The saying “you are what you eat” may sound like a cliché, but it is true most of the time. While your body doesn’t become the food you eat, it reflects on how healthy your diet is. Some people in the beauty industry would tell you that beautiful skin is about the soaps and creams, but they fail to mention the major underlying factor towards achieving radiant skin- your food.
Your body mirrors your health. When you’re eating healthy, it shows. When you’re not, everyone can see it too. A healthy diet is rich in all the nutrients including the important vitamins such as the B vitamins, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Here are 20 foods you should include in your diet to promote healthy skin.
Watermelon is a very delicious fruit that contains a large quantity of water which is essential for healthy skin. When you slice watermelon into cubes and fill 2 cups, it contains the same water volume as a whole cup of water. This keeps your skin hydrated and very fresh. While you might consider just drinking water instead, watermelon contains additional nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. This vitamin C serves as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from oxidative damage. In warm seasons, slice up your watermelon into large bowls and place it in the freezer. You’ll enjoy the delicious fruit after a meal.
2. Corn oil
Corn oil is a plant-based oil that is very important to healthy skin. While you may be using other types of oil to cook your meals, you should consider replacing them with corn oil. It contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to reduce inflammation that may occur on the skin. It is also a great choice for cooking because it contains a low amount of saturated fats, thus keeping your body healthy while adding extra flavor to your food. It also has a high antioxidant content, benefiting the heart and skin cells.
Water is the simplest food you should consume to keep your skin looking fresh and hydrated. Some people have claimed they stayed months living on water alone. While it is not advisable to try this, it shows that water is indeed very effective in keeping the body healthy. It boosts your skin’s glow and keeps your body functioning well. Everyone should take at least 8 cups of water in a day. If you do exercise or carry out activities that cause you to sweat a lot, you should even take more than 8 cups of water. You can add citrus or berries to your water to give it some flavor.
4. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are very rich in beta-carotene which is mainly found in plants. In the body, this beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A. It is a very important antioxidant necessary for maintaining healthy skin. 100g of sweet potatoes provide beta-carotene nearly four times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Carotenoids such as beta-carotene protects the skin by acting as sunblock, preventing damages due to exposure of the skin to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight. This helps to prevent sunburn, dry skin, and cell death. It gives your skin that healthy glow.
5. Fatty fish
Fatty fish is one of the major foods to be taken for healthy skin. They contain a wide variety of nutrients, most of which contribute to beautiful skin and healthy living. One of the major nutrients found in fatty fish is omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are responsible for maintaining skin health by keeping it moisturized. Studies have shown that people deficient in omega-3 fatty acids usually have dry skin. They also have other benefits to the skin such as reduce inflammation which is a major cause of acne and prevent sunburn from exposure to the sun’s rays.
Fatty fish have also been observed to have anti-inflammatory effects and fight autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. Other nutrients contained in these fish include vitamin E (an antioxidant that protects the skin) and proteins. Examples of fatty fish are salmon and mackerel.
6. Sunflower seeds
Nuts and seeds, in general, are very helpful in keeping the skin healthy. One of the most popular seeds consumed for healthy skin is sunflower seed. Sunflower seeds are very rich in nutrients which include vitamin E, protein, and zinc. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds provides 37% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin E, 32% of the RDI for selenium, 10% of the RDI for zinc and 5.4 g of proteins. These are all nutrients beneficial to the skin. Without enough proteins, there won’t be repairs of damaged skin tissues. Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Walnuts are one of the best foods you need for healthy skin. The good thing is that you can even take it as a snack anytime you want, which makes it very easy to include in your diet. Walnut contains essential fatty acids, which are fatty acids that are not produced by your body and you have to consume externally. Among the other nuts, walnuts are the richest in both omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. You would find many foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids, but omega-3 fatty acid sources are not so abundant.
Taking omega-6 fatty acids in excess leads to inflammation and promotes inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis. With the omega-3 present in walnuts in adequate amounts, there is less likelihood for this to happen. This means you can get the full benefits of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Walnuts also contain other nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, selenium, and vitamin E which your skin needs to look healthy.
Avocados are very healthy fruits which contain nutrients necessary for better skin. Avocados contain a high amount of healthy fats. Your body needs these healthy fats to look supple and moisturized. A study carried out on 100 women showed that increasing their healthy fat intake contributed to the health of their skin. Avocados also contain protective substances that shield the body from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, preventing it from sunburn, cell death, and dryness.
Avocados also contain vitamin C and E. The vitamin E serves as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from oxidative damage. Vitamin C is important for the production of collagen, a structural protein that the skin needs to stay strong and healthy.
9. Bell peppers
Bell peppers, whether red or yellow, are very high in beta-carotene, just like in sweet potatoes. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A when it gets into the body, and this vitamin is important for healthy skin. A full cup of bell pepper provides 92% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. This means taking bell pepper alone daily can fulfill your vitamin A needs.
