Try these foods to promote skin health

As a registered dietitian, one of the more common questions I’m asked from readers and clients is about skin health — particularly how to get glowing, clear skin.

I also know firsthand what it’s like to have skin that sits at both sides of the spectrum, having everything from acne in my teens and early 20s to clear and glowing skin now. During those times when my skin was less than amazing, I found that, in addition to reducing my stress levels, removing certain food triggers from my diet helped my skin improve.

While there are many foods that may offer a number of benefits when it comes to skin health, there are some I personally turn to. Check out my favorite five below.

There’s a good chance you’ve already heard that carrots are good for your eyes, but did you know they can do wonders for your skin, too? Foods rich in beta carotene, like carrots, may be helpful in reducing sun sensitivity among certain folks. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, which may help skin heal faster.

How to add them to your diet

Try roasted carrots with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of tahini. The tahini (healthy fat) will help your body absorb the fat-soluble antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, so you can get that glow.

I love trying to incorporate fresh fish into my meals, especially fatty fish like salmon.

Fatty fish is often included in a healthy diet since it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3s may help reduce inflammation, which can contribute to facial redness and acne. It may also decrease inflammation from psoriasis.

In addition, fatty fish is a great source of the mineral zinc. Studies show that low levels of zinc can contribute to skin inflammation and acne.

How to add it to your diet

There are a number of delicious fatty fish varieties you can incorporate into your diet. These include:

  • salmon
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • sardines

Try grilling salmon with fresh lemon and dill, and serve alongside the roasted carrots and tahini dish mentioned earlier.

That avocado toast may be doing more for you than just acting as a tasty breakfast. Fats found in avocados (think monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) are an important macronutrient in skin health. Eating enough fats has been linked to keeping the skin supple and flexible. This fruit is also a great source of vitamin E, which plays an important role in skin health.

Avocados also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which may help protect the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays that can cause wrinkles.

How to add them to your diet

There are a number of ways to incorporate avocados into your meals. These include:

  • smoothies
  • tossed into a salad with tomatoes
  • made into guacamole
  • on toast

Berries are a great source of antioxidants as well as flavonoids, which may help keep fine lines and winkles at bay.

They also contain high amounts of vitamin C, a key nutrient that plays a role in the production of collagen. This structural protein is responsible for keeping the skin firm, bouncy, and resilient. Over time, collagen production decreases, but adding berries to your diet may help with this.

How to add them to your diet

Try berries:

  • on their own
  • in a smoothie
  • on top of porridge or cold cereal

A number of issues can affect our skin health, be it stress, hormones, or even what we’re eating. While there are many methods to help combat skin issues, in some cases food may act as a preventive measure or even help lessen symptoms from certain skin conditions. So, next time your skin is feeling less than stellar, consider adding these five foods to your diet.

McKel Hill, MS, RD, is the founder of Nutrition Stripped, a healthy living website dedicated to optimizing the well-being of women all over the globe through recipes, nutrition advice, fitness, and more. Her cookbook, “Nutrition Stripped,” was a national best seller, and she’s been featured in Fitness Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine.