Achieving and maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin is one of the top concerns among women today. While moisturizers and serums are a great way to take care of your skin from the outside, simply integrating certain foods into your diet is an easy way to promote your skin’s health from the inside. Some foods can even be integrated as a part of your regular skin care routine.
Pomegranate Juice is packed with skin-strengthening vitamins and minerals: specifically, vitamins E and C and Copper. Vitamins E and C both help to neutralize free radicals (harmful environmental aggressors which cause the skin to age more rapidly) and provide a degree of natural sun protection. Vitamin C and Copper both play a part in helping your skin to naturally synthesize collagen — a protein which strengthens the skin, adds volume, decreases wrinkles and generally creates a more healthful and youthful look. Additionally, Copper helps your body to produce melanin (the pigment which gives color to your hair, skin and eyes) and is an anti-inflammatory which decreases redness and irritation in the skin. One cup of pomegranate juice contains 41% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C, 12% of your RDI of vitamin E and 53% of your RDI for Copper. If you’re not a fan of the taste of pomegranate, the juice can be mixed with other ingredients and applied topically as a mask, cleanser, toner or even a moisturizer.
Fish is an excellent source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which do a whole host of good for your body. Their impact on the skin is threefold. First, they fortify cell membranes, creating a stronger, more resilient skin. Second, they provide a natural form of resistance to the sun, helping to combat certain types of skin cancer. Some studies also suggest that they can help to keep cancer cells from growing and spreading. Third, they strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier from within, keeping necessary water and oil inside the skin and keeping harmful toxins and environmental aggressors out. They are also an anti-inflammatory which can reduce redness and irritation in the skin, helping with conditions like psoriasis, rosacea and acne. All fish contain some EFAs, but salmon, mackerel and tuna contain the most. If seafood isn’t your thing but you’d still like to reap the benefits of EFAs, you can try a less “fishy” tasting fish like tilapia, haddock or orange roughy — or you can get them from other food sources like almonds, hazelnuts and flaxseed.
Carrots, along with other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, contain many nutrients essential for healthy skin; the most prevalent being that they are chock-full of beta-carotene (which is what gives them their vibrant orange coloring). Beta-carotene is metabolized by the body into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants provide excellent anti-aging benefits for the skin, as they help to neutralize free radical damage to the skin, as well as increasing the skin’s natural resistance to the sun’s harmful UVA rays (which are the rays that cause skin to age prematurely). Additionally, integrating beta-carotene into your diet will give your skin a healthy, golden glow; almost like a very subtle self-tanner that works from the inside. However, this effect can also be overdone very easily. According to a study by International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, daily ingestion of 20 milligrams of beta-carotene (approximately the amount found in three 8-inch carrots) per day over a period of 3 months can cause a noticeable yellowing of the skin. One or two carrots per day is likely the best prescription to get noticeable positive effects from the vegetable. Carrots are also rich in vitamin C, an ingredient which acts as an antioxidant and helps the skin to natural produce more collagen.
Dark, leafy greens
Green, leafy vegetables with rich, dark coloring like Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, mustard greens, beet greens, chard and collard greens are beneficial to the health of many different areas of the body, but they’re also great for healthy skin. These nutrient-rich vegetables are packed with vitamins (like B, C and E), minerals (like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium) and phytonutrients (like beta-carotene, folate and lutein). Leafy greens come in dozens of different varieties and have been extolled with virtues from fighting wrinkles to combating cancer, and from zapping blemishes to strengthening the skin. The marked presence of chlorophyll (which gives the leaves their particularly dark green color) also makes these vegetables excellent antioxidants, repairing environmental damage from the inside and combating future damage like lines, wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin.
The avocado has made waves in the health-conscious community in recent years because of its many benefits for overall health. Unsurprisingly, avocados are also very helpful in the fight for healthy, youthful skin. Eating the fruit gives an injection of vitamins like C, E and K which introduce antioxidants to help repair damage on a cellular level and help the skin to produce collagen, which will help to repair the strength of the skin and the visual signs of aging. They are also heavy in poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats, among other things, help to repair the skin’s moisture barrier and keep the skin more balanced. Polyunsaturated fats are beneficial to the skin in that they help to boost the skin’s natural resistance to damaging UV rays and act as an anti-inflammatory, which decreases redness and sensitivity in the skin. Avocados can also be beneficial when applied topically, both with or without other ingredients. Recipes exist for everything from moisturizers to masks which can soften, firm and moisturize the skin.