When most people think of skincare, all the moisturizers and topical treatments come to mind. It’s not only what you put on your skin that counts. Nutrition is actually very important for skin health. Your diet has a big impact on your body inside and out, and it’s important to know which foods can promote healthy skin. The good news is, most of them are common and the list even includes chocolate.
Scientists are learning more and more about the effects of diet on skin aging. So if you want your skin looking and feeling younger for longer, it’s better to pay attention to these studies. Certain foods contain the vitamins and nutrients to protect your skin against UV rays and premature aging. There are also foods which contain compounds that mimic estrogen and can treat symptoms of the menopause.
What you eat can have positive effects on your skin. Here are some examples of the top ten foods for healthy skin.
Avocado is a great source of what is known as “healthy fats”. These fats are very beneficial for the health of your skin. To keep your skin supple and moisturized, you need to make sure you get enough of these fats. So, if you want fresh looking, springy skin for longer, eat avocado.
Avocado is also high in vitamin E which is an antioxidant. It protects your skin from oxidative damage, which can cause premature aging. There have also been studies that show avocado contains compounds that protect your skin from sun damage. This also prevents premature aging and wrinkles.
Fatty fish include mackerel, salmon, and herring. These are rich in omega 3 which has many benefits and promotes skin health. Omega 3 fatty acids, similar to healthy fats, keep your skin thick, flexible, and hydrated. It’s important to get enough omega 3 especially if you have dry skin.
Omega 3 fats also reduce inflammation which can cause acne. Anti-inflammatory foods and medicines are the best treatments for acne. For more information, here is a Definitive guide to hormonal acne. Fatty fish also contains vitamin E which is an antioxidant and antiinflammatory.
Walnuts have many benefits that make them healthy skin food. They’re rich in omega 3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation in your body. Walnuts have a good ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They also contain other nutrients that are good for your skin.
Walnuts are a source of zinc which aids your skin in functioning as a barrier and helps with wound healing and fighting bacteria and inflammation. Zinc has many benefits for your skin including lowering inflammation, treating skin lesions, decreasing signs of aging, decreasing acne, and protecting against UV rays. Zinc oxide is actually a natural sunscreen.
The super-nutrient found in sweet potatoes is beta carotene. This is also found in oranges, carrots, and spinach. Beta carotene functions as provitamin A, therefore it can be converted into vitamin A in your body. Sweet potatoes contain a high amount of beta carotene. One serving can provide six times the daily value you need.
Beta carotene is another example of natural sunscreen. When you digest it it’s incorporated into your skin cells which protects them against sunburn, cell death, dry skin, and wrinkles. It also gives your skin a warm healthy glow.
Broccoli is packed with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your skin. These include vitamin A, zinc, and vitamin C. Broccoli also contains a carotenoid called lutein, which behaves in a similar way to beta carotene. Lutein also combats oxidative damage which causes premature skin aging.
Another nutrient broccoli contains is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is reported to potentially have anti-cancer effects, and can product your body against certain types of skin cancer. Studies have shown that broccoli sprout containing sulforaphane may inhibit ultra-violet radiation-induced damage and tumor progression in the skin. It works by reducing the number of skin cells killed by harmful UV rays. Who would have thought broccoli was such an effective sunscreen?
Red or yellow bell peppers
Like sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers contain a high amount of your daily beta carotene. Your body converts this into vitamin A which has many benefits for skin health. A cup of pepper contains a whopping 156% of your daily value of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to speed up healing, prevent breakouts, and boost the skin’s immune system.
Red and yellow bell peppers are also one of the best sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is very important in skincare because it helps your body produce collagen. Collagen helps maintain skin health and keep it strong and firm for longer. Collagen also helps reduce the signs of wrinkles. Bell peppers contain 211% of your daily value of vitamin C in just one portion. If you like peppers, this is a great sign for your skin, and you’ll keep it younger for longer.
Soy contains an interesting category of plant compounds known as isoflavones. These can actually mimic or block estrogen in your body and have several benefits for your skin. Isoflavones can improve your skin’s elasticity. They also reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles.
Soy may also increase the production of collagen in postmenopausal women, thus improving skin dryness and helping to keep skin firm and strong. Isoflavones also protect your skin from UV damage and this may lead to the prevention of certain types of skin cancer.
In fact, soy is often recommended as a treatment for menopause. Once in your body soy isoflavones bind to the same receptors as estrogen. When they mimic estrogen, they may well help to reduce hot flashes and other negative symptoms of menopause.
You must have seen plenty of cocoa butter skincare products on the shelves. This is because cocoa actually has many benefits for healthy skin. Cacao powder is a famous antioxidant which can lead to thicker, more hydrated skin. If dark chocolate is your favorite, then you’re in luck as this contains the highest percentage of cocoa powder.
In fact, studies have shown that if you eat high-antioxidant chocolate this could allow your skin to cope with twice as much UV radiation compared to when you eat low-antioxidant chocolate. If you want to maximize the skin benefits of chocolate, opt for one that is 70% cocoa and low in sugar.
Research has shown that green tea may be beneficial in reducing sebum secretion and in treatment for acne. Since stress is of often the cause of acne, especially in adults, perhaps a nice relaxing cup of tea can help. It’s one of the proven ways to reduce stress.
There are also powerful compounds found in green tea known as catechins. These directly affect the skin by activating collagen synthesis. They also protect your body against free radicals as antioxidants and help to defend your skin against those UV rays.
Green tea may help to reduce redness from sun exposure, and also helps to hydrate your skin. It helps to keep your skin moisturized, elastic, and thick. One thing to point out is that it’s better to drink it without milk. There has been evidence showing that milk could reduce the effects of green tea as an antioxidant.
So now what you need to do to protect your skin, is to enjoy a nice cup of tea with some dark chocolate. Treat yourself to a fresh avocado salad and give your skin a nutritious meal.