If you’ve tried all the different lotions, serums and treatments influencers swear by in hopes of getting glowing, radiant skin – you’re not alone. And while an elaborate skincare routine is important – and definitely helps, nourishing it with skin-loving ingredients from within is the best foundation for healthy skin. To nurture your skin from the inside out, here’s 8 foods we recommend.
Sweet but slightly tart, strawberries are a favorite among many – and for good reason. They’re not only delicious, but these small, red triangular berries are rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to fend off free radicals, natural substances that damage and age skin when they build up. Plus, vitamin C is essential for collagen production to help maintain skin structure and elasticity, while preventing premature wrinkles.
Another benefit? Strawberries also have folate, which can help speed up cell regeneration and the synthesis of new cells according to some research.1 Your skin cells are continuously replacing themselves, but this process naturally slows with age, which can lead to uneven skin or dark spots. By ensuring this process continues at a healthy rate can promote brighter and healthier skin.
While strawberries are tasty on their own, they can easily be added to smoothies, yogurt or even to a salad.
Avocados are hailed as a superfood for their *many* health benefits, so it’s not surprising that they’re also great for your skin. This celebrity fruit is a rich source of monosaturated fatty acids, which not only helps moisturize your skin beneath the surface but also soothes dry, irritated skin. Plus, avocados are loaded with antioxidants to help fight premature aging and maintain skin elasticity that can occur from environmental stressors like pollution or UV rays.
Avocados can be eaten as guacamole, with roasted veggies, in a burrito or as the famous avocado toast.
One way to help keep your skin hydrated is to eat your water. Cucumbers are 95 percent water, and can help maintain your skin’s natural moisture and hydration. What’s more, cucumbers are packed with skin-friendly vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants like silica, a mineral that’s involved in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that’s vital to your skin’s hydration and elasticity.
Add cucumbers to your favorite salad, sandwich or make cucumber noodles for a cool, refreshing dish.
You’ve probably heard by now that tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant that helps aid your skin’s natural defenses. But they’re also high in vitamin A, which reduces the production of sebum, an oily, waxy substance your body naturally makes. And though sebum is important (and needed) to have healthy, hydrated skin, it’s possible to have too much. When your body overproduces sebum, it can lead to increased blemishes, pimples and oily skin.
Tomatoes are delicious both raw and cooked. To eat them fresh, toss them in cold pasta, make a caprese salad or bruschetta! If you have the time to make homemade marinara, it’s definitely worth it! Not only will it taste amazing but the lycopene content increases when tomatoes are cooked!
5. Cold water fatty fish
Eating seafood regularly (think: at least twice a week) offers a slew of health benefits, including healthier skin. Some sources of fatty fish are salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring. These fish are rich in healthy fats, keeping your skin moisturized, supple and smooth. Not just that, but they also contain vitamin E, which works double duty as a vitamin and antioxidant, to both nourish your skin and prevent free radical damage. Plus, fish also contains zinc, which plays an incredibly important role in the formation of new skin cells for even-toned skin.2
To net all the benefits, try to eat fish at least twice a week; otherwise, it’s best to add a supplement to your diet.
Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, offering about 2.5 grams per ounce.3 Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your skin soft, plump and bright. Walnuts are also rich in selenium, which acts as an antioxidant but also increases circulation to encourage the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout your body for a healthier complexion.
Walnuts are great as a salad topping, with roasted veggies or in trail mix.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is always a good idea, and it’s even better when you know it’s benefiting your skin. In fact, cacao is packed with flavanols, antioxidants that not only ward off harmful free radicals but also reduce the appearance of blemishes, redness and puffiness in skin.
To reap the benefits that dark chocolate has to offer, be sure to choose chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao.
While water isn’t exactly food, it’s imperative for your skin. This probably isn’t surprising since every system in your body depends on water to function well. But drinking enough water keeps your skin hydrated and encourages healthy skin that appears less wrinkled, dull and dry.
So how much water should you drink? The basic rule of thumb: aim for half your body weight in fluid ounces. If you’re struggling to up your water intake, try carrying a reusable water bottle with you. If you don’t love plain water, you can add fruit (or cucumber) to your water for natural flavors.
For more antioxidant sources, read 8 foods high in antioxidants
Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.
This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.