Skin juggles a demanding workload as your body’s largest organ. It not only makes a first impression, it also faces an onslaught of outside aggressors every day, like damaging sun rays and urban pollution. While daily facial cleansing encourages acne-free skin by removing dirt and oil buildup, eating foods rich in key nutrients means health from the inside out. A diet full of nuts, vegetables and fruit provides regular boosts of vitamins A, C and K, along with healthful, protective fats. Some research has suggested that certain foods containing nutrients and other bioactive compounds may help fend off age-related damage like fine lines, dark spots and acne inflammation. See which foods to start snacking on today.
1. Power Berries
Next time you make a smoothie, go heavy on the colorful berries and your skin will thank you. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid and tannins. That blend of immune-boosting ingredients encourages collagen production and limits inflammation, which means better cell turnover and brighter skin. Skin cells also need a regular boost of regenerative vitamin C, which stops dark-spot-inducing free radicals—from sun damage and dry skin—in their tracks.
2. Tomato Protection
These juicy dietary staples contain a slew of skin-protective and healing properties. They deliver a healthy dose of vitamin A, which is a crucial nutrient required for producing healthy new skin cells to replace old or damaged ones. Tomatoes also contain high levels of vitamin C, which fights off free radicals and encourages higher collagen production; meaning skin heals more efficiently and keeps age spots at bay. Tomatoes also contain lycopene and beta-carotene, both of which help protect skin against free radicals from sun damage and the resulting of dark sunspots.
3. Go Nuts
Dry skin comes with a laundry list of problems, including inflammation and skin cell damage, which can leave behind unwanted discoloration and make skin more vulnerable to breakouts. Fortunately, a healthful intake of nuts, like almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans, can give your skin a lift. These little nuggets are packed full of healthful, essential fatty acids, which help skin create a protective barrier against outside acne-inducing intruders and keep skin moist and supple. Finally, nuts deliver a punch of fiber, protein and phytosterols, which help skin to repair more effectively as it turns over.
4. Omega Nutrition
If you’re a fan of salmon, tuna and mackerel, then you get a boost of omega-3 fatty acids every time you indulge in your favorite piece of fish. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the body. They also keep skin hydrated and encourage healthy circulation. These three elements work together to keep cell turnover high and inflammation low, which reduces the appearance of dark spots. They also keep skin hydrated, which builds a natural defense against acne and discoloration.
5. Potent Produce
Glowing skin, a strong immune system and good eyesight are lurking in the grocery store’s produce section. Think of any bright orange or green produce and it probably has a high dosage of beta-carotene, which the body converts into skin-brightening vitamin A. Eating plenty of carrots, grapefruit, apricots, squash, dark greens and broccoli delivers this potent vitamin into your body, helping healthy skin cells form and providing a powerful punch of healing antioxidants.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.