Eating guava, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and other tropical fruits that contain vitamin C will help defend your skin against damaging free radicals. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is naturally found in the skin, so eating tropical fruits and other vitamin C–rich foods can replenish your skin’s stores. Vitamin C also helps your body produce collagen, a protein that helps keep your skin firm and elastic.
While genetics and lifestyle habits play a significant role in skin health, the right foods can also help you fight acne, minimize wrinkles, and enhance your skin’s natural beauty.
This cruciferous veggie is high in antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. The vitamin C in broccoli aids in collagen production and keeps your skin healthy and supple, while vitamin E protects your skin cell membranes and guards against UV radiation damage.
These nuts are one of the best food sources of vitamin E. Eat whole almonds as a snack or add sliced almonds to salads, cereal, yogurt, stir–fry or baked goods. You can also toast almond slivers and serve them on top of fish, chicken, or even rice or pasta dishes. The vitamin E in almonds can help nourish your skin and protect it from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Just be sure to eat them in moderation, since almonds and other nuts are calorie–dense.
Another skin–friendly antioxidant is the mineral selenium, which is found in whole grain pastas and breads. Selenium helps protect your skin against environmental damage and promotes elasticity and general skin health. High–dose selenium supplements have been linked to health problems, so it’s always best to get your selenium from delicious food sources.
Crunch on carrots to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. Carrots are high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A inside the body. It helps repair skin tissue and protects against the sun’s harsh rays. Enjoy carrots raw in salads or with a low–calorie dip, or try roasting them to develop a rich, sweet flavor. (Bonus! Cooked carrots deliver even more skin–friendly beta carotene than raw ones.)
Pumpkin seeds are a skin superfood because they’re so high in zinc. Zinc protects your cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin renewal. Enjoy pumpkin seeds on their own as a snack, add them into a homemade trail mix, or sprinkle them on yogurt or oatmeal.
Salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and rainbow trout all contain omega–3 fats, which help fortify skin cell membranes, protect against sun damage, and may also reduce the risk of certain forms of skin cancer. These healthy fats allow water and nutrients into the skin while keeping toxins out, and may also fight inflammation in the skin. Just don’t cancel out the benefits of eating fish by preparing it in unhealthy ways. Avoid deep–fried fish, and go for baked, grilled, roasted or poached instead!
It’s not a “food,” per se, but water is crucial when it comes to skin health because it flushes toxins out of your body, delivers nutrients to your cells, and keeps your organs functioning. It also helps keep your cells plump and full, which makes your skin look firmer and clearer. To get more water in your daily diet, fill up a large reusable container with ice–cold water each morning, and keep drinking from it throughout the day. And drinking water isn’t the only way to keep your skin cells hydrated. Many fruits and veggies are more than 75 percent water (by weight), so they’re a terrific source of H2O, too.