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10 Best Foods for Healthy Skin

By Ben S. | 31st May 2017
With summer almost upon us, the health of your skin is more important than ever. A lot of people forget that skin is an organ, and that it is directly affected by what’s in your diet. Healthy skin is vitally important and can be affected by a variety of factors such as; poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, smoking and the natural ageing process.
The health of your skin is a pretty good indicator of what your overall health is like on the inside. Keeping your skin healthy, strong and clean is a good step towards making sure the rest of your body is too, and it shouldn’t have to be expensive. Here are the 10 best foods for healthy skin to add to your diet today.
 

Fish

Oily fish such as mackerel, herring and sardines may be able to do wonders for your skin. Oily fish contain very high concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids which help to keep your skin strong, healthy and radiant.
 
Oily fish also contain a lot of vitamin E, which is one of the most important antioxidants to protect skin cells from ‘free-radical’ molecules. These aggressive molecules may harm the structural integrity of your skin cells through a process called oxidation. Oxidations can cause redness, irritation and inflammation to occur on the surface of your skin, and may well lead to the development of wrinkles. By incorporating more omega 3 fatty acids into your diet, you can begin to help towards combating this problem.
 
Medical experts around the world preach the benefits of adding more oily fish to your diet. It is claimed that you need to include 2 portions of oily fish to your diet a week. However, budgets and accessibility can often hinder your ability to meet these recommendations. Specially designed Omega 3 supplements are a readily available source which may act as a more convenient way of introducing more fatty acids to your body to help promote healthy skin. Your diet, however, should always take priority before looking into supplementation.
 

tomatoes for skin healthTomatoes

Combating free radicals and oxidative damage is very important to help skin health. This means you need plenty of antioxidants to defend all the cells in your body from the potential threat of free radicals.
 
Tomatoes contain unbelievably high levels of many different antioxidants. Lycopene is an incredibly potent antioxidant that has even been reported to be able to help boost your natural SPF (sun protection factor), to defend your body from harmful UV rays. Lycopene may also be able to boost natural collagen production. Collagen is a protein that plays a very important role in maintaining structure throughout the body. It is found in every cell of your body and helps to provide strength, suppleness and youthful appearance to your skin.
 
Being a fruit, tomatoes naturally contain a lot of different vitamins and minerals that can support healthy skin. Vitamins A and C, two other antioxidants, work in conjunction with Lycopene to fight free radicals. Vitamin E is also present, working to neutralise free radicals and safeguard cell membranes from oxidative damage.
 

Dark Chocolate

This one might surprise you, but we are very happy to be able to say that eating chocolate is actually good for you... in moderation. A few squares of dark chocolate with a cocoa level of at least 70% a day may be able to help promote healthy skin.  
 
The cocoa content in chocolate is known to hydrate skin, which helps to increase firmness and suppleness of skin. Dark chocolate has fantastic flavonol content, which is an antioxidant that may help to eliminate rough patches from the surface of your skin. 
 
Dark chocolate is a popular food to help skin health because of the benefits it can provide even when you are dealing with a lot of stress. The stress hormone cortisol can play havoc with your skin, especially by causing dryness and collagen damage through a process called glycation. It may also be able to neutralise these issues by lowering stress hormones before they are able to show signs on your skin.
 
Although dark chocolate is good for your skin, it is incredibly important not to run away with the idea that more chocolate means more results. Moderation is the key to this particular food, and having too much may lead to other skin problems as a result of other ingredients. Keeping dark chocolate as a small treat, paired with a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential.
 

blueberries for skin healthBlueberries

Blueberries are renowned throughout the world for their nutritional benefits for all different areas of health. Categorised as a ‘super food’, blueberries consist of a variety of great vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The unique colouration of blueberries comes from the presence of compounds called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that help support your skin cells from free radical damage and are particularly suited to help prevent premature ageing.
 
Blueberries contain a range of beneficial vitamins and minerals, which help to aid cellular repair and maintenance in skin cells. 100g of blueberries can contain around 9.7mg of natural, pure vitamin C, a very popular and well-known antioxidant that is not produced naturally in the body. Vitamin C is directly involved with collagen production in the body, so make sure you get enough each day.
 
Try introducing blueberries as small, regular snacks throughout the day to ensure your body and skin receive the maximum nutrients possible. Blueberries also make for a great smoothie ingredient, so try experimenting to find the best way of adding them to your diet.
 

Walnuts

Walnuts provide the same kind of nutritional skin support as fish; they contain great levels of omega 3 fatty acids that help to fight free radical molecules. The omega 3 polyunsaturated fat content of walnuts may help to promote elasticity of your skin. They are not produced naturally in your body so you have to intake them through either diet or supplementation.
 
Healthy skin is also amplified through the intake of walnuts thanks to the large presence of minerals like copper and zinc. Extremely beneficial to skin care, copper helps to support and boost natural collagen production, which provides structure and strength to skin layers. Zinc is an essential mineral which plays a very important role in maintaining wound-healing abilities to protect skin from potential infections and bacteria.
 
Walnuts make a healthy and nutritious snack food that can be taken throughout the day to help keep your skin strong and supported throughout the day. These particular health benefits are not exclusive to walnuts, so almonds and hazelnuts may be substituted if you don’t like walnuts.
 
