Beautiful skin starts from within and nourishing the body with wholesome, real, unprocessed foods is key to living a healthy life and maintaining a glowing complexion. What you put in your body is just as important as what products you use on your skin. A diet high in processed foods, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates can promote acne as well as aging skin. Environmental factors like pollution and sunlight can also rob the body of nutrients and accelerate the aging process. Although specific antioxidant-rich foods can combat this damage, many of the best foods to promote healthy glowing skin also, in turn, benefit your overall health.
Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can help protect your skin, as each color contains different beneficial antioxidants. For example, blue/purple produce is rich in anthocyanins that are very heart-healthy. Green produce contains isothyiocyanates that has many anti-cancer properties. Try to aim for a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to get benefits from all the different types of antioxidants. Some skin-friendly foods include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other orange/yellow fruits and vegetables that are abundant in beta-carotene. This precursor of vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, mucus membranes and the immune system.
Omega-3 fatty acids do many things, including battling inflammation in the body. They also help to preserve collagen in your skin and can help keep the skin firm. One of the top sources of omega-3s is fish, such as salmon and tuna. There are also plenty of plant-based omega-3 sources, which include flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and wheat germ, which you can incorporate into smoothies and yogurt.
Vitamin C is the most common antioxidant found in the skin. This vitamin helps to repair free radicals, supports the immune system and can assist skin blemishes in healing properly. Some great sources of vitamin C include strawberries, red bell peppers, and oranges. Vitamin E also protects skin from oxidative damage, specifically protecting our cell membranes. Foods abundant in vitamin E include almonds, avocados and sunflower seeds.
These foods all support a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet that can also help promote weight management and longevity. Yo-yo dieting can put strain on your bodily organs, and many crash diets are often deficient in essential vitamins and minerals too. Not only can this type of extreme dieting cause detrimental effects to your health, but doing this over an extensive period of time can reflect on your skin as well. Aim for healthy, gradual weight loss that is sustainable and balanced. Focus on a varied and balanced diet abundant in vegetables to reap both skin and overall general health benefits.
Stefani Pappas, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN, CPT, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. She also provides private nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit www.stefhealthtips.com for more information or call 516-216-9909 to schedule an appointment.