The 6 Best Foods for Healthy Skin

The 6 Best Foods for Healthy Skin

Nutrition is important for health. An unhealthy diet can damage your metabolism, cause weight gain and even hurt organs, such as your heart and liver.

But what you eat also impacts another organ — your skin.

As scientists learn more about diet and the body, it’s increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin.

This article takes a look at 12 of the best foods for keeping your skin healthy.

1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health (1).

Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to keep skin thick, supple and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats can cause dry skin (1, 2Trusted Source).

The omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Some studies show that fish oil supplements may fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions affecting your skin, such as psoriasis and lupus (4Trusted Source).

Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation (5Trusted Source).

This type of seafood is also a source of high-quality protein, which is needed for maintaining the strength and integrity of your skin (5Trusted Source).

Lastly, fish provides zinc — a mineral vital for regulating inflammation, the production of new skin cells and overall skin health. Zinc deficiency can lead to skin inflammation, lesions and delayed wound healing (6Trusted Source).

SUMMARY
Fatty types of fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation and keep skin moisturized. They’re also a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin E and zinc.
2. Avocados
Avocados are high in healthy fats. These fats benefit many functions in your body, including the health of your skin (7Trusted Source).

Getting enough of these fats is essential to keep skin flexible and moisturized.

One study in over 700 women found that a high intake of total fat — specifically the types of healthy fats found in avocados — was associated with more supple, springy skin (8Trusted Source).

Preliminary evidence also shows that avocados contain compounds that may protect your skin from sun damage. UV damage to your skin can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E through their diet.

Interestingly, vitamin E seems to be more effective when combined with vitamin C (5Trusted Source).

Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin. Your skin needs it to create collagen, which is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy (10Trusted Source).

A deficiency in vitamin C is rare these days, but common symptoms include dry, rough and scaly skin that tends to bruise easily.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage — caused by the sun and the environment — which can lead to signs of aging (10Trusted Source).

A 100-gram serving, or about 1/2 an avocado, provides 10% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin E and 17% of the RDI for vitamin C (11).

SUMMARY
Avocados are high in beneficial fats and contain vitamins E and C, which are important for healthy skin. They also pack compounds that may protect your skin from sun damage.

3. Walnuts
Walnuts have many characteristics that make them an excellent food for healthy skin.

They are a good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that your body cannot make itself.

In fact, they’re richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (12, 13Trusted Source).

A diet too high in omega-6 fats may promote inflammation, including inflammatory conditions of your skin like psoriasis. On the other hand, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in your body — including in your skin (13Trusted Source).

While omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in the Western diet, sources of omega-3 fatty acids are rare. Because walnuts contain a good ratio of these fatty acids, they may fight the inflammatory response to excessive omega-6.

What’s more, walnuts contain other nutrients that your skin needs to function properly and stay healthy.

One ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains 6% of the RDI for zinc, which is essential for your skin to function properly as a barrier, as well as necessary for wound healing and combatting both bacteria and inflammation (14Trusted Source).

Walnuts also provide small amounts of the antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium, in addition to 4–5 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams) (12).

SUMMARY
Walnuts are a good source of essential fats, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium and protein — all of which are nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy.
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4. Sunflower Seeds
In general, nuts and seeds are good sources of skin-boosting nutrients.

Sunflower seeds are an excellent example.

One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds packs 37% of the RDI for vitamin E, 32% of the RDI for selenium, 10% of the RDI for zinc and 5.4 grams of protein (15).

SUMMARY
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of nutrients, including vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant for the skin.

5. Sweet Potatoes
Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in plants.

It functions as provitamin A, which means it can be converted into vitamin A in your body.

Beta-carotene is found in oranges and vegetables such as carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes (5Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source — one 1/2-cup serving (100 grams) of baked sweet potato contains enough beta-carotene to provide nearly four times the RDI of vitamin A (17).

Carotenoids like beta-carotene keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock.

When consumed, this antioxidant is incorporated into your skin and protects your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, cell death and dry, wrinkled skin.

Interestingly, high amounts of beta-carotene may also add a warm, orange color to your skin, contributing to an overall healthier appearance (5Trusted Source).

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