What we put into our bodies eventually is reflected in our skin. After all, the skin is just like any other part of your body: treat it well, and it will reward you with health and longevity. It makes sense, then, that nutrient-rich foods enhance your skin’s natural, healthy glow. Here are ten of those foods, ranging from greens to fruit to fish and chocolate. Bon appetit!
Turmeric, the spice that gives curry its bold and delicious flavor, is a staple in many South Asian dishes. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it’s been lauded as a medicinal food for thousands of years in India. It also possesses a handful of skincare perks; because it’s so effective at fighting inflammation, turmeric can soothe red and acne-prone skin. On top of that, turmeric stimulates tissue and collagen regeneration, keeping the skin firm and smooth. But best of all, turmeric’s antioxidant properties promote a natural, healthy glow. When topically applied, turmeric is often used under the eyes and as a dark spot treatment.
II. Fatty Fish
Think salmon, herring, and mackerel — these naturally fatty fish are loaded with omega-3s, which are important for maintaining the skin’s health. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in keeping the skin hydrated, which gives it a glowing and radiant complexion. What’s more, omega-3s can also help reduce inflammation, targeting acne and redness, as well as other skin conditions like lupus and psoriasis.
III. Walnuts and Pecans
Like fish, walnuts and pecans are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also packed full of vitamin E, zinc, and potassium, all of which are essential to glowing skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights free radicals and protects against cell damage, while zinc is a natural element that shields the skin from external aggressors like UV rays and bacteria. Potassium is known for smoothing the skin and reducing signs of aging, given its ability to keep the skin moisturized.
Tomatoes contain a powerful carotenoid called lycopene, which protects against UV radiation and neutralizes harmful free radicals. In fact, tomatoes contain every single kind of carotenoid, a class of plant pigments that act as powerful antioxidants in the human body. Paired with a healthy fat, such as cheese, olive oil, or fish, tomatoes pack a real glow-enhancing punch — fats increase your body’s absorption of carotenoids!
V. Red grapes
Red grapes are a reservoir for resveratrol, a compound that is known to reduce the appearance of aging. Resveratrol fights off free radicals, harmful molecules that damage cells and lead to dark spots and wrinkles, among other health concerns.
VI. Dark chocolate
Your guilty pleasure may not be so guilty after all! Dark chocolate contains tons of antioxidants that contribute to plump, hydrated skin. Antioxidants found in cocoa have also been studied to increase blood flow, which delivers more nutrients to the skin, as well as shield the skin from damaging UV rays.
VII. Green tea
This may be a case for switching out your morning coffee with green tea; like most of the foods on this list, it's also loaded with antioxidants. Green tea also helps the skin retain its moisture, thickness, and elasticity while evening out its texture. What’s more, green tea possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well, which helps with skin irritations like redness, acne, and eczema.
Kale (and most other leafy greens, for that matter) is a powerhouse of carotene compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which hydrate skin cells and protect them from external damage. It’s also loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. One cup of kale contains 206% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A, which is vital for repairing skin tissue, as well as Vitamins K and C, which can correct dark spots and keep wrinkles at bay.
IX. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, which helps stimulate collagen production. Collagen is an essential protein that binds the skin cells and keeps skin looking tight and youthful. Vitamin C is also revered for its ability to visibly brighten the skin, offering a naturally radiant complexion.
X. Sweet Potatoes
A fall favorite (and excellent in the form of French fries, we might add), sweet potatoes have truly earned their title as a superfood. They’re packed with nutrients like Vitamins A, C, and B6, protein, fiber, and, yes, you guessed it, more antioxidants. Pro tip: leave the skin on the potato to enjoy the full benefits of this robust and delicious root vegetable!