Everybody knows that nutrition is vital for health, but many don’t know the hidden value for your skin. However, the best foods for healthy skin simply must be a part of your weekly diet! The skin is your largest organ, and your skin depends on these powerhouse foods to stay supple and healthy over the long haul.
Your skin is considered an organ, and is by far the largest organ in the body. It is also one of the best indicators of a person’s overall health. So that alone is reason enough to take extraordinary care to protect your skin. This means eating healthy foods, using sunscreen daily, and lots of hydration.
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Skin Fun Facts
- Skin accounts for 15% of your body weight.
- Skin renews itself every 28 days.
- Pimples are not caused by diet or dirt!
- It takes the skin 20 minutes to absorb sunblock, so never apply after arriving at the beach!
- Skin is thickest on your feet, and thinnest on your eyelids.
- You shed 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells each minute.
How Does Food Affect Your Skin?
Of course, there are a few people who are just born with naturally smooth and youthful skin. However, experts agree that proper nutrition is one of the very best ways to protect and improve your skin. So whether you’re looking to boost collagens, fight wrinkles, or to have a healthier glow, pile up these foods on your plate for healthier skin.
Top 8 Best Foods for Healthy Skin
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish includes tuna, salmon, mackerel, and others. Their Omega-3 fatty acids offer many health benefits, but are also good for the skin. The fatty acids also help to fight inflammation in the body as a result of excessive exposure to sunlight and stress.
Reducing inflammation is key, as inflammation will adversely impact collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of a youthful appearance.
Eating salmon twice a week will improve the look and glow of your facial skin, and improve your overall skin health. (1)
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is said to be one of the oldest natural remedies for skin improvement. 75% of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated which plays a significant role in a youthful boost.
Monounsaturated fats protect the skin from free radical damage, which is the leading cause of aging. The fats in this oil are delicate. Thus you need to add it to warmer dishes like salads. You can also cook with it, but ensure that you’re cooking on low heat.
Another great way to take olive oil is to include a tablespoon each day with lunch or dinner. It is so healthy to take daily in raw form, and is simply wonderful for your skin (and your overall health).
Olive oil is incredibly healthy and beneficial in many ways. However, it is high in calories, so keep it in check to some extent. Like many other healthy super foods, you want to keep them under control. So similar to almonds, which have many health benefits, you don’t want to eat an unlimited amount throughout the day. If you do this, your calories will really start to stack up.
One tablespoon is approximately 120 calories. So shoot for one per day, and that is a really great guide.
Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits in the world. They are high on the list of superfoods.
They are packed full of healthy fats and should be a part of every diet. Studies have shown that avocados improve your skin and provide a more youthful appearance.
They are a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. And studies have shown that when these vitamins are consumed in tandem, they are even more effective. So a type of synergistic effect.
However, much like olive oil and almonds, avocados are a calorie-rich food. One avocado has approximately 200 calories.
So depending on your activity level, consider 1/2 avocado three days a week. And eat the other half the next day. This will help control your calories as well as help with the budget.
4. Proper Hydration
This is not a food per se, but is generally more important than even the healthiest foods! The skin requires moisture to stay healthy because skin cells contain mostly water, so proper hydration is a must.
Poor hydration over time can cause your skin to feel and look dry. That dry, leather-faced look that you sometimes see. It is therefore recommended that you drink at least 8-12 glasses of water a day.
A recent study revealed that 80% of people do not drink enough water. That is a very high number indeed. And that not only affects a person’s overall health, but also the health of their skin and overall appearance. So make sure to drink plenty of water per day. Eight or more cups for women, and 12 or more cups for men.
This is in addition to other sources of water and hydration such as juices, fruits, coffee, tea, and more. In addition to poor nutrition, improper hydration over the course of your adult life is one of the main reasons that people experience premature aging and facial wrinkles, and it’s never too late to start.
And if you’re a drinker, then you really need to focus on hydration for skin health. This is because alcohol dehydrates you, so if you drink regularly then you need to hydrate often to counter-balance the alcohol.
5. Green Tea
Green tea has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which is used to treat acne and lighten dark spots and circles under the eyes. The antioxidants found in green tea also increase blood flow, oxygen and nutrients delivered to the skin. It is even known to help greatly in weight loss! It will always be a good choice for the best foods for healthy skin.
Studies suggest that the lycopene found in tomatoes protects the skin from sun damage. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, which may help fight wrinkles. So like the foods on the list, try to incorporate tomatoes as part of your weekly diet. You can eat tomato grapes raw, include on salads, or use them in cooking. (2)
7. Dark Leafy Greens
While most leafy vegetables are very healthy to eat, the dark leafy green ones are those identified to be best in helping promote smoother and healthier skin. They get the green color from chlorophyll which is the main detoxifier in the world.
It helps the body get rid of heavy toxins which get stuck under the tissues and cause skin irritation. An example of such metals is mercury. It also reduces inflammation and promotes digestion.
Some of these leafy greens to include on a near daily basis: (3)
- Brussel sprouts
- Collard greens
8. Nuts: Walnuts and Almonds
Nuts are packed with healthy fats and should be part of any healthy diet. The healthiest nuts for your skin, as well as your overall health, are walnuts and almonds. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols.
Both walnuts and almonds are also rich in vitamin E to nourish and fortify your skin, as well as antioxidants that protect the skin from sun damage from UV rays. As with any healthy nuts, always watch the calorie intake and don’t go nuts with your nuts. They are full of healthy fats and health benefits, but can also create weight gain if too many are consumed.
A great healthy snack is to buy walnut halves and plain almonds (not smoked or salted) at your grocery, as well as a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Then put 1/8 cup of almond halves (one-half of the 1/4 cup), along with 5-10 almonds in a ziploc bag for an afternoon snack. Super healthy, and about 150 calories.
Consume These Healthy Foods Daily
If you make a daily effort to consume the best foods for healthy skin, along with other great habits like proper exercise and proper sleep, you will protect your skin and avoid premature aging and unsightly wrinkles. And even if your habits have been poor in the past, it is never too late to start as your skin will respond to healthy habits!
Click to learn more about healthy skin at any age.
- Brucculieri, J. (2018). Doctors explain why eating salmon is so damn good for your skin. HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/salmon-for-healthy-skin_n_5ad7623be4b029ebe0203596.
- The Times of India. (2017). Tomato for clear skin – times of India. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/beauty/Tomato-for-clear-skin/articleshow/7686230.cms.
- Cahn, M. (2014). 10 raw foods that are good for your skin. ELLE.