When it comes to your skin health, the common saying is true: you are what you eat. Dietary intake can affect acne breakouts, skin inflammation, and physical signs of aging (like wrinkles). Nourished skin on the outside starts with a nourished body on the inside. Here, we’ve broken down the types of foods you should incorporate into your diet for clear, healthy skin.
Healthy fats like monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids help maintain the skin’s natural oil barrier. This oil barrier that surrounds cells keeps your skin supple and well-hydrated. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids and other good fats have other skin benefits as well. They are high in Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that protects the skin against free radical damage and sun damage. Oxidative stress from environmental pollutants and the sun can cause premature wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. Fatty acids also aid in fighting inflammation and skin redness for people with acne or inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.
Nuts and seeds are another excellent source of healthy fats. In addition to essential fatty acids, many nuts and seeds contain minerals like zinc and selenium. Zinc helps regulate oil production in the skin to prevent acne breakouts. Both minerals are antioxidants that protect the skin from free radical damage.
Eat this: Salmon, herring, mackerel, olive oil, avocados, walnuts, brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds
Micronutrient-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Whole, fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that keep your skin healthy and glowing. Vitamins C and E are particularly beneficial for skin health and they work best when combined. Vitamin C is necessary to produce collagen, the protein that gives skin its shape and structure. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can shield skin from the sun and protect it from UV ray damage.
Foods that contain phytonutrients called carotenoids are also necessary for good skin health. Carotenoids act as a natural sunblock and can reduce the number of skin cells damaged or destroyed by UV rays. Some carotenoids – like beta-carotene – are also converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that has wrinkle-reducing and other anti-aging properties.
Eat this: leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, berries, and citrus fruits
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Good skin health starts in the gut. The gut microbiome describes the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live inside the intestines and on the skin. The gut microbiome is your brain’s most trusted advisor – it’s connected physically to the brain through the enteric nervous system (ENS) and it sends messages to your brain about the health of your body. Your gut is connected to every function in your body. If you have gut inflammation from an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, you’ll suffer from skin inflammation as well. Probiotics are the good bacteria that your gut needs, and prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria.
Eat this: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and prebiotics like dandelion greens, garlic, onions, asparagus, apples, and flaxseeds
Low Glycemic Index Foods
Refined and processed starches and sugars can cause inflammation and acne breakouts. Instead, eat whole grains and good sources of proteins, which stabilize your blood sugar and also contain vitamins and minerals that promote good skin health. Whole grains are packed full of selenium, zinc, magnesium, and B Vitamins. Protein-packed eggs also contain amino acids that support cell growth, and iron that helps deliver fresh oxygenated blood to skin cells.
Eat this: whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and good proteins like lean meats and eggs
End With a Little Something Sweet
A healthy diet wouldn’t be complete without a little something sweet – nibble on dark chocolate when you get a sugar craving. Not only will dark chocolate satisfy your sweet tooth, but it’s packed full of antioxidants that will help protect your skin against free radical damage.
At Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers, our medical professionals are experts in the field of skin, nail, and hair conditions. If you are ready to schedule your free consultation, contact one of our ten convenient office locations today.