Radiant Skin: It’s clear to most people that nutrition is important for health. Over time, a poor diet can increase your risk for health problems. The things you eat affect all of your organs, including the largest organ in your body – your skin.
As researchers continue to study the link between nutrition and health, more and more evidence supports that what you eat can affect the health of your skin and the visible signs of aging. Keep reading to learn what to eat for youthful, radiant skin.
Collagen and Aging
Collagen is a protein that gives the skin its structure, helping it appear supple and young. Collagen is one of the main components of your bones, skin, hair, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s what keeps your skin from sagging and gives you that plump, youthful look. Your body makes collagen on its own, but this production declines after a certain age.
By the age of 21, the amount of collagen a person can produce decreases by about 1% each year. Also, sweat and oil glands start to work less efficiently and less elastin is produced.
Chronic psychological stress has been shown to hasten the formation of wrinkles due to increased levels of cortisol in the body. Excessive levels of cortisol can break down elastin and collagen, as well as increase inflammation, both of which contribute to skin aging.
In addition to the body’s natural decrease in the production of collagen and elastin, there are also environmental factors that accelerate aging such as UV rays from the sun, tobacco use, and exposure to pollution.
Foods that Contain Collagen
Since collagen production naturally declines as you age, eating collagen-rich foods or foods that contain vitamin C may support healthy skin in light of this decreased production.
Foods that contain collagen or promote the production of collagen include:
- Egg whites*
- Citrus fruits
- Red and yellow vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Bell peppers
Another way to increase your intake of this helpful protein is a collagen supplement.
Naked Collagen, a collagen peptide from Naked Nutrition is a good option because it doesn’t contain any unhealthy additives that can harm the health of your skin.
Research suggests that you can take between 10-20g of collagen per day for the best results.
*These foods are good sources of collagen
Other Foods for Healthy Skin
Fatty fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, and herring) are high in omega-3 fatty acids that moisturize the skin, making your skin look youthful and radiant. Omega-3s also help fight inflammation, which helps keep signs of aging at bay.
Some research suggests that Omega-3s might help fight proinflammatory autoimmune conditions (like psoriasis and lupus) and improve symptoms affecting the skin.
Fatty fish is also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is advantageous for skin health. Antioxidants protect your skin against free radicals and damage caused by inflammation.
Fish is also a good source of protein, a nutrient needed to support the strength of your skin. It also provides zinc, a mineral that is responsible for regulating skin health, the production of new skin cells, and inflammation.
Much like fatty fish, avocados are high in healthy fats and contain vitamins E and C. These healthy fats support many aspects of health, particularly that of your skin.
In a study of more than 700 women, scientists found that a high intake of total fat, specifically the kind of healthy fats found in avocados, was linked to more youthful, radiant skin.
Researchers believe that avocados contain compounds that could protect your skin from sun damage. Sun damage from UV rays can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Avocados are a good source of vitamin E, a helpful antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage.
Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E through their diet, so consuming foods that are high in vitamin E can boost your intake and improve the health of your skin.
Consuming vitamin E with vitamin C can increase the effectiveness of the vitamin. Vitamin C is necessary for healthy skin. Without it, your body cannot create collagen, the protein that gives your skin structure.
Like vitamin E, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage caused by the sun and the environment, which cause visible signs of aging like wrinkles and volume loss.
Nuts and seeds
In general, nuts and seeds are full of nutrients that support skin health.
Walnuts and sunflower seeds are particularly excellent sources of fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals like zinc and selenium. Walnuts are higher in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts.
As mentioned above, vitamin E is an important vitamin with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which are important to keeping the skin looking young and healthy.
Zinc is needed so your skin can function properly as a barrier. It’s also necessary for immune function and wound healing.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, also known as provitamin A, a compound that is converted to vitamin A. Carotenoids like beta carotene help keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock.
When beta carotene is consumed in the diet, the antioxidant is incorporated into your skin and helps protect your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, promote skin hydration, and keep the skin from becoming excessively dry or wrinkled.
Red and yellow bell peppers
Bell peppers are another good source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, which act as important antioxidants that promote skin health. Vitamin C is also needed to make collagen, the structural protein that keeps your skin looking full and supple.
Foods to Limit for Better Skin
If you want youthful and radiant skin for as long as possible, you should limit highly processed foods with added sugar and saturated fat. Avoid eating too much junk food and processed meats. Aim to fill your diet with fresh, whole foods to keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful.
Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.
Getting older is a part of life that can’t be avoided. While you can’t stop the years from passing, you can take steps to keep your skin looking young and healthy.
Eating a diet rich in fatty acids, collagen, and vitamins A, C, and E can promote radiant and younger-looking skin. With a healthy diet, proper hydration, and some help from a collagen supplement, you’ll have youthful, radiant skin that will keep people guessing for years.