11 Foods to Eat for Healthier Skin

A more youthful glow is just a healthy meal away.

Kiwi

One of vitamin C‘s most powerful roles is producing collagen, a protein that gives your skin its elasticity. Collagen breaks down as you age and causes wrinkle formation, but a vitamin C-packed kiwi can provide 141% of your daily value and help counteract this effect, says Lauren Ploch, M.D., M.Ed., FAAD, a New Orleans-based dermatologist.

Salmon

“The fish’s high amounts of omega-3 fatty acidshelp reduce inflammation, which can affect how skin looks,” explains Tamara Melton, M.S., R.D.N., L.D. Nutrients like vitamin D and antioxidants can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and help with acne and rosacea, Ploch adds.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes boast lycopene, a pigment that’s naturally found in skin. While it won’t replace sunscreen, this antioxidant can offer long-term protection against UV radiation and neutralize harmful free radicals, says Rajani Katta, M.D., a dermatologist in Houston.

Bell Peppers

Regularly eating these vitamin C-rich veggies naturally boosts your body’s collagen, which helps keep your skin firm and youthful-looking. Bonus: Vitamin C also strengthens your immune system, so adding sliced peppers to salads and sandwiches can also keep that winter cold away.

Leafy Greens

These powerhouse veggies are packed with the carotene compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which are integral for protecting and hydrating your skin cells and keeping skin damage at bay. Try eating them in smoothies, salads, sautés and even as snacks, like baked kale chips.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain selenium, an important mineral that helps protect our skin from sun damage. Try swapping portobello “steaks” for high-fat red meat, or add the sautéed or raw versions to a salad.

Shellfish

Zinc is another immune-boosting mineral that can help protect skin cells from long-term damage. Luckily, it’s found in all kinds of shellfish like shrimp, oysters and mussels. Even better, they’re lower in calories as sources of lean protein.

Strawberries

These bright berries are full of good-for-you vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which maintain and promote skin health. The best part? Even though they’re seasonal, they retain their nutrients when frozen, so you can enjoy the skin-soothing benefits all year round.

Sunflower Seeds

Nuts and seeds alike are packed with vitamin E, which helps protect our body’s cells and give our skin a healthy glow. Plus, since vitamin E has also been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, sprinkling sunflower seeds into salads, soups, sautés or eating a handful as a snack delivers an extra health perk.

Mangoes

Mangoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which helps your skin repair itself, stay smooth and even delay the appearance of wrinkles. And — yes, there’s more! — they’re packed with vitamin A, which protects cells and helps them regenerate. When they’re out of season, you can get the same effects from winter squash and sweet potatoes (both SuperCarbs!), as well as carrots, cantaloupe and apricots.

Eggs

Eggs are a source of lutein, which helps keep skin hydrated and firm. It also promotes the natural oils that help keep you looking radiant, so feel free to start your day with a veggie omelet. Or, in place of higher-fat proteins, try adding it to sandwiches.

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