you fight off fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness by neutralizing the free radicals that weather skin. This bittersweet fruit also contains anthocyanins and ellagic acid, a combination that will help increase collagen production, leading to firmer skin and less inflammation caused by UV damage.
Blueberries are a great source of vitamins C and E, which both work together to brighten your skin, even out skin tone, and fight damage caused by free radicals that can speed up the aging process. This superfood can also increase circulation to help your skin glow from the inside out.
Of course, eating these 18 foods every single day probably isn’t possible for most of us. But if you follow this simple guide and try to incorporate as much as these as possible, you could start to see major improvements in your complexion within a few weeks. (Not to mention most of these are generally healthy for you anyway.)
Do you have a secret superfood for your skin? What’s your skin-healthy diet? Let us know in the comments below!