You spend money on lotions, creams, and serums that promise to make your skin glow, but the real secret to healthy skin may be in your refrigerator. The foods you eat play a role in your skin's appearance and overall health, so read on to discover the best foods for healthy skin.
Every day, your body rebuilds itself with the foods you eat, and skin is no exception. Your skin is constantly renewing itself, building new layers from the nutrients you consume and shedding old cells. While lotions and creams may treat dryness from the outside, good nutrition is key to creating healthy skin from the inside out.
Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist in New York City, explains, "Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look."
The best foods for healthy skin are rich in the following essential nutrients. Try incorporating these foods into your diet, and watch your skin start to glow.
You've heard it before, but we'll say it again: drink water! Your skin cells rely on proper hydration to expel toxins and bring nutrients in. Being hydrated also enables you to sweat efficiently and clean the skin.
"It is my belief that our skin needs at least a half gallon of good clean water—that's about eight glasses—every day," says nutrition expert Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN. But don't run out and buy expensive bottled water—according to Lipski, the minerals in hard water are preferable. "A water softener may help your plumbing," she says, "but it's hard water that is better for your health."
According to Thom Rogers, a dermatology teacher at Bastyr University in Seattle, "If you increase your essential fatty acids intake, it's going to improve skin health by creating healthy epithelial cells, which shed without causing inflammation."
Omega 3 and omega 6 are the best known essential fatty acids, and they play an important role in heart, brain, and skin health. The following foods are particularly good sources of omega 3, which most people don't get enough of:
If you have trouble eating enough of the above foods, consider taking fish oil supplements that are high in omega 3s.
Antioxidants promote healthy skin by helping your skin cells fight off damaging free radicals and toxins.
"Free radicals--like the kind formed from sun exposure--damage the membrane of skin cells, potentially allowing damage to the DNA of that cell," says Heller. "When you help protect the cells from damage and disintegration, you also guard against premature aging."
The following foods are particularly high in antioxidants that may keep skin looking younger, longer:
Stocking your kitchen with antioxidant-rich foods should improve your overall health while giving your skin a healthy glow.
Selenium is a mineral that protects skin against sun damage. According to trials done at Edinburgh University, skin cells high in selenium were less likely to suffer the oxidative damage associated with an increased risk of cancer. Selenium can be found in the following foods:
According to Lipski, eating whole grains can also benefit skin by avoiding insulin spikes, which can cause inflammation and eventually breakouts.
We all know vitamins are good for us, but Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University, explains how they benefit our skin:
"Research has shown that the antioxidants in vitamins C and E can protect the skin from sun damage and help reduce damage in skin cells caused by harmful free radicals, which contribute to aging skin. Similarly, we have long known that the B vitamin biotin is responsible for forming the basis of skin, hair and nail cells, and vitamin A...maintains and repairs skin tissue."
These vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods, but they are especially concentrated in:
While consuming vitamins through your food is the best way to absorb them, taking a multi-vitamin once a day can act as insurance to make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs.
Glowing skin reflects a healthy body, so stock up on the above foods and get healthy from the inside out.
About Our Savvy Advisor: Jessica Hanley
Jessica Hanley is a writer living in California. She loves to be outside, has no patience for expensive skin care regimens, and always wears sunscreen.