The weight loss industry is big business in the U.S., and the beauty industry is nipping right at its heels. While there aren’t necessarily magic lotions and potions that can legitimately turn back the hands of time, it doesn’t stop people from trying! Since we are essentially what we eat, it’s no surprise that the two (diet and beauty) go hand-in-hand. Foods that promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle also promote youthful-looking skin and can help keep you looking radiant from the inside-out.
So, if you’re aspiring to get a J Lo-type glow this summer season, you may want to turn to your local supermarket for beautifying foods that can keep you feeling your best – both inside and outside.
Foods to add to your diet for glowing skin
These foods have been shown to offer anti-wrinkling and moisturizing properties, UV protection, or acne prevention – ultimately with the potential to improve the overall appearance of your skin. So, eat up!
- Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and veggies for anti-wrinkling properties. As if you need more incentive to eat your fruits and veggies, here you go. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers sought to examine the connection between the appearance of aging, wrinkled skin, and diet. The strongest correlation was found between vitamin C intake and better-looking skin – meaning that those who ate more fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and berries, had less dry and wrinkled skin.
- Healthy fats for skin moisture. In the same data, researchers also discovered that higher intakes of linoleic acid – an unsaturated fatty acid found in plants such as flax, walnuts, and canola oil – were associated with better skin appearance. In another study looking at food and wrinkles published in 2001, researchers determined that subjects with a higher intake of unsaturated fats and a lower intake of saturated and trans fat had less skin wrinkling. Likewise, omega-3 fatty acids or those unsaturated fats found in fatty fish, like salmon, have been shown to help reduce overall itching, scaling of the skin, and improved moisture content, which may play a role in wrinkle prevention.
- Antioxidants for UV protection. In addition to piling on the SPF, you may want to munch on some foods that offer natural sunscreen-type properties during the dog days of summer. Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, and guava, for example, provide the important antioxidant, lycopene, which has been linked to skin protection from UV damage. Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which can be found in carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos, and papaya seem to exhibit similar results.
- Dairy-free and low-glycemic foods for acne prevention. Researchers have also looked at the potential food culprits linked to acne and what can be done to help control sebum production (which can lead to oily skin) from a dietary perspective. Research has shown that higher-glycemic foods – those foods generally high in added sugar or refined carbohydrates and low in nutrient content (thus causing your blood sugar to spike) – like processed candies, desserts, or sodas, may play a role in acne. In addition, researchers believe that dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream, may increase sex hormones, which increase sebum production, ultimately leading to an increase in acne.
Bottom line: For healthful looking skin, eat a plant-rich diet full of fruits and veggies, consider decreasing your intake of dairy foods and those super-sugary desserts, and enjoy healthful, unsaturated fats. Also, strive for less stress, nix your smoking habit, and make sleep a priority. All of these habits help to foster a healthier version of you – which you may start noticing with improved skin!
Glowing skin smoothie recipes
Try out these two dairy-free recipes containing healthy fats and vitamin-C rich produce for glowing skin this summer.
- Spinach Citrus Slimdown: Get your skin glowing from the inside out with this vitamin C-rich blend. Orange and strawberries shine in this citrusy smoothie that also contains heart-healthy fats, thanks to the chia seeds.
- Mixed Berry Social: Fuel your summer days with some of our favorite ingredients. Antioxidant-loaded mixed berries and healthy plant fats from avocado and nut butter make this simple smoothie a standout. Take to the park, beach, or even work for bright and cheery days ahead.
McKenzie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, nutrition writer and communicator, who truly loves meeting and connecting with people. Grounded in science with an integrative and holistic approach, she aims to make the world a healthier, happier place by helping people feel their best from the inside out and encouraging others to restore a judgment-free relationship with food. McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publicationEnvironmental Nutrition and her numerous articles, nutrition tips, and recipes can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine, and more.
McKenzie graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Bastyr University in Seattle. She is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a member of the dietetic practice group, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. When she’s not dishing out nutrition tidbits, you can find McKenzie cooking in her sunny kitchen, hiking along with her favorite Southern California trails, or packing her bags and heading out for her next adventure.