1. Fatty Fish! Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring,
are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids,
which are important for maintaining skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to keep
skin thick, supple and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats can
cause dry skin. The omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation,
which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive
to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Some studies show that fish oil supplements
may fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions affecting your skin, such as psoriasis and
lupus. Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E,
one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for
protecting your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation. This type of seafood is also a source of high-quality
protein, which is needed for maintaining the strength and integrity of your skin. Lastly, fish provides zinc, a mineral vital
for regulating inflammation, the production of new skin cells and overall skin health. Zinc deficiency can lead to skin inflammation,
lesions and delayed wound healing. 2. Avocados! Avocados are high in healthy fats. These fats benefit many functions in your
body, including the health of your skin. Getting enough of these fats is essential
to keep skin flexible and moisturized. One study in over 700 women found that a high
intake of total fat, specifically the types of healthy fats found in avocados, was associated
with more supple, springy skin. Preliminary evidence also shows that avocados
contain compounds that may protect your skin from sun damage. UV damage to your skin can cause wrinkles
and other signs of aging. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin
E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E
through their diet. Interestingly, vitamin E seems to be more
effective when combined with vitamin C. Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin. Your skin needs it to create collagen, which
is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. A deficiency in vitamin C is rare these days,
but common symptoms include dry, rough and scaly skin that tends to bruise easily. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects
your skin from oxidative damage, caused by the sun and the environment, which can lead
to signs of aging. A 100-gram serving, or about 1/2 an avocado,
provides 10% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin E and 17% of the RDI for
vitamin C. 3. Walnuts! Walnuts have many characteristics that make
them an excellent food for healthy skin. They are a good source of essential fatty
acids, which are fats that your body cannot make itself. In fact, they’re richer than most other
nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A diet too high in omega-6 fats may promote
inflammation, including inflammatory conditions of your skin like psoriasis. On the other hand, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation
in your body, including in your skin. While omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in
the Western diet, sources of omega-3 fatty acids are rare. Because walnuts contain a good ratio of these
fatty acids, they may fight the inflammatory response to excessive omega-6. What’s more, walnuts contain other nutrients
that your skin needs to function properly and stay healthy. One ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains 6%
of the RDI for zinc, which is essential for your skin to function properly as a barrier,
as well as necessary for wound healing and combatting both bacteria and inflammation. Walnuts also provide small amounts of the
antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium, in addition to 4–5 grams of protein per
ounce (28 grams). 4. Sunflower Seeds! In general, nuts and seeds are good sources
of skin-boosting nutrients. Sunflower seeds are an excellent example. One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds packs
37% of the RDI for vitamin E, 32% of the RDI for selenium, 10% of the RDI for zinc and
5.4 grams of protein. 5. Sweet Potatoes! Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in plants. It functions as provitamin A, which means
it can be converted into vitamin A in your body. Beta-carotene is found in oranges and vegetables
such as carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source, one
1/2-cup serving (100 grams) of baked sweet potato contains enough beta-carotene to provide
nearly four times the RDI of vitamin A. Carotenoids like beta-carotene keep your skin
healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. When consumed, this antioxidant is incorporated
into your skin and protects your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, cell death
and dry, wrinkled skin. Interestingly, high amounts of beta-carotene
may also add a warm, orange color to your skin, contributing to an overall healthier
appearance. 6. Red or Yellow Bell Peppers! Like sweet potatoes, bell peppers are an excellent
source of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A.
One cup (149 grams) of chopped red bell pepper contains the equivalent of 92% of the RDI
for vitamin A. They’re also one of the best sources of
vitamin C, necessary for creating the protein collagen which keeps skin firm and strong. A single cup (149 grams) of bell pepper provides
an impressive 317% of the RDI for vitamin C.
A large observational study in women linked eating plenty of vitamin C to a reduced risk
of wrinkled and dry skin with age. 7. Broccoli! Broccoli is full of many vitamins and minerals
important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C.
It also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. Lutein protects your skin from oxidative damage,
which can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled. But broccoli florets also pack a special compound
called sulforaphane, which boasts some impressive potential benefits. It may even have anti-cancer effects, including
on some types of skin cancer. Sulforaphane is also a powerful protective
agent against sun damage. It works in two ways: by neutralizing harmful
free radicals and switching on other protective systems in your body. In laboratory tests, sulforaphane reduced
the number of skin cells killed by UV light by as much as 29%, with protection lasting
up to 48 hours. Evidence suggests sulforaphane may also maintain
collagen levels in your skin. 8. Tomatoes! Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and
contain all of the major carotenoids, including lycopene. Beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene have been
shown to protect your skin against damage from the sun. They may also help prevent wrinkling. Because tomatoes contain all of the major
carotenoids, they’re an excellent food for maintaining healthy skin. Consider pairing carotenoid-rich foods like
tomatoes with a source of fat, such as cheese or olive oil. Fat increases your absorption of carotenoids. 9. Soy! Soy contains isoflavones, a category of plant
compounds that can either mimic or block estrogen in your body. Isoflavones may benefit several parts of your
body, including your skin. One small study in middle-aged women found
that eating soy isoflavones every day for 8–12 weeks reduced fine wrinkles and improved
skin elasticity. In postmenopausal women, soy may also improve
skin dryness and increase collagen, which helps keep your skin smooth and strong. These isoflavones not only protect the cells
inside your body from damage but also your skin from UV radiation, which may help prevent
some skin cancers. 10. Dark Chocolate! If you need one more reason to eat chocolate,
here it is: The effects of cocoa on your skin are pretty phenomenal. After 6–12 weeks of consuming a cocoa powder
high in antioxidants each day, participants in one study experience thicker, more hydrated
skin. Their skin was also less rough and scaly,
less sensitive to sunburn and had better blood flow, which brings more nutrients to your
skin. Another study found that eating 20 grams of
high-antioxidant dark chocolate per day could allow your skin to withstand over twice as
much UV radiation before burning versus eating low-antioxidant chocolate. Several other studies have produced similar
results, including improvements in the appearance of wrinkles. However, keep in mind that at least one study
did not find significant effects. Make sure to choose dark chocolate with at
least 70% cocoa in order to maximize the benefits and keep added sugar to a minimum. 11. Green Tea! Green tea may protect your skin from damage
and aging. The powerful compounds found in green tea
are called catechins and work to improve the health of your skin in several ways. Like several other antioxidant-containing
foods, green tea can help protect your skin against sun damage. One 12-week study in 60 women found that drinking
green tea daily could reduce redness from sun exposure by up to 25%. Green tea also improved the moisture, roughness,
thickness and elasticity of their skin. While green tea is a great choice for healthy
skin, you may want to avoid drinking your tea with milk. There’s evidence that milk could reduce the
impact of green tea’s antioxidants. 12. Red Wine! Red wine is famous for containing resveratrol,
a compound that comes from the skin of red grapes. Resveratrol is credited with a wide range
of health benefits, among them reducing the effects of aging. Test-tube studies suggest it may also slow
the production of harmful free radicals, which damage skin cells and cause signs of aging. Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence that
the amount of resveratrol you get from a glass of red wine is enough to impact your skin. And since red wine is an alcoholic beverage,
there are negative effects to drinking it in excess. It’s not recommended to start drinking red
wine just because of its potential health benefits. However, if you already drink in moderation,
you might enjoy red wine as your alcoholic beverage of choice.

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About the Author: John Markowski

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