There are countless products for skin care: moisturizers, cleansers, face masks, lotions, those strips you put on your nose to pull out blackheads…the list is seemingly ENDLESS! But if you’re eating the right foods, you can definitely make a difference in how your skin looks, without having to use cream, tonic or exfoliating beads to do so.
Eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains is the best way to get the food you need for healthy skin – hey, when does eating a balanced diet of good, healthy food NOT help you? However, there are certain foods that are more likely to help give you a glowing complexion:
1. Vitamin A: Dry, scaly skin suffers from a deficiency in vitamin A – it’s also what can cause breakouts for the acne prone. Since vitamin A is crucial to healthy skin, it’s best to eat a variety of foods containing this valuable vitamin. Low-fat yogurts, sweet potatoes, low-fat milk and egg yolks are great sources of vitamin A, as well as leafy greens like spinach and kale, broccoli and carrots.
2. Antioxidants: Blueberries, strawberries, plums, cranberries, blackberries – whatever your choice of antioxidant, consuming more of them can help your skin. Free radicals, which can form due to sun exposure or environmental toxins like pollution, can damage the membrane of skin cells. The phytochemicals in antioxidants can help protect these cells and prevent damage, as well as protect against premature aging. In other words, eating these fruits is not only good for your overall health, but also can keep your skin looking younger for longer!
3. Fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (particularly omega-3s), like the kind found in salmon, canola oil, flaxseed and walnuts, contribute to healthy cell membranes and protect against damaging skin cells. By doing so, they help nutrients pass through the cell. Cell membranes also hold water, which means that the stronger the cell is, the more your skin retains moisture.
4. Cold-pressed and extra virgin oils. These healthy oils, like olive oil, help keep your skin lubricated and looking healthier. When oils are prepared through pressing or expelling, you keep all the essential nutrients you need, unlike commercially processed oils that strip it away. Be warned – oils are high in calories, so you don’t need more than two tablespoons a day.
5. Selenium. The mineral selenium plays a critical role in healthy skin cells, as it guards the elasticity of your skin. Go for turkey, tuna, Brazil nuts, oysters, mushrooms and sunflower seeds to add this mineral to your diet.
What about beverages? Green tea is an excellent choice, as it has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risks associated with ultraviolet light damage. In addition to its obvious health benefits, water is the real winner when it comes to hydrating and keeping your skin looking young and healthy.
Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages are dehydrating and can dry out your skin. To stay adequately hydrated, make sure to drink eight glasses of water a day for healthy skin.
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Carrot Photo via color line’s Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons
Strawberries Photo via Sara Alfred’s Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons
Salmon Photo via Maggie Hoffman’s Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons
Olives Photo via jasonlam’s Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons
Brazil Nuts Photo via Satoru Kikuchi’s Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons