Being a 34-year old mom of two boys, I feel like I can no longer rely on “my youth” for healthy looking skin. I actually have to put in some effort in order to make my skin look fresh, bright and to prevent fine lines and wrinkles (until I’m old enough to justify a little help from a dermatologist. I just saw on Marilyn Denis the other day that there are now non-invasive ways to boost collagen in your face – hurray!).
Until than, a big part of looking good on the outside, has to do with what’s happening on the inside; for the most part, your skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside your body. As a nutritionist, this is really helpful when it comes to working with clients. Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and even acne can tell me a lot about what types of foods my clients should or shouldn’t be eating (usually the main culprits are gluten, dairy, and refined sugar).
Until you can justify a visit to the dermatologist, here are some foods to incorporate into your diet to keep your skin looking youthful and fresh! (note that most of these foods have the same vitamins and minerals that you find in topical skin creams and lotions. It’s much more beneficial to your skin and overall health to eat them vs. apply them topically!)
- Cucumbers (especially the skin – think: eat the skin for healthy skin!)
- Water! Ever wonder why your skin looks grey and dull the morning after having a few cocktails? It’s because your skin is dehydrated! Aim to drink 6-8 glasses per day.
- Brazil nuts, mushrooms, shrimp and fish like cod, tuna, salmon and snapper. What do these foods have in common? Selenium! A mineral and antioxidant that helps to prevent skin damage from free radicals.
- Eggs and orange foods like squash, sweet potato and carrots are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which can improve the look of wrinkles and brown spots
- Vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers, kiwi and citrus, and foods rich in lycopene (think tomatoes and watermelon) can not only protect your skin from the sun, but undo sun damage that’s already happened.
- Eating healthy foods is not an excuse to avoid sunscreen though! Applying an SPF 30 sunscreen daily is one of the most important things you can do to prevent premature skin aging.
- Exercise! A recent study said that regular exercise can shave 10 to 20 years off the look of your skin. Start sweating!
- Vitamin E rich foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil and leafy greens
- Omega-3 fats found in chia, flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, sardines, anchovies, herring, and salmon
- Green tea
- Avoid refined sugar (choose healthy sweeteners like unpasteurized honey, real maple syrup and coconut palm sugar) and excess alcohol (aim for up to 6 alcoholic beverages per week) Cheers to healthy, younger looking skin!