Eat more of these foods for healthier, softer, younger-looking skin.
Fatty fish, such as herring, mackerel, and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to keep skin healthy and soft, and may decrease the effect of harmful UV rays. 1 One symptom of omega-3 deficiency is dry skin, so if you notice that your skin is particularly dry, increasing your consumption of fatty fish may help to restore your skin’s moisture. 2 Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation, which in turn can help some people reduce redness and acne. 3
Try: swapping your regular burgers out with salmon burgers, topping your favorite salad with grilled salmon, or taking fish oil supplements.
* Pro Tip: Make sure your fish oil is sourced from wild fish and screened for heavy metals. Additionally, storing in refrigeration is important to improve shelf life and decrease the oxidative process.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene (the pigment that gives orange fruits and vegetables their color and is converted to vitamin A in the body). 4 5 Eating foods rich in betacarotene may give skin a healthy glow and help to protect it from the sun’s rays. 6
Try: making oven-roasted sweet potato fries, mashing sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, adding diced roasted sweet potatoes to salads, rice bowls, or tacos.
Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and vitamin C, all of which contribute to healthy, supple skin. 7 8 The consumption of avocados is associated with reducing the look of aging, including wrinkles and sun damage. 9 10 More research needs to be conducted, but one study found that women who increased their avocado consumption saw their skin become tighter, smoother, and reduced the appearance of wrinkles. 11
Try: topping toast with mashed avocado, adding avocado slices to your favorite salad, adding avocado to your morning smoothie, or mixing mashed avocado into scrambled eggs
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and has been shown to improve skin health. 12 One study found that consuming dark chocolate increased blood flow and nutrient delivery to the skin. 13 Another study found that participants who ate 20 grams of high-antioxidant dark chocolate per day could withstand twice the amount of UV radiation before developing a sunburn compared to before they began eating dark chocolate. 14
Try: swapping out candy bars for fair trade organic dark chocolate, topping your favorite frozen dessert with dark chocolate shavings, adding dark chocolate chips to oatmeal, making a batch of these double chocolate avocado cookies.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the healing capacity of food and other natural health practices, naturopathic medicine may be a good fit for you.