The saying “you are what you eat” may be a stretch but a varied and nutritious diet is vital to fuel our bodies and that extends to our biggest organ - our skin!
A staggering 3 billion of you have searched for “what to eat for healthy skin” and our food choices are certainly a major focus in achieving bright, resilient and youthful skin. However, with a market full of supplements claiming to solve all manner of skin concerns, it can be challenging to know which way to turn.
My winning formula is to always bring your attention back to a nutritionally dense diet with real food that your body thrives on. So let’s go back to basics with a list of the best foods for healthy skin to incorporate into your meals so you can look and feel your best from the inside out!
Best Foods For Healthy Skin - Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a great source of beta carotene, lutein and lycopene which are powerful antioxidants and have been shown to protect the skin from UV damage. While that doesn’t mean skipping your daily sunscreen, the skin protective element from tomatoes is certainly a plus.
Tomatoes also have a water content, so this boosts your skin’s hydration levels. Drinking plenty of fluids is important for hydration but as much as 20% of our intake also comes from food so drinking water-rich fruit and vegetables is highly beneficial.
Best Food For Glowing Skin - Carrots
Carrots are full of beta-carotene which is a precursor to skin-favourite vitamin A which affects nearly every cellular process in both our epidermis and dermis. Vitamin A is fundamental for skin health when used topically in your retinoid but it’s important to get that internally too for its antioxidant benefits.
Best Food for Healthy Skin - Peppers
Peppers are loaded with Vitamin C which is an essential vitamin for creating functional collagen which keeps your skin firm and resilient. As a powerful antioxidant, incorporating regular vitamin C into your diet is crucial.
Best Food For Dry Skin - Olive Oil
Olive oil, often referred to as liquid gold, has been linked to a plethora of health and skin benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamins which supports skin health and calms inflammation. Where possible, opt for extra virgin olive oil which is the most nutrient dense and drizzle over salads or vegetables for an easy dose of resilience and anti-inflammatory goodness.
Best Food For Skin Hydration - Salmon
Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, are packed with essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which replenish your skin's natural oil barrier and help to combat dryness and a dull, lacklustre complexion. Research suggests that omega-3 also has anti-inflammatory properties which will help to calm the skin.
If you’re suffering with breakouts, salmon contains trace elements like selenium, which is an anti-inflammatory and may prove helpful in those prone to acne.
Best Food For Skin Health - Sweet Potato
Have it baked or mashed, sweet potato is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Beta carotene (a vitamin A precursor) and vitamin A itself, fight discoloration and early signs of aging in the skin by supporting healthy skin renewal. Vitamin E supports your skin’s collagen and antioxidants fight inflammation-related skin damage. Dr Sam swears by them as one of the healthiest carbs you can eat!
Best Food For Glowing Skin - Avocados
A brunch favourite, avocados contain high levels of healthy oils and vitamin E, both of which provide the building blocks for healthy skin cell function as well as help improve barrier function and hydration. Have them mashed on toast, in a salad or sliced on top of a nourishing buddha bowl.
Best Food For Youthful Skin - Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and swiss chard provide the body with vitamin A which is essential for healthy skin cells; vitamin C, which helps undo the sun's damage to collagen and elastin; and vitamin E, which helps fight against inflammation. Furthermore, leafy greens are also rich in folate, a nutrient necessary for DNA repair. They can be a great base of your favourite salad or even added to smoothies if you’re on-the-go.
Best Food For Healthier-Looking Skin - Chia seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of omega-3s which provide an anti-inflammatory effect and can protect the skin from inflammatory conditions, like eczema. They’re also high in protein which is the foundation of healthy skin structure - think of chia seeds as propping up the scaffolding of your skin! Finally, being a soluble fibre, chia seeds can help keep the gut healthy, which may boost healthy probiotic balance in the gut and ultimately the skin. Make a chia pudding for a healthy treat, sprinkle on salads or add to a smoothie.
Best Superfood For Healthy Skin - Green tea
The superfood that always makes its way into so many skincare products, green tea contains polyphenols which are a powerful antioxidant. Benefits include helping to slow DNA damage, arresting inflammation, and even protecting against sun damage and sunburn. Keep life simple by just putting the kettle on and ingesting it directly so it can deliver its immediate anti-inflammatory qualities while working toward lasting results.
Hopefully that’s given you some food for thought and inspiration for things to regularly include in your diet. The excellent news is that eating for skin health also benefits your body as a whole so not only will your complexion be glowing, you’ll be bursting with energy too!