Sure, we all want healthy, glowing skin. But aside from stocking your bathroom shelves with dermatologist-developed clean skincare products, is your diet helping you conquer your complexion goals?
Of course, it’s not only important what you put onto your skin; how you nourish your body also largely factors into getting that elusive glow.
While we’ve discussed the benefits of supplements and other ingestibles before, let’s look at what foods you should add to your next grocery haul.
What Nutrients Are Good for Healthy Skin and Why?
Healthy skin is hydrated, balanced, and protected with the right nutrients.
It should come as no surprise that some of your go-to skincare active ingredients are also incredible for your complexion when you include them in your diet.
Here’s a closer look at some familiar nutrients that nourish your skin both inside and out, plus how exactly they promote skin health:
- Antioxidants (such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and selenium): promote glowing skin, fight free radicals, protect against aging and cell damage
- Collagen: reduces wrinkle formation, supports youthful-looking skin
- Hyaluronic acid: provides hydration, plumps skin
- Omega fatty acids: evens out skin tone, protects against UV damage
5 of the Best Foods for Healthy Skin
To complement your skincare regimen, here are some of the best foods to eat for healthy skin.
Remember the major pomegranate juice boom from a few years back? This darkly pigmented, tart drink still deserves its place in the spotlight due to its high antioxidant content. Not only is it one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C—ideal for both pro-aging and immune-boosting benefits—but pomegranate juice also packs skin-protecting vitamin E and anti-inflammatory polyphenols.
Other antioxidant-rich foods: citrus fruits, berries, green tea
Derived from animal sources like cows and chickens, bone broth is rich in both hyaluronic acid (a hydration powerhouse) and collagen (a protein with multiple pro-aging benefits). Whether you sip it on its own, include it as a soup/stew base, or cook grains with it, bone broth is arguably one of the very best foods for healthy skin.
Other foods that support hyaluronic acid production: sweet potatoes, leafy greens, tomatoes
Salmon is among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote smooth, even, hydrated skin. They can also help tame redness and reduce the severity of breakouts. Omega-3s are considered “essential” fatty acids since the body can’t produce them on their own.
Also, it’s worth noting that the perpetually youthful Victoria Beckham eats salmon every day. (If she’s not the perfect spokesperson for higher fatty acid intake, I don’t know who is!) But if a daily serving sounds like overkill, the American Heart Association recommends eating it twice weekly.
Otherwise, you can also look for a high-quality omega-3 supplement.
Other omega-rich fatty fish: sardines, albacore tuna, mackerel
Luckily, this food favorite isn’t just delicious and nutritious, but also super beneficial for your skin. Avocados are a good source of vitamins C and E, the benefits of which we explored earlier. They’re also among the top dietary sources of healthy fat, which can boost skin elasticity. They may also protect against sun damage and resulting inflammation.
Tip: For your next brunch date, consider opting for a salmon avocado toast to make your skin and taste buds sing.
Other foods rich in healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds
Talk about saving the best for last! Rumor has long had it that red wine is good for your heart, but the same compounds behind that claim can also encourage better skin health. Red wine is rich in polyphenols—particularly resveratrol—which protects your skin and body alike against accelerated aging spurred by free radical damage.
Yet remember, excessive alcohol intake can, among other things, actually rob your skin of its luster. So moderation is key when it comes to reaping red wine’s skin benefits. One glass here and there should do the trick to get glowing while winding down.
Other foods with polyphenols: dark chocolate, cloves, chestnuts
Just as you opt for clean ingredients to boost your complexion, it’s equally important to prioritize skin and overall health alike with a healthy diet. When you feel good, you look good—and eating more of the right foods can help you achieve both.
Beautiful, hydrated, healthy skin may be an ideal, yet it’s completely within reach with the right inside-out regimen. And while this isn’t an exhaustive list of the best foods for healthy skin—luckily, there are many!—it’s a great starting point to love (and show love to) the skin you’re in.
Michele Ross is a beauty and lifestyle writer based in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about clean skincare and hiking in the California sunshine (with adequate SPF, of course).