When it comes to healthy skin, most people focus on skin care products. But did you know that the food you eat also plays a significant role in the appearance and health of our skin? Extensive research has shown that certain foods can help improve skin texture, reduce inflammation, and even prevent acne breakouts. Here are some tips on how to optimize your diet for healthy, glowing skin.
How Are Diet and Skin Health Linked?
What you eat can have a potent effect on the health of your skin. Here are some aspects of skin health that scientific research has linked to different foods:
- Skin Aging: Consumption of sugary foods can accelerate age-related skin sagging. A variety of foods may inhibit these effects, including fruits and vegetables with lipoic acid and herbs/spices such as oregano, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, and ginger.
- Acne: More recent scientific research shows that dairy products and a diet with high glycemic load (such as sugars, white bread, white rice, etc.) can contribute to acne.
- Redness/Inflammation: Some foods may cause inflammation and redness in the skin. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fried foods, and refined carbohydrates are all examples.
- Skin Cancer: A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer in general. Consuming more whole foods has also been linked to a reduced risk of skin cancer.
Foods for Healthy Skin
To keep your skin healthy, we recommend adapting your diet to include more of the following:
- Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables: Antioxidants help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which may lead to premature skin aging. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables include berries, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, avocados, squash, artichokes, asparagus, radish, cocoa, and beans.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can maintain healthy cellular membranes and reduce inflammation in the skin. They are found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
- Foods rich in Vitamins C and E: These vitamins promote collagen production, which is essential for maintaining youthful, strong skin. They can also help to keep the skin moisturized and reduce inflammation. Foods rich in vitamins C and E include leafy greens, berries, avocado, mango, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, pumpkin, papaya, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and corn.
- Whole Foods: Whole, unprocessed foods provide essential nutrients that support healthy skin and overall health. Examples include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help to promote healthy, glowing skin.
Foods to Avoid for Healthy Skin
To keep your skin healthy, we recommend caution in consuming too much of the following:
- Dairy: While dairy products can provide much-needed nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, they can also increase the risk of acne. Some people find that cutting out cow’s milk or switching to dairy products made from goats or other animals helps their skin clear up. Experiment to find what works for you. If you choose to cut dairy from your diet, make sure you supplement with other foods such as calcium-rich leafy greens so that you aren’t missing out on essential nutrients.
- Fats: Fats are essential for healthy skin, but excess fat consumption can cause inflammation. Use less vegetable oils, avoid fried foods, and consider limiting your consumption of beef and eggs.
- High glycemic index foods: Foods with a high glycemic index cause quick jumps in your blood sugar levels and may lead to acne and inflammation in the skin. Avoid excess carbohydrates, sugars (especially processed sugars), white bread, white rice, and soft drinks.
- Processed/refined foods: Processed and refined foods often contain high amounts of salt and sugar, which can inflammation, trigger acne, and accelerate skin aging. Avoid packaged snacks, fast food, and sugary beverages.
A balanced diet can go a long way toward keeping your skin healthy, strong, and youthful. Follow these dermatologist-recommended tips and suggestions to see the incredible connection between your diet and skin health.
To learn more about diet and skin health, or for help with other dermatology concerns, schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists. Call Medovate Dermatology at 847.499.5500.