Any artist begins with a clean canvas. In a similar way, we want to start with a clean, healthy canvas – our skin! – before we start creating a masterpiece. But “pretty” is more than just skin-deep; rather, it starts with what we put into our bodies. Nutrition plays a key role in the health of our skin. Most experts say eating a balanced diet is the best way to get your share of good food for healthy skin. Here are a few specific foods that are more likely than others to add a dose of glowing good health to your complexion:
1. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. What is in common with these four fruits? They all have a high antioxidant content, which have plenty of benefits for your skin. According to Dr. Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist at NYU Medical Center, “free radicals — like the kind formed from sun exposure — damage the membrane of skin cells, potentially allowing damage to the DNA of that cell. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the cell, so there is less chance for damage.”
“When you help protect the cells from damage and disintegration, you also guard against premature aging. In this respect, these fruits may very well help keep your skin younger looking longer,” says Heller. Eat blueberries to prevent premature aging? Yes please!
Photo courtesy of Wishful Thinking
2. Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flax Seed. Fatty acids are essential to keep cells healthy and the membrane functioning. Healthy skin cells have healthy membranes, which keep good things in (i.e. water and nutrients) and allows waste products to pass out. It is a fatty acid’s job to keep those cells healthy. Not getting enough essential amino acids results in unstable membranes that can’t keep their buoyant shape, which results in saggy, aged skin. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega 3 and omega 6, which can be found in the foods listed above.
3. Whole Grains carry a lot of antioxidants, which as we touched before, is great for the skin. They also stabilize blood sugar, prevent insulin spikes and help fight acne. Check to make sure a product is high in fiber and low in sugar when you’re perusing the grocery store aisles for whole grain products, like cereals and breads. Also, opting for ancient grains like quinoa is a healthy option that will keep your body healthy and your skin glowing.
4. Green Tea has tons of great benefits for the skin! Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that helps pimples from popping out, along with overall skin health. Green tea can also reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet light (like the burning rays of the sun), which thus reduces the risk of skin cancer. So drink up!
5. Red and Green Vegetables. It would make sense that what is good for your overall body and health is good for your skin too. Red-hued veggies are full of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, which prevents cell damage and premature aging. It also helps fight acne. Green, leafy foods like spinach provide tons of vitamin A as well, and helps your skin produce more new cells and remove old ones, which reduces dryness and keeps your face glowing and youthful.