10 Foods That Can Boost Skin Glow From Within

written by JOSIE SANTI
Source: rawpixel
Source: rawpixel

It sounds cliché to say “beauty starts from within,” but that old-school aphorism is pretty accurate regarding skin health (also self-confidence and kindness, but that’s an article for another day). Just like you feel your best when you eat certain foods, your skin can benefit from your diet, too. “Since we are what we eat, it’s no surprise that diet and beauty go hand-in-hand,” explained McKenzie Jones, RDN, CLT. “Foods that promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle also promote youthful-looking skin and can help keep you looking radiant from the inside, out.”

On a recent episode of The Everygirl Podcast, Maria Marlowe (otherwise known as The Acne Nutritionist) shared why diet can may help clear acne and boost glow from within, just like your skincare is doing from the outside. “Topical vitamin C can help to brighten the skin and [improve] hyperpigmentation, but when we eat vitamin C-rich foods, it actually helps your skin on an internal level.” Working toward better skin? The produce aisle can be a part of your glow-up. Add these 10 foods to your list for your next grocery-store run.

1. Avocados

Instagram’s favorite toast is just as good for your complexion as it is for your feed. “Avocados contain healthy fats (like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) that work to keep skin flexible and moisturized,” explained Valerie Agyeman, RDN, founder of Flourish Heights. “Monounsaturated fatty acids keep the surface of your skin moist, while polyunsaturated fatty acids guard the skin from sun damage. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids, which help protect against free radical damage.” Load up on the millennial-beloved fruit (yes, it is a fruit!) for skin hydration and radiant glow. 

Try it:

2. Tomatoes

A study by researchers at Manchester and Newcastle Universities found that eating five tablespoons of tomato paste daily helped improve the skin’s ability to protect against harmful UV rays, thanks to the antioxidant lycopene (what makes the tomato its signature red shade). UV protection does not only help prevent more serious conditions like skin cancer, but can also protect against signs of premature aging and dark spots, making anything that might protect against UV-damage officially a beauty food. Cooking tomatoes increases their lycopene levels, so go ahead and load up on pasta sauce (but FYI, still wear your SPF). 

Try it:

3. Lemon juice

As if you needed another reason to DIY spa water, lemon juice is packed with vitamin C. “Vitamin C helps produce collagen, and works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals that can damage our cells,” explained Stefanie Wilkerson, RDN. While it’s acidic by nature, lemon has alkalizing effects on the body, meaning it might help balance pH levels. When pH levels are imbalanced, the skin can become sensitive and irritated. Bonus: Adding lemon adds some flavor to your water, making you want to drink more of it (and that’s a huge skincare perk). 

Try it:

Source: @kayla_seah

4. Garlic

Not only is garlic super delicious on bread, but it can be good for your skin. Jennifer Irvine, nutritional expert and founder of healthy food delivery service, The Pure Package, told Get the Gloss that garlic is “full of a naturally occurring chemical called allicin, which acts against harmful bacteria when digested. This includes bacteria that can cause acne and other skin infections.”

Try it:

5. Sweet Potatoes

The orange alternative to the classic white potato is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. “If you’re a skincare junkie, you might recognize the term ‘retinol,’ which is essentially a different form of vitamin A. Vitamin A (from foods like sweet potatoes) helps with skin turnover by promoting the maturation of skin cells,” advised May Zhu RDN, the founder of Nutrition Happens. That means fewer wrinkles, clearer skin, and a glowing complexion.

Try it:

6. Blueberries

You’ve probably heard about the importance of antioxidants for skin glow from skincare bottles or your dermatologist. Antioxidants can help protect your skin health, and blueberries are one of the easiest ways to get them in your diet.

Try it:

Source: @cynthialions

7. Leafy greens

Good news for your kale salads: “Both kale and spinach are rich in a variety of potent antioxidants that help reduce skin inflammation,” Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, told Allure. Greens like collard greens, spinach, and kale contain zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that can help even skin tone. Aim for adding leafy greens to at least two meals daily for optimal benefits.

Try it:

8. Flaxseeds

Seeds loaded with omega-3s and fiber (like flaxseeds) are a staple in plant-based diets, but they’re also great for healthy skin. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who ate about half a teaspoon of flaxseeds experienced significantly less skin irritation and redness in six weeks, along with better-hydrated skin. “Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain cellular health, reduce inflammation, and maintain a healthy skin barrier,” agreed Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills. Marlowe even recommended eating flaxseeds if you have a breakout to help reduce inflammation in the skin. Add half a teaspoon to your smoothie or even your favorite pasta recipe to easily incorporate the superfood into your diet. 

Try it:

9. Fatty Fish

Many nutritionists (and Victoria Beckham) swear by fatty fish like salmon for skin hydration and glow. “Omega-3s and collagen help retain moisture in the skin, nourishing it from the inside out,” explained Rima Kleiner, MS, RD, founder of Dish on Fish. “Seafood is rich in both omega-3s and collagen. Eating oily fish like salmon and tuna at least twice a week will help lower your risk of dry, cracked skin.” FYI, The American Heart Association recommends eating 3.5 ounces of fatty fish at least two times per week, but talk to your doctor about what’s best for your diet and lifestyle.

Try it:

10. Dark Chocolate

Potentially the best news ever: Dark chocolate isn’t just a dessert, it’s officially a beauty food. According to a 2014 study, cocoa’s antioxidants can protect the skin from oxidative stress that leads to premature skin aging. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin. Opt for as “dark” as you can (80-90 percent cacao preferably), to avoid added sugars. Otherwise, satisfy your sweet tooth and PMS cravings while boosting skin glow. 

Try it: