By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD
Reviewed By Stephanie S. Gardner, MD
Smooth, radiant skin is something everyone wants. While there’s no magic bullet, the food you eat, along with a healthy lifestyle, can help stall some of the visible signs of aging.
“Eat smaller portions. Choose nutrient-dense, healthy foods from all of the different food groups. Exercise, and wear sunscreen. All of these things will help you look and feel younger,” says dietician Elisa Zied, author of Younger Next Week.
These seven foods deliver nutrients that can help keep your skin looking great.
“I recommend complex carbohydrates like oats because they’re low-glycemic,” says Debra Jaliman, MD. She is a New York dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. By “low-glycemic,” she means foods that don’t spike your blood sugar like refined breads, rice, and pasta can. “High-glycemic foods are known to cause acne and wrinkles,” Jaliman says.
Oats also have a natural plant chemical that helps prevent damage to skin cells and soothes skin irritation.
Also try: other whole grains such as shredded wheat, barley, brown rice.
These are loaded with water, so they hydrate your skin and your cells, Zied says. One large orange is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps make collagen — and that, in turn, helps keep your skin supple.
In general, vegetables and fruits are great for your skin. Get at least 2 to 2.5 cups of vegetables and 1.5 cups of fruit per day if you’re a woman, or 3 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit if you’re a man. Go for lots of colors so you get a variety of nutrients.
Also try: pink grapefruit, tomatoes, parsley.
Avocados are filled with a healthy type of fat, monounsaturated fat, which helps your skinstay hydrated, Zied says.That same healthy fat can also help you absorb some vitamins and nutrients that your skin needs.
Try replacing high-fat salad dressings and mayo with avocado. “It gives you a lot of flavor and texture, and you don’t need much to feel satisfied,” Zied says.
Also try: olive oil, walnuts, macadamia nut oil.
- Brussels Sprouts
These are an excellent source of the skin-friendly vitamins A and C, as well as folate.
Their vitamin C promotes collagen. And while you still need to use sun protection, vitamin A and folate may help prevent sun damage.
Try roasting Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil.
Also try: kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower.
This fish is one of the best ways to get healthy omega-3 fats in your diet. Recent studies have suggested that omega-3s, especially from fish, may keep skin cancer cells from growing and spreading.
Aim for at least two 3-ounce servings of fish each week. Try it grilled with a whole-grain side dish like brown rice or barley salad.
Also try: flax and chia seeds, walnuts, mackerel, sardines, fortified milk, eggs.
Resveratrol, which comes from the skin of grapes, counters inflammation, Jaliman says. “Many people think it slows the aging process, plus it may fight the effects of UV light and sun damage. But you still need to use your sunscreen.”
Also try: boiled peanuts, cocoa powder.