Foods for Glowing Skin: 12 Nutritionist Recommended Eats
By Emily Linh
27 July 2019 - 7 minute read
Ready to chow down and reap the reward of glowing skin?
The world is changing, and with it changes our understanding of how our bodies respond to food, stimulus, and experiences.
Collagen production, hair growth, hormone balance, and mood can all be directly influenced by our food habits.
We’ve known for thousands of years that our diets can make or break our quest for healthy skin and hair. But now thanks to science we can understand the process behind it, and optimize it to look (dare I say) ravishing.
When it comes to skin nutrients, some hold more importance than others. Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, Vitamin B3, B5, Choline, and Folic Acid absolutely cannot be looked past on your quest for skin people rave about.
So what is the best diet for skin?
There's no one glove fits all but, there are beauty foods for skin, high in cell-regenerating nutrients will leave you looking and feeling on top of the world.
And don’t worry, glow diets don't have to be all salads and sad times. You can get stunning skin naturally and still enjoy your existance.
Here are 12 of the best foods for youthful glowing skin that you can find in nearly every supermarket.
Make sure to keep reading, the list gets better as it goes on.
Best Foods for Youthful Glowing Skin
Red Bell Peppers
Vitamin C is vital for skin health. It’s a precursor to collagen and a powerful anti-oxidant. More collagen means better skin tone, elasticity, and less fine lines.
But why do we always look to oranges to get our hit? Red bell peppers actually contain much higher levels of Vitamin C - nearly 3 times as much. In addition, antioxidants from peppers attach themselves to free radicals and stop themselves from doing damage to your skin.
These bad boys really should be a considered a superfood vegetable for improving skin tone.
Aside from providing super-sailor strength, spinach is a major player in the anti-aging game. It's all down to the high level of beta carotene spinach contains, which converts into one of the most powerful anti-aging nutrients there is - Vitamin A.
There’s also Vitamin E, iron, folate, and magnesium among others. It really is a powerhouse vegetable.
It’s best absorbed with foods high in vitamin C. If you’ve got a juicer at home, you know what to do. Daily spinach juice will give you glowing skin in a month.
How do you protect those precious skin cells from the sun? With the only food that blurs the line between fruit and vegetable - the tomato.
High in vitamin C, K, folate, and the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes aren’t to be looked past. Recent studies were performed by the Royal Society of Medicine in London. Women were given 10 grams of olive oil with five tablespoons of tomato paste daily for 12 weeks. The results showed a huge increase in the skin’s ability to fight off UV damage.
In addition to eating them, they can be applied directly to your face to minimize pores, reduce oiliness and soften the skin.
Zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin C are just a few micronutrients that can be found in broccoli. However, these little trees hold a secret to younger-looking skin - lutein.
Lutein is a carotenoid that fights dry and wrinkled skin due to its ability to protect it from oxative damage. But it doesn’t stop there. Broccoli also contains sulforaphane, known to have anti-cancer effects but also sun-protective effects.
In lab tests using sulforaphane, the number of skin cells damaged by UV rays was reduced by 29%.
The verdict is clear: brocolli is one of the best vegetables for a smooth, beautiful glow.
These deliciously nutritious fruits (yes they are a fruit) do more than make for whopper guacamole. There are good fats and bad fats in this world, and avocados are abundant in the good kind - which we need to maintain bodily functions.
Avocados have large amounts of Vitamin A, E and K, alongside folate and lutein.
In fact, in a study performed with over 700 Japanese women who were given avocadoes to eat daily, skin elasticity improved significantly thanks to the dietary fats. Crow’s feet around the eye area were examined for the results.
Clinical studies also show that xanthophylls found in these magical fruits have DNA protective and ageing protective effects.
As a general rule of thumb, nuts and seeds have great skin benefits. Sunflower seeds are particularly special due to being so nutrient dense.
The mineral Selenium can be found nearly everywhere we look, from the soil to water and in our foods. It turns out when we consume it, it safegaurds our cells by creating a protective coating around them.
