Key Foods for Healthy Skin

February 1, 2016

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and the foods you eat have a direct link to its health and appearance. Certain nutrients help the cells in your skin regenerate, so they are less susceptible to break down from exposure to the sun, pollution, other environmental factors and disease. When you maintain a skin-healthy diet of nutritious, wholesome foods, you are making a positive choice that will contribute to an overall healthier you.


Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to maintain healthy skin. It helps your cells take in nutrients and get rid of toxins. And it helps with blood flow and with keeping your skin clear and healthy-looking. It’s generally recommended to drink eight glasses of water a day, but you may not need that much. But if you’re athletic, you may need even more. The water in fruits, veggies, juice and milk also contributes to your total water intake of a skin-healthy diet.


Free radicals cause signs of aging such as wrinkles, dry, itchy skin, tissue damage and probably some diseases. Selenium is a mineral that can help protect your skin from cells that gather free radicals. Selenium may also contribute to preventing skin cancer. You can get this important mineral from Brazil nuts, button mushrooms, shrimp, lamb and fish such as snapper, cod, halibut, tuna and salmon. Cooked beef, light turkey, oysters, sardines, crab and whole-wheat pasta also contain selenium and contribute to a better skin-healthy diet.


Antioxidants are important for slowing and preventing free radical damage. You can find them in all kinds of foods, especially colorful fruits and vegetables like berries, tomatoes, apricots, beets, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, peppers and beans.

Your body makes a key antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10, but as you get older, your body makes less of it. CoQ10 should be part of a skin-healthy diet and is found in fish like salmon and tuna, poultry, organ meats such as the liver and whole grains.

Vitamin A

You can help prevent dry, flaky skin by eating more oranges, carrots and cantaloupes. You can also find vitamin A in leafy greens, eggs and low-fat dairy, all considered foods for healthy skin. Some skin products, called retinoids, have vitamin A, which may help diminish wrinkles and brown spots. Retinoids are commonly prescribed treatments for acne and other skin conditions.

Vitamin C

Too much sun is damaging to your skin. Vitamin C can help protect you from sun damage and improve the collagen and elastin, which firm up your skin. Vitamin C-packed foods for healthy skin include red bell peppers, citrus fruits, papayas, kiwis, broccoli, greens and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E

Another antioxidant that can help skin damage due to sun and inflammation is vitamin E. Get it from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, asparagus, olives and leafy greens.

Healthy Fats

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are good fats that help create your skin’s natural oil barrier, keeping away dryness and blemishes. Essential fatty acids such as these help your skin to be smoother and younger-looking. Olive and canola oils, flaxseeds, walnuts, and cold-water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are all foods for healthy skin.

Good Oils

Some oils have more than essential fatty acids. High-quality oil like extra-virgin olive oil and cold-pressed oil are more simply processed than many other kinds. They may have more nutrients that are good for your skin. These oils should be part of a skin-healthy diet.

Green tea helps stop inflammation and is used in a lot of cosmetics, and since the sun-protection benefits of green tea are well documented, you could apply a green tea formula under your sunscreen when venturing into the sun.

Eating foods for healthy skin is only one very good reason to maintain a nutritious diet. When you adopt healthy eating habits, you’re simultaneously increasing your overall health and ensuring fewer health issues down the road.

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