Bell peppers are also rich in vitamin C which helps the body produce the structural protein, collagen, which keeps the skin firm and healthy. A study showed that an increase in vitamin C intake reduced the rate at which wrinkles form on the skin as one gets older. A cup of bell pepper provides the body with 317% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin C.
Isoflavones are compounds found in many plants. Soy is one of the foods that contain isoflavones. They work by mimicking or blocking the estrogen in your body. They have several benefits to the body, including the skin. The isoflavones promote smoother and more elastic skin. A research was carried out in some middle-aged women where they consumed soy isoflavones for 8 to 12 weeks. At the end of the study, it was observed that these women had reduced wrinkles on their skin and their skin elasticity had improved.
Soy also increases collagen and improve skin dryness in post-menopausal women. The isoflavones found in soy protects the skin cells from damage and also prevents damage due to exposure of the skin to sunlight.
11. Green Tea
Compounds called catechins are found in green tea and helps to improve the quality of the skin. They protect the skin from damage due to ultraviolet rays of the sun. Green tea also contains antioxidants that also protect the skin from external damage. A study was carried out in 25 women and it was observed that drinking green tea reduced the effect of the sun rays on the skin by 25%.
Most people love to take their tea with milk, but you must drink your green tea without milk because some studies have shown that milk reduces the antioxidant properties of green tea.
Broccoli is one of the most important foods to take when you decide to take care of your skin. Broccoli is very rich in nutrients including vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins A and C, and zinc. These three nutrients are very important to keep the skin strong and healthy. A carotenoid known as lutein, which is similar to beta-carotene is also found in broccoli. Like beta-carotene, it protects the skin from oxidative damage which may cause it to become wrinkled and dry.
Broccoli also has a very important compound known as sulforaphane which possesses important properties for healthy skin. It protects the skin from sun damage, damage by oxidative radicals, and is even believed to have anti-cancer effects, which means it can help fight some types of skin cancer
Tomatoes are an excellent food for maintaining healthy skin. While other foods may contain only one of the carotenoids, tomatoes contain all carotenoids including lycopene. Beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene all promote healthy skin by protecting it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. When you increase the tomatoes in your diet, there are higher chances than your skin won’t turn bright red upon exposure to sunlight.
Tomatoes are also high in vitamins especially vitamin C, which helps the body produce collagen which strengthens and tightens the skin.
14. Red wine
Red wine contains a compound known as resveratrol. This compound is found in the skin of red grapes which are used to make the wine. Resveratrol has major skin benefits, one of which is reducing the effect of aging. Much research has not been carried out on this, so it is not advisable to become an alcoholic simply because you don’t want to look old. There are always negative outcomes of drinking excess alcohol. If you want to get this resveratrol into your body, you can consider eating more red grapes.
15. Dark chocolates
You have just found another reason to keep eating those delicious chocolates. Dark chocolates made from cocoa are very effective in getting and maintaining healthy skin. A study was carried on a few people who were asked to eat cocoa powder high in antioxidants for 6 to 12 weeks. When the period was over, it was discovered that the cocoa powder caused their skin to become thicker and more hydrated. Several other studies have been carried out on cocoa and its effect on human skin. Some even showed that it improves blood flow to the skin, reduces roughness, prevents sunburn, and reduces wrinkles on the skin.
When you decide to purchase your dark chocolates, ensure you select the ones that have at least 70% cocoa to give you the maximum health benefits.
16. Brown rice
Going for brown rice instead of white rice is a great choice if you want to improve the look of your skin. Brown rice contains selenium which helps the skin look fresher and softer, and also helps reduce the sugar levels in the blood, thus improving your skin texture and preventing premature aging. Brown rice is high in carbohydrates and you can easily swap it with your white rice and enjoy it for lunch or dinner.
As said above, grapes are very important fruits for keeping healthy skin. Apart from red grapes that contain resveratrol that reduces the effects of aging, other types of grape also provide great benefits to the skin. Red, black, and green grapes also contain ellagic acid asides resveratrol. A combination of these two compounds helps prevent oxidative damage and also promotes regeneration of dead or weakened skin cells.
Eggs are important foods and should be taken regularly. The amazing thing about eggs is that you can eat them in whatever form you like and with a wide variety of foods. Eggs are important to the skin because they contain the carotenoid, lutein, which helps in protecting the skin from oxidative stress and the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It also helps maintain a tight skin. Surprisingly, most of the nutrients found in eggs are located in the yolk.
Many people are scared of eating mushrooms, either because they don’t know how, or because they believe it is poisonous. Indeed, there are poisonous mushrooms, but there are also edible mushrooms you can eat to keep your skin healthy. Mushrooms are rich in selenium which helps protect the skin from damage caused by sunlight, and also from oxidative stress.
You can eat blueberries in whatever way you like- frozen, fresh, or blended into a smoothie. Blueberries contain a high amount of vitamin C. A single cup of blueberries provides one-quarter of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen which tightens and strengthens the skin. Blueberries also contain antioxidants that protect the skin from damage by free radicals.