Vitamins C and E, protein, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and water are key players in various aspects of skin health, contributing variously to reducing redness, keeping skin clear, protecting it from the sun, promoting elasticity, and reducing wrinkles (one of the biggest signs of skin aging). On the other hand, foods high in sugar are thought to hinder healthy skin. Here’s a breakdown of the specifics.
Vitamin C is one of the biggest forces in protecting skin from UV radiation, which causes wrinkles and other signs of aging. It helps reduce cell damage, supports a healthy immune system, and aids the body in collagen synthesis, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. You can get your Vitamin C from all sorts of fruits and veggies, but orange juice and red peppers are some of the most efficient sources.
Another major sun-damage-opponent is vitamin E, which protects the top layer of the skin and keeps it supple. Sunflower seeds, almonds, and spinach are packed with it. When applied topically, Vitamin E can also reduce inflammation.
Protein keeps skin firm and resistant to wrinkles. Protein from dairy works especially well. Try Greek yogurt for double the protein content of standard yogurt.
Antioxidants (found in blueberries, pomegranates, green tea, dark chocolate, and even red wine) fight the wear and tear that free radicals wreak on skin. They regulate blood flow to keep skin rosy while reducing excessive redness.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These “good fats” keep skin soft and help smooth out lines. Find them in walnuts, flax seeds, salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
H2O-rich foods like cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, oranges, and tomatoes moisten skin and contribute to elasticity. Monounsaturated fats in foods like avocados lock in water for consistent hydration.
Foods to Avoid
Some studies have shown a link between high insulin levels and acne outbreaks. Insulin is a hormone created in the body to help cells absorb sugar. Consuming candy, cookies, soda, and other sweet treats cause a blood sugar spike that results in increased insulin production and possibly more zits. Keep your blood sugar steady and your complexion clear by eating frequent small meals and getting your carbs mostly through whole grains, steel cut oats, nuts, fruits, and veggies and other foods that take awhile for the body to break down.