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Foods for Healthier and Younger-Looking Skin

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Do you want truly fabulous skin - glowing, vibrant, and, yes, younger-looking skin? Make sure you're drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy skin diet.

Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look.

The reverse is true as well. The less attention we pay to eating a healthy skin diet, the more problems we may see cropping up with our skin.

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin in shape. It keeps your skin moist and that makes fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable. It also helps your cells take in nutrients and get rid of toxins. And it helps with blood flow, keeping your skin glowing. The water in fruits, veggies, juice, and milk counts toward your total. Try adding fresh citrus or berries to liven up plain sparkling or still water. You’ll need more if you exercise vigorously or generally sweat a lot!

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.

Cod 

If there is one way all of us could improve upon in our diets, it’s eating more seafood. Less than 10% of us get the recommended 8-12 ounces per week! The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are key to offsetting inflammation, which can lead to skin cell damage, flaking, dryness, and overall dull appearance. Other great sources of omega-3's include herring, mackerel, tuna, shrimp, sardines, sea bass, halibut, and lobster.

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.

Garlic

Herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger can lend a hand, too. Early research has linked them to reducing the production of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These compounds can cause structural changes in skin when they accumulate, but your favorite flavorings may help slow down the build-up of AGEs.

Grapes

Red, green, and black grapes provide a combo of ellagic acid and resveratrol, two compounds that help combat oxidative stress. Another may also aid in maintaining skin cell regeneration.

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.

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.

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, as well as carrots, cantaloupe, and apricots.

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. 

Oats 

Oats provide selenium, an antioxidant compound that helps protect cells from damage (the type that could ultimately lead to mutation and tumor growth long-term). Plus, the prebiotics found in oats fuel your body’s beneficial probiotics, bolstering your immune system overall.

Oils

Some oils have more than essential fatty acids. Good-quality ones like extra-virgin olive oil and cold- or expeller-pressed oil are more simply processed than many other kinds. They may have more nutrients that are good for your skin. These oils may also help lube up your skin and keep it looking and feeling healthy.

Olives

The polyphenolic compounds found in olives may help protect cells from disruption and improve blood flow throughout your body. Choose these antioxidant-packed fruits to help protect skin cells and improve health overall. They'll fill you up with a combo of unsaturated fat and fiber.

Pecans 

The ellagic acid found in many plant-based foods like nuts has been linked to protecting skin cells from UV damage. Pecans also pack antioxidants and minerals, like vitamins A and E, plus calcium and potassium. They’re also a source of zinc which is another nutrient that may help to promote glowing skin and protect immunity.

Salmon

The fish's high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, which can affect how skin looks. Nutrients like vitamin D and antioxidants can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and help with acne and rosacea.

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.

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.

Watermelon

Two cups of cubed watermelon equal a full cup of water and can help you (and therefore your skin cells) stay hydrated. Plus, the beta-carotene and vitamin C found in watermelon makes it an antioxidant-packed snack. Try cutting it up and storing it in the freezer for a treat during warmer months.

Vitamin A

Nobody wants dry, flaky skin. So grab an orange, carrot, or slice of cantaloupe. They're loaded with vitamin A. You can also find it in leafy greens, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods. When you use a skin product with vitamin A, your wrinkles and brown spots may look better. Those products, called retinoids, are common prescription treatments for acne and other skin conditions.

Vitamin C

The sun can be tough on your skin. Vitamin C can help protect you. It also helps undo sun damage to collagen and elastin, which firm up your skin. Get vitamin C from red bell peppers, citrus fruits, papayas, kiwis, broccoli, greens, and brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E

Another antioxidant that may help save your skin from sun damage and inflammation is vitamin E. Get it from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, asparagus, and leafy greens.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are important to slowing and preventing free-radical damage. You can find them in all kinds of foods, especially colorful fruits and vegetables like berries, tomatoes, apricots, beets, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, peppers, and beans. Green tea may be the closest thing to a magic potion that you can find for your skin. It helps stop inflammation, helps slow DNA damage, and can even help prevent the sun from burning your skin.

CoQ10

Your body makes a key antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10. But as you get older, you make less of it. It's involved in making energy and helping your cells work. You can find CoQ10 in fish like salmon and tuna, poultry, organ meats like liver, and whole grains.  If you use a skin product that has CoQ10, it may help soften wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Healthy Fats

Omega-3s and omega-6s are good fats that help make your skin's natural oil barrier, keeping away dryness and blemishes. Essential fatty acids like these help leave your skin smoother and younger-looking. You can get them from olive and canola oils, flaxseeds, walnuts, and cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

Selenium

This mineral may help protect your skin from cells that gather free radicals. Free radicals cause signs of aging like wrinkles and dry skin, tissue damage, and probably some diseases. Selenium may also help prevent skin cancer. You can get it from Brazil nuts, button mushrooms, shrimp, lamb, and fish like snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, and salmon. Cooked beef, light turkey, oysters, sardines, crab, and whole-wheat pasta also have selenium.

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