Quite often, we have heard the adage, “you are what you eat.” Truly, the key to beautiful skin starts from within. Your diet can substantially influence your skin health and promote skin growth. The dead skin sheds itself from time to time, and the body makes new cells from the food you consume. So what you eat becomes YOU! Thus, you have a choice to control what you are made of.
A steady supply of crucial nutrients helps to promote rapid growth, retain the pH balance, and makes the skin remain soft and blemish-free. Certain foods contain ample essential nutrients and antioxidants that combat aging, keep the skin hydrated, and enable your skin to look its best.
Here’s a list such foods that every person must include in his/her daily diet.
Almonds are excellent for not just satiating the hunger pangs between the meals, but also enhancing the appearance of the skin. Almonds contain essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids and the right concentration of omega-6 fatty acids (Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA). The human body cannot produce essential fatty acids naturally, and hence they have to be procured from the diet. Studies have shown that CLA makes the skin look younger and also aids in muscle growth. Almonds are a rich source of CLA and, hence, are perfect for the skin. However, here’s a word of caution; almonds are calorie-rich foods and, therefore, should be limited to only a handful per day.
Blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are not only delicious additions to a decadent dessert but also superfoods for the skin. Berries are loaded with high antioxidant content and help fight aging of the skin by minimizing the impact of free radical damage. Berries are also loaded with vitamin C. A single serving of 100 gm of blackberries contains 35% of a person’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C and 14% of the RDA of fiber. Both vitamin C and fiber are involved in the functioning of various body parts, including the skin.
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in regulating the immune function and, also, in the synthesis of proteins that help in collagen production. Collagen is a structural protein that helps in maintaining the skin healthy and young. A robust immune system and sufficient collagen production aid in many vital functions of the body, including wound healing and maintaining healthy skin. The human body cannot synthesize vitamin C on its own. Hence, it becomes imperative to include foods, like berries, which are rich in vitamin C. Fiber, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels. Consuming fiber-rich foods like berries can help flush out toxins from the body and, thereby, enhance the health and appearance of the skin. So, top up your morning cereal with berries or toss them into your salads.
This crunchy, delicious snack is an excellent source of vitamins, powerful nutrients, and fibers. Individuals prone to skin problems like psoriasis or rashes may benefit from regular consumption of carrots. Carrots contain vitamin C that helps the skin recover quickly from trauma and wounds, plus the beta-carotene found in carrots reduces the inflammation of the skin, thereby helping in faster healing of wounds. Further, research has shown that people who had the highest consumption of carotenoids (i.e., the pigments found naturally in carrots) were six times less prone to developing skin cancer against those who did not consume carotenoids. Additionally, the vitamin A found in carrots helps in enhancing the skin complexion by toning down the wrinkles and promoting a robust skin cell production.
#4. Whole Wheat Bread:
Whole–grain food, such as whole-wheat bread, helps to promote healthy skin. They are an excellent alternative to the regular white bread or white pasta, which can cause a spike in sugar levels and may not be beneficial for the skin. Whole wheat bread contains fiber that aids in digestion and results in better-looking skin. While digestion is the last thing that comes to mind when one thinks of skin health, the truth is that many skin problems emanate from a weak digestive system. Poor digestion can manifest in the skin as a result of low levels of various fat-soluble nutrients and vitamins. Fiber-rich whole wheat bread can, thus, be a healthy choice for a good breakfast.
#5. High–Fat Yogurt:
High-fat yogurt acts as an excellent probiotic that aids better digestion and ensures a happy gut and skin. Probiotics are good bacteria that aid in proper gut health. Many skin problems, like rosacea, skin burns, delay in wound healing, inflammation, etc., are linked to low levels of good bacteria in the gut. Yogurt also contains nutrients like zinc and lactic acid. Zinc acts as a mild astringent that helps tighten tissues and regulate the production of oil in the sebaceous glands, which prevent oily skin and acne breakouts. The lactic acid, which is one of the prime ingredients in yogurt, helps in exfoliating and moisturizing dry skin and, also, reducing wrinkles.
Further, the calcium content in yogurt facilitates skin renewal, for a significant part of the epidermal layer of our skin comprises calcium. Yogurt is also rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B5, and B12. Riboflavin is necessary for skin regeneration and helps in keeping the skin hydrated. Riboflavin also prevents oxidative damage to cells.
Green vegetables, like broccoli, are great for the skin. Dark green broccoli florets contain more vitamins A and C, both of which help in reducing wrinkles and fine lines. Broccoli can help in regeneration of skin with its unique constituent called glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin is unique to broccoli and cauliflower and can regenerate sun-damaged skin. Furthermore, broccoli is loaded with beta carotene, vitamin B, and vitamin E, which makes the skin healthy and youthful. The broccoli florets also contain a special compound called sulforaphane, which is supposed to act as a chemopreventive agent and protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun. 
Avocados are replete with numerous antioxidants and essential vitamins, like A, E, and C, which enhance and nourish the skin from within and fight early aging. Avocados are a common ingredient in various face masks given the benefit they do to the skin. Despite having high-fat content, avocados are still popular as they are a treasure trove of many healthy fats. Avocado pulp is rich in antioxidants, like beta carotene, linoleic acid, and lecithin, which help to moisturize the skin. The vitamin E content in avocado helps in protecting the skin from oxidative damage and treating chapped lips.
Researches show that Vitamin E works better in combination with vitamin C ,, and avocados contain both. The polyhydroxylated fatty acids in avocado help to protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun. Avocados also contain lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties and helps in fighting acne. In addition to the above features, the antioxidants present in avocado help to eliminate dead skin cells, de-clog the pores, and exfoliate the skin from inside.
#8. Sweet Potatoes:
The sweet news is that sweet potato is a healthy source of beta-carotene, which acts as a natural sunblock. Sweet potatoes serve as a precursor to Vitamin A and get converted by the body into vitamin A. A healthy dose of Vitamin A helps reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
#9. Bell Peppers:
Similar to sweet potatoes, the red, yellow, and green bell peppers are also a rich source of beta-carotene that helps in the production of vitamin A. Bell peppers are also a rich source of vitamin C required to produce the protein collagen that helps to keep the skin healthy and robust.
The versatile walnuts contain essential fats like omega-3 that helps to retain moisture in the skin and prevent it from having breakouts. They also reduce scalp irritation. However, do not overindulge in these nuts as they contain a high amount of calories.
#11. Chocolates, Sea Foods, and Green Tea:
The people who enjoy seafood and have a sweet tooth can also incorporate skincare through diet by including cold-water fatty fish like herrings, salmon, and sardines, which are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and dark chocolates, which contain antioxidants and minerals beneficial for the skin. All of these dietary components help in promoting healthy skin. Green tea is another appealing option for it contains compounds called catechins, which help promote blood flow to the skin and improve its elasticity.
The Bottom Line...
While each type of food discussed above has different individual benefits for the skin, it is essential to find a proper balance by eating a wholesome diet that is rich in minerals and antioxidants. Finally, do not forget to drink ample water, which is the easiest way to promote healthy skin.
As you eat, so shall your skin reap!