Be wary however, alongside Omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids are also present, and can not be good for your health. Omega 6 fatty acids can promote inflammation, but the good ratio present within walnuts means that the effects are counteracted by omega 3 fatty acids. By keeping your intake down to the recommended healthy levels, you may begin to see skin care results soon. 
 

red wine for skin healthRed Wine

Just like chocolate, you might be delighted to hear that red wine has made the list. However, in the same way as dark chocolate, red wine is only good for your skin if you drink it in moderation alongside a healthy diet complete with other vitamins and minerals. If you already enjoy regular alcoholic beverages, switching to red wine could do your skin a lot of favours.
 
Red wine is made with grapes, which contain high concentrations of a compound called Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that can be found in the skin of grapes and helps to neutralise the production of free radicals in your body. Through these benefits, Resveratrol is believed to help combat and decrease signs of premature ageing.
 
Resveratrol really is the key here, so if you don’t enjoy red wine there are always specially designed Resveratrol supplements that can be taken to ensure your skin receives great-quality nutrients without any added alcoholic or calorie content. 
 

Peppers

Peppers are an incredibly underrated food for your health. Whenever we think of vitamin C we immediately go to fruits like oranges due to their high concentrations of this very important vitamin, and rightfully so. Peppers, however, are often left out of the spotlight when they could make a fantastic addition to your diet.
 
Bell peppers, in particular, are a fantastic source of vitamin C, being one of the best natural sources available. Just fewer than 150g of bell peppers may be able to offer over 300% of your daily recommended need. Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants needed in your body to help fight free-radical molecules and to help with the creation of new collagen cells in the body.
 
By introducing red and yellow peppers to some of your meals, you can increase your body’s intake of another compound called Beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a red-yellow pigment that helps to support the lining of skin cells, promoting healthy, smooth and strong skin. Vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant, can be found in high quantities in Beta-carotene.
 
broccoli for skin health

Broccoli

Despite what you might think of broccoli and its taste, the nutritional content it possesses can be extremely beneficial to help support and maintain healthy skin. One of the best antioxidants you could need, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), is present in broccoli and may be able to help reduce fine lines and puffiness of your skin.
 
Alongside ALA, you can expect to find very high concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin C, Zinc and Lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid that works similarly to beta-carotene and protects the skin from oxidative damage caused by dangerous free-radical molecules. This damage may result in dry skin and wrinkles, so increasing your intake of broccoli may be able to combat these problems directly.
 
With warmer weather on the way, broccoli’s main claim to fame comes from the high levels of sulforaphane, a chemical that helps to protect the skin against harmful UV rays from the sun.
 
Broccoli is very polarising, people either love it or hate it. If you struggle with broccoli, try starting off by including small amounts into recipes to help adjust to the taste and texture. Try looking for new, alternative cooking methods to see if you can find something that better suits your taste buds, allowing you to enjoy the nutritional content of broccoli without any unnecessary trouble.

 

Avocado

Avocado has risen to new heights of popularity in the past couple of years due to the nutritional content it holds, as well as its usage in a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Avocado possesses a lot of great polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly Oleic Acid, that help to ensure the outer layers of skin are regularly moisturised, leading to increased flexibility.
 
Avocado is also a great source of vitamin E, which helps to promote younger looking skin by combating effects the natural ageing process can have on your appearance such as wrinkles. Introducing avocado to your diet ensures your body receives high concentrations of natural vitamin C to help promote collagen production and healthy skin.
 
We have included avocado on this list because of how easy it is to use as an ingredient. Very little time or effort is needed to prepare the fruit, so you can easily add avocado to your morning toast or lunchtime sandwich to make your meals extra healthy. Possessing a neutral taste, you might find avocado to be easily agreeable with not only your taste buds but also some of your favourite recipes too.
 

tomatoes for skin healthBeef

Beef is a great source of protein, a nutrient that is essential for the creation of both collagen and elastin. These two compounds help to give your skin strength, texture and tone, so make sure you keep your skin as healthy as possible by regularly incorporating beef into your diet.
 
The key to supporting your skin with beef is to remember that the better quality beef, the better results you may experience. Choosing more organic, grass-fed beef may prove to be more beneficial for your skin (and overall health) when compared to cheaper cuts that come from other sources.
 
Organic beef usually comes from cows that have had a better quality of life, where the animals are able to get a range of great nutrients from the food they eat, as well as regular exercise that leads to stronger, leaner muscles. Grass-fed beef is also usually always a lot more ethical, so we would always encourage you to choose organic over battery reared beef.
Beef is a very accessible ingredient that comes with the added benefit of being used in a variety of different recipes and cuisines. Try reducing cooking times to ensure as few nutrients are lost to heat as possible.

 

Let your skin shine this summer

How you feel on the outside is almost always attributed to what’s going on inside your body. By incorporating some (or all) of the best 10 foods for healthy skin to your diet, alongside regular exercise and plenty of water, you could begin to see some serious changes to your skin’s health and appearance. Make sure you get into the habit of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle to ensure you experience regular positive changes far into the future.

 
Article by Ben S.

Ben Staff is a university trained journalist who specialises in writing and creating online content, with a specific interest in researching media coverage of health and nutritional topics. An outdoorsman at heart that enjoys hiking and mountaineering, he dreams of one day following in his heroes’ footsteps by climbing Mount Everest.

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