Your skin is a window into your health and the types of foods you eat can impact the color, texture and luminescence of your skin. Foods that boost your immune system and prevent illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, can also make your skin more radiant, healthy and youthful looking.
UConn Health Center dermatologist Meagen McCusker says the first step in improving your skin is removing the “AGE-ing” foods in your diet. That means avoiding sugar, high fructose corn syrup and most white foods.
“Your next step to healthier-looking skin is to get your intestinal immune system in shape,” says McCusker. She suggests the best way to support your gut is to consume a high-grade, pharmaceutical probiotic (20-50 billion colonies) daily. You can also add ground flax meal to your breakfast smoothie or cup of yogurt. Flax seed is a superfood prebiotic with essential fats and anti-inflammatory fibers.
Now your body is ready to make the most of the following superfoods you consume.
Fabulous Fats: wild salmon and sardines, grass-fed beef; hemp and flax; almonds and walnuts.
“Fatty fish like salmon have Omega-3 fatty acids which are responsible for healthy cell membranes and the overall health of the various cells in the body. The stronger the walls of the cells, the more water is kept in, thus making skin cells look more vibrant, plumper and overall more youthful,” explains McCusker.
Flax seeds also contain essential fatty acids that improve your skin. Almonds and walnuts are packed full of vitamin E and rich in monounsaturated fat, which is a “good” fat known for lowering cholesterol and keeping cell membranes strong and intact.
- Red grapes, red cabbage, red wine
- Orange and yellow peppers
- Kale, beet greens and broccoli
- Garlic, onions and leeks
- Chocolate (70-85% cocoa)
“These foods are super-charged antioxidants that help repair skin cells and slow down skin cancer cells,” says McCusker. “They help give skin a youthful glow while preventing aging.”
McCusker also recommends the following supplements and topicals to boost your skin nutrition:
- Vitamin A: retinoic acid (by prescription), retinol
- Vitamin C and E
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Alpha-hydroxy acids: lactic acid and glycolic acid