There are so many things that can go wrong with the skin: redness and blemishes to name a few.
Healthy skin is a reflection of internal health. While there are many creams and cosmetics to put on top of your skin, there are also lots of things you can do to nurture and nourish your skin to better health from the inside.
How better to do this than with food?
Your skin needs many nutrients: water, essential fats, vitamins and amino acids. Here are four foods plus a few lifestyle tips that are highly recommended if your goal is healthier-looking skin. (Also included is a short list of some key foods to consider avoiding.)
Healthier Skin Food #1: Water
Hydration is key for healthy-looking skin! Water and other hydrating fluids are great to help your skin stay moist and supple.
And for a bit of an extra anti-inflammatory hydrating boost, try boosting your water with anti-inflammatory green tea (sugar-free if possible).
Healthier Skin Food #2: Fish
Fish contains many nutrients important for skin health such as omega-3s and vitamins A and D, for example.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory to help cool the flames of inflammation. Vitamin A can help with blemishes and dryness, while vitamin D helps with skin tone.
Healthier Skin Food #3: Bell peppers, citrus and broccoli
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our body. It’s also known to help our skin stay firm and supple.
Vitamin C is necessary for your body to make collagen. So foods, like bell peppers, citrus and broccoli, that are rich in vitamin C are great for your skin.
However, overcooking vitamin C-rich foods can destroy some of the skin-supporting vitamins. It’s best, therefore, to have these lightly steamed or raw for maximum vitamin C levels.
Healthier Skin Food #4: Bone broth
Homemade bone broth contains a lot of the amino acid glycine. Glycine is another essential component of the skin protein collagen.
Glycine not only helps speed the healing of the skin but also the gut.
Healthier Skin “Food” #5: Sleep more, and stress less
I know these suggestions aren’t exactly foods, but they’re an important part of naturally great skin. When we don’t sleep enough and/or we stress too much, our body flips on systems that affect our whole body, including our skin.
Stress hormones can increase inflammation and lead to skin that does not have a healthy appearance. Prioritize sleep and stress management, and you can see results in your life and in your skin.
Watch out for these foods:
Some foods are allergenic or inflammatory. These can cause all sorts of issues in your body, including affecting your skin.
It’s hard to come up with one list of inflammatory or allergenic foods for everyone. Each person is biochemically unique, so you may have to go through this list and see what applies to you. There are a few common allergens that may be a good bet to eliminate from your diet.
The first is processed foods. These are pretty much not a good choice, for everyone. And they can affect your health in so many ways, including how your skin looks and feels. Try ditching prepackaged and fast foods in favor of whole foods as much as possible (not only for your skin but for your whole body and mind as well).
The second is gluten. While only a small number of people have serious reactions to gluten (such as celiac disease), many more people are intolerant of it. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and a few other grains. Many people have had several health concerns, including skin issues, clear up after eliminating gluten from their diets.
Third in line is dairy. We don’t know why, but many people who cut out dairy report having better skin. Perhaps it could be a hormonal response or even an insulin response.
Skin health is not just about what you put on your skin, but what your skin gets from the inside, too. There are lots of important nutrients and foods to help support healthy skin. But we also have to remember that there are lots of foods that can affect your skin in negative ways as well.
Hydrating, eating nutrient dense whole foods, and avoiding common allergenic and inflammatory foods might make all the difference for you.
Three other important points:
Be sure to exercise regularly because it increases circulation and the flow of nutrients to the skin. And if you spend time outdoors, be sure to use a sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher, even when it’s cloudy. This will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.) And it goes without saying, smoking is bad not just for your skin but your health overall.
Do you have an amazing recipe or tips for people you’d like to share to help them eat more of the foods that are likely to contribute to having healthier skin? Let me know in the comments box below. As always, we’d love to hear from you.