Eat Your Way to Healthier Skin You Never Thought Possible
Believe it or not, a healthy diet is absolutely essential for skin health! There are tons of reasons to eat a balanced diet – weight loss and management, good organ function, and general health. Like any other part of your body, your skin needs to be nourished! Eating the right foods rich in healthy oils, proteins, and fats will result in healthy, young-looking, glowing skin.
One of the best foods for maintaining skin health is, of course, olive oil. Your skin needs certain levels of good oils to remain moisturized and keep an appropriate pH balance. Researchers with PLOS ONE found in a 2012 study that higher consumption of olive oil (more than 8.4 grams or 2 teaspoons per day) was associated with 31% fewer signs of aging.
In fact, it was tested against various other types of oil and was determined to be the most skin-friendly. 75% of the fat in olive oil is monosaturated fatty acid, which has been connected to boosting skin’s youthfulness and the prevention of fine lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil is also great for skin, hair, and nail health.
Obviously, water is imperative for a healthy body, let alone clear skin. Women should aim for 72-oz, or 9 cups per day; men should strive for around 104-oz, or 13 cups. You don’t have to drink water on its own exclusively – the water in milk, fruit, juice, and vegetables counts towards this goal as well.
Water keeps your skin at the appropriate level of moisture, which is important for preventing irritation, breakouts, and acne. It also helps skin look younger by making fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable. Water allows your cells to take in nutrients and flush your body of toxins. It also promotes good circulation, which provides you with glowing, clear skin.
Selenium is a healthy mineral which occurs naturally in foods such as Brazil nuts, button mushrooms, shrimp, lamb, and fish such as snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, and salmon. Cooked beef, oysters, lean turkey, sardines, crab, and whole-wheat pasta also contain selenium. Selenium is an important part of your diet because it helps to protect your skin from free radicals, which cause tissue-damage, dryness, wrinkling, and disease. Some studies suggest selenium can even be instrumental in preventing skin cancer.
Sardines have been known to generate healthy skin, as just 3.5-oz contains 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent the inflammation in skin that causes acne. Omega-3s are also found in other types of seafood, and nuts, such as walnuts. Walnuts are loaded with copper, which boosts collagen production and promotes elasticity, leading to soft, supple skin.
Green and yellow vegetables full of catenoids like peppers can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun and prevent crow’s feet and fine lines. Other antioxidant-rich foods include colorful fruits and vegetables like berries, tomatoes, apricots, beets, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, and beans. Antioxidants have tons of healthy benefits, and directly prevent free-radical damage, which causes acne and skin infection.
The Journal of Nutrition published a study in 2011 which indicates that people who drank a beverage containing green tea polyphenols every day for twelve weeks had higher elasticity in their skin. They also experienced one-quarter less sun damage when exposed to direct UV light. Green tea is full of catechins like EGCG which increase oxygen and blood flow to the skin, which delivers important nutrients and promotes healthy circulation.
It’s certainly been trendy and popular lately, but kale truly is amazing for your general health. That being said, its effects on skin are noticeable. Full of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients which absorb and neutralize free radicals generated by UV light, kale has skin-firming benefits that keep you looking young and vital. It’s also rich in Vitamin A and C, which are the most important vitamins for overall skin health.
Another antioxidant important to optimal skin health is CoQ10, or Coenzyme Q10. Your body generates it naturally, but slows in production with age. It’s important to keep your levels balanced: find it in salmon, tuna, poultry, liver, and whole-grains. You can also use topical products that contain CoQ10 to decrease fine lines and wrinkles. It works from the inside and the outside!
If you have issues with acne, a diet rich in beans can be very helpful. Kidney beans are high in zinc, which is as effective against acne as antioxidants are. If your skin tone is a little uneven or you suffer from redness, soy is a great way to calm you skin down. Soy contains minerals and proteins which have been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation and eliminate sun spots.
Here’s some good news: chocolate is great for your skin! The cocoa in chocolate is hydrates skin and contributes to firmness and suppleness. According to Nicholas Perricone, MD, “Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant.” Look for dark chocolate with 70% flavonol content, at least. A few squares a day can make your skin more luminous and clear – just be sure not to overdo it.
There are lots of easy ways to modify your diet if you’re looking to obtain clear, healthy skin. It’s important to have a nutritious and balanced diet in order to live your best life overall: glowing skin is an awesome bonus!