This protective layer slows aging, reduces skin inflammation, protects against UV and skin infections.
A mere quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides 20mcg of selenium, which is nearly half of the recommended daily amount.
Your body needs essential fatty acids, but unfortunately it can’t make them. Luckily, walnuts are packed to the rafters with EFA’s, as well as zinc and selenium.
So what’s the deal with fatty acids?
Western diets are high omega-6, which can cause inflammation in high doses. But it also lacks in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and keep skin healthy.
Walnuts are rich in both but balanced to the point where the omega-3 can effectively combat inflammation. This is why they’re such a great choice for anyone with skin concerns.
Decent levels of zinc also help with wound healing.
Never look past fatty fish as one of the best skincare foods there is.
When I say fatty fish I’m talking about the likes of salmon, herring and mackerel. These fish are abundant in omega-3, which we all need for healthy, supple, moisturized skin.
They’re also rich in Vitamin E, the powerhouse antioxidant that protects skin from free radicals, and zinc, the wonder mineral for skin cell healing.
If you don’t have access to high-quality fresh caught fish, research has shown using a high-grade fish oil supplement can benefit the skin and even help with psoriasis and lupus.
This is where our list of foods for glowing skin starts to get really decadent.
Aside from being an aphrodisiac, oysters are immensely rich in dietary zinc, which is vital for skin repair, growth, and function.
In fact, 6 oysters provides you with 500% of your daily requirement of zinc. Get slurpin’!
You probably don’t need another reason to eat chocolate, but here it is. Turns out our favourite sweet food chocolate has an incredible impact on your skin.
Over the course of 6 - 12 weeks, studies were performed on 2 groups of women who were given cocoa powder daily. The results - thicker, more hydrated and smoother skin after 12 weeks.
There are a metric ton of studies showing the benefits of pure cocoa for the appearance of wrinkles, skin hydration and blood flow.
Just remember that milk chocolate and dark chocolate are vastly different. One is high in saturated fats, dairy and sugar. The other is an antioxidant wizard for your skin.
It's one secret worth saving.
Any red wine enthusiast will tell you they wake up with a healthy, rosy glow after a few glasses. But is this really true?
Red wine actually contains reserveratol, which is found in the skin of red grapes and is linked to many health benefits.
Interestingly, studies suggest that this compound can fight free radicals and slow aging. The sad news is the lack of evidence that there’s enough in one glass of red wine to have a significant effect on your skin.
With that being said, if you enjoy a beer or rum in the evening, swapping it out for a glass of the red stuff will probably leave you looking and feeling that little but better the next day.
According to dermatologists, if there’s one drink that will improve your skin it’s matcha.
Matcha isn’t any old green tea. The leaves are protected from sunlight their entire life, which stimulates chlorophyll production giving matcha its signature green color and astounding health benefits. The entire leaf is then dried and powdered.
It’s the mother of all superfoods. A natural supplement for glowing skin. One cup of matcha has more antioxidants than any other food, with 7 times that of dark chocolate and 60 times that of spinach.
Studies on green tea show it can potentially fight free radicals and UV damage. Considering matcha uses the whole leaf, it’s much more potent than standard green tea.
All it takes is one cup of matcha a day to rejuvenate your skin as a result of sleep loss, smoking and toxicities in the air.
The bottom line
Diet and lifestyle are two of the biggest factors when it comes to claiming healthy skin and hair.
Try and incorporate as many of the above list as possible on a weekly basis.
But most importantly, enjoy yourself. The quest for beautiful skin isn’t worth it if you’re tormenting yourself day in and day out.
A simple salad with dinner. A handful of seeds while you’re watching Love Island. A cheeky bit of chocolate and red wine before you hit the bed. Find the balance between a nutritous food routine with the occasional reward (looking at you vino).
So get up, get movin' and glow your skin.
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Behind the Words
Freelance model and self-proclaimed skincare guru, Emily lives to help other women feel beautiful in their skin. Otherwise, you can catch her at the local street vendor eating to her hearts content.