Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. She has written on everything from marketing, real estate, technology, and manufacturing, as well as a variety of health & wellness topics. She currently writes for the health & beauty blog at Skintrium.
You’ve heard the term “you are what you eat” before, just like you know that the foods you put into your body on a daily basis play a major role in how healthy or unhealthy you are. However, if you’re like most people, you may not realize that certain foods can play a dramatic role in the way your skin looks and feels.
Eating right for healthy skin isn’t that difficult. In fact, the best way to eat right for your skin health is to follow the same diet most doctors recommend: a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and protein sources that are lean and low fat.
But studies have shown that particular foods that fall within these categories can have a direct impact on your skin, and researchers have managed to pinpoint the best foods to include in your diet for the best skin.
The beta-carotene in carrots is good for your eyesight, but the vitamin A in carrots is actually what’s beneficial for your skin. The high vitamin A content in carrots may be able to help you clear up or prevent breakouts and pimples by regulating your skin’s production of skin cells, reducing the likelihood of dead ones clogging your pores. Vitamin A may also be able to reduce the risk of skin cancer by blocking the development of cancer-causing cells.
Raw carrots are your best bet for vitamin A, but if you don’t like snacking on baby carrots, cooked carrots can still be beneficial.
Safflower oil is sometimes recommended to people with dry skin conditions like eczema as a topical moisturizer because of its moisturizing properties. However, you don’t have to slather your skin with safflower oil to enjoy its skin benefits.
Safflower oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids which help to keep the skin supple. You can use it as a moisturizer if you want, but it also works well for things like salad dressing or light stir-fry’s or sautéed vegetables.
(Hint: if you’re going to cook those carrots, try lightly sautéing them in safflower oil!)
Loaded with vitamin E, almonds are one of the best foods you can eat for optimal skin health. The vitamin E in almonds helps to protect your skin against dangerous UVA and UVB rays from the sun, and believe it or not, eating almonds can actually keep you from getting as sunburned when you spend time outside. Still, that doesn’t mean you should leave the sunscreen at home and pack a bag of almonds instead.
Along with protecting your skin from the sun, the vitamin E content in almonds can help prevent free radicals that can cause wrinkles and fine lines from damaging your skin.
The vitamin C in sweet potatoes may slow down wrinkles.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which can help boost the amount of collage your body produces. More collagen production equals fewer wrinkles and fine lines. The best part is that even a small amount of sweet potato is beneficial for your skin, so you don’t have to feel bad the next time you sneak a few sweet potato fries. Of course, you’re better off baking that sweet potato since you’ll get more vitamins and nutrients out of it that way.
(Hint: sprinkle your sweet potato with cinnamon, a healthy spice, for a delicious and nutritious combination!)
Foods to Avoid
People used to think that certain foods were bad for their skin – mostly unhealthy foods like potato chips, French fries and refined chocolate. While we’ve found out that some of those foods may not be great for your waistline but not so hard on your skin, there are still some foods you should avoid, especially if you have problem skin.
People that suffer from conditions like eczema should avoid eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and products that contain refined sugar, as these may make the condition worse.
Acne, proving stubborn to treat as ever, isn’t caused by fried foods, though some people notice a reduction in severity when they stop eating them. There is some evidence that foods high in carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates like pasta and white bread, may cause acne. More research needs to be done here, but people with acne should consider avoiding them and noting any changes in their skin.