My mother always says, “The old grey mare ain’t what she used to be.” And while certain things do get finer with age, let’s face it, getting older does suck in a number of ways. We don’t have the energy we used to…we can’t get away with as much with our diets…we don’t bounce back nearly as quickly from an extra glass of wine or a poor night’s sleep…we aren’t nearly as limber…we’re stiff and sometimes cranky…we don’t digest foods as well…you can probably add about a dozen more things.
But worst of all, most of us just LOOK older. Ugh. Even though they say beauty is only skin deep (I’d like to know who the heck “they” are), the fact is your skin is the most visible indicator of age. As we get older, our skin can scream “older” in a number of ways:
- It becomes thinner
- It loses elasticity and firmness
- It loses smoothness
- It begins to sag
- It loses its bright glow
In other words, the writing’s not on the wall…it’s on your skin in the form of…bags under your eyes…crow’s feet…wrinkles…sagging skin on your neck…age spots on your face and hands…an overall dull appearance.
And all those are not just unappealing or embarrassing, aging skin is a telltale sign of how fast you’re aging on a cellular level. But guess what? There’s good news! There are simple, fairly easy things you can do about it. You see, there are several controllable factors that accelerate skin aging, including excessive sun and UV ray exposure, environmental toxins, smoking, chronic stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and repetitive movements (like squinting and frowning).
What about diet? Absolutely, what you eat—and how much—can dramatically impact skin health and healthy aging. Before I jump into the best foods for healthy skin, I want to mention that overeating and poor food choices (like foods containing refined carbohydrates, added sugars, refined vegetable and seed oils, and trans fats…basically all processed “foods”) crank up the aging process on ALL levels.
Enough of the grim news already. Add more of these foods to your diet to boost skin health, combat those visual signs of aging, and let it glow!
The 6 Best Foods for Healthy Skin
1. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are synonymous with vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant that combats free radicals. When it comes to skin aging, antioxidants like vitamin C are HUGE. Oxidative stress (which results when there’s an imbalance of free radicals compared to antioxidants) is a major driver of skin aging (and aging overall). Vitamin C also helps your body make new collagen, which is the main structural protein in skin, helping keep it healthy, firm, and tight. Vitamin C has been shown to provide wrinkle relief and help repair sun-damaged skin (also called photo-aging). Here are some of the top vitamin C-rich citrus fruits:
- Ugli fruit
2. Orange-Colored Fruits and Veggies
Orange-colored fruits and vegetables get their color from an antioxidant called ß-carotene, which is a carotenoid the body converts to vitamin A. Like other carotenoids (such as astaxanthin, lycopene, retinol), it protects against sunlight damage. In fact, it has been shown to protect against sunburn. Try out some of these foods:
- Sweet potatoes
3. Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
What makes dark green, leafy vegetables one of the best foods for healthy skin is the fact they are chockfull of a number of skin-nourishing nutrients, including the powerful antioxidant vitamins C and E, which work hand-in-hand to combat oxidative stress and protect against photo-aging. Vitamin E also protects the collagen in skin, helping prevent loss of elasticity and stiffness. Here are some of the best nutrient-rich dark, leafy greens:
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
- Beet greens
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
4. Bone broth
Bone broth is all the rage these days. It’s one of the most trending foods, recipes, and supplements, and when it comes to skin health, it’s for a very good reason. Bone broth is one of the best sources of collagen, which gives skin its strength, smoothness, elasticity, and youthful glow. (Collagen literally comes from the Greek word for “glue.”) Research shows that higher intakes of collagen increase skin moisture and reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. Winner!
Tomatoes contain vitamin C, ß-carotene, and vitamin E. But most of all, tomatoes are known for lycopene, the carotenoid that gives tomatoes their bright red color. Lycopene is also the most dominant carotenoid in the human skin, and it protects the skin from oxidative stress, photo-aging, and even sunburn.
Salmon is a very good source of two very powerful anti-inflammatory compounds: omega-3 fats and the antioxidant astaxanthin, which nourish and protect the skin. Like oxidative stress, persistent unhealthy levels of inflammation are like throwing gasoline on the skin-aging fire—not good. Supplementation with astaxanthin has been shown to reduce wrinkles (e.g., crow’s feet) and age spots while improving skin elasticity, texture, and moisture. With all of this, it is no surprise salmon is one of the best foods for healthy skin.
Fight Off Father Time with These Foods For Healthy Skin
Getting older doesn’t have to suck. And you don’t have to wear your age on your skin. Combat skin aging and restore your youthful glow by eating these foods for healthy skin. And while you’re at it, take inventory of those other factors—like stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, overeating, and eating processed foods—that put the pedal to the skin-aging metal.