As the saying goes, we are what we eat… Now this can work to your advantage or disadvantage, depending on the foods and beverages you choose to indulge in. What you put on your plate has power to improve your skin, so here are my top 10 beauty foods.
Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have been found to have positive effects on inflammation, depression, heart disease and more, salmon has beauty benefits for your skin as well. Since our bodies don’t have the ability to produce the fatty acids, including them in your diet helps reinforce your skin’s barrier, and keep moisture in and irritants out. For an optimal dose of omega-3’s, choose wild salmon over farm-raised.
Carrots: This vegetable is orange thanks to high levels of beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A (which also happens to be a form of the main active ingredient in Retin-A). This vitamin has been found to decrease the skin’s oil production, and there’s also some evidence that it can improve psoriasis. You can also find vitamin A in leafy greens, squash and mangoes.
Milk: In addition to the calcium our bones need, milk is a great source of vitamin D. This is good for your skin because getting your daily dose of “D” from milk means you don’t have to get unprotected sun exposure, which helps prevent wrinkles and discoloration.
Almonds: In addition to the protein you get from snacking on these nuts, they’re also rich in vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant helps prevent signs of aging caused by free radicals, and may even bolster your skin’s defense against skin cancer. Studies also suggest that vitamin E consumed orally can increase its levels on the skin’s surface, which is good news for those with dry skin.
Safflower and sunflower oil: Swapping out your olive oil for safflower or sunflower oil can work wonders for your skin. It still has the great taste, but it’s higher in linoleic acid, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6’s help support your skin cells’ membranes, and may also reduce cellular inflammation, which has been associated with aging.
Broccoli: If you were to only eat one vegetable (although I advise you get a wide variety), make it broccoli. It contains myriad good-for-your-skin vitamins including A (which we talked about earlier); C, which is a fantastic antioxidant that also supports collagen production; and K, which speeds bruise healing and may even help improve dark under-eye circles.
Berries: Fruits and vegetables owe their vibrant colors to antioxidants, and berries are a wonderful source. If your diet includes blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and the like, you’ll get a range of protective antioxidants that shield your skin from free radicals.
Spices: Like berries, spices are rich in antioxidants. Some of the best ones are cumin, oregano, ginger and cinnamon, and in addition to making your food taste better, they’ll help protect your skin, too. A few words to the wise: If you have rosacea, spices can aggravate flushing and blushing, so make a note if certain spices worsen your symptoms.
Dark chocolate: Not only is dark chocolate a treat for your sweet tooth, it’s a treat for your skin, too. Cacao contains high levels of polyphenol antioxidants, but any old chocolate won’t do. Look for high cacao concentrations (better dark chocolates will say this right on the label) because these have less sugar, which can actually be bad for your skin.
Watermelon: Though it may sound counterintuitive, the high concentration of water in watermelon can actually reduce the water retention that leads to puffiness around the eyes. And because watermelon is low in sugar (as compared to many other fruits), you don’t have to worry about glycation, the chemical reaction that compromises collagen and leads to lines and wrinkles.
Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through Derm.net.