While we all feel the same dread of looking in the mirror on an important day to see a red pimple glaring at you, there is a difference between the people who know how to fix this problem and those who just let it slide. The secret fix? Adjusting your diet.
1. Kidney Beans
This fibrous, protein-rich food also does wonders for your skin. They are very rich in zinc, which has high healing properties that help fight acne, says Papantoniou.
“Pomegranates contain polyphenols which also fight free radicals and help to regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it a nice healthy glow,” says Papantoniou. Pomegranate seeds also have a decent amount of fiber, making them a satiating way to sprinkle some color onto your salads and side dishes. Naturally-occurring fruit sugar isn’t remotely as scary as added sugar, but if you’re concerned about it, then you won’t want to go totally nuts with the pomegranate seeds.
3. Greek Yogurt
Nicknamed “the wrinkle fighter,” Greek yogurt is great for banishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “It’s rich in B vitamins, which help to detox skin,” says Papantoniou. But note the emphasis on the Greek part of this yogurt; there’s a difference. Flavored yogurt is one of the health foods that aren’t really healthy for a variety of reasons—one being that it can wrinkle your skin!
“If you were to only eat one vegetable, make it broccoli,” says Baumann. “It contains a myriad of good-for-your-skin vitamins, including A, C, which is a fantastic antioxidant that also supports collagen production. There’s also vitamin K in broccoli, which speeds up the healing of bruises and may even help improve dark undereye circles.”
“Fruits and vegetables owe their vibrant colors to antioxidants, and berries are a wonderful source,” says Baumann. “If your diet includes blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and the like, you’ll get a range of protective antioxidants that shield your skin from free radicals.”
“In addition to the calcium our bones need, milk is a great source of vitamin D,” says Baumann. “This is good for your skin because getting your daily dose of ‘D’ from milk means you don’t have to get unprotected sun exposure, which helps prevent wrinkles and discoloration.” That said, dairy can wreak havoc on some people’s skin; so if that sounds like you, score your vitamin D from a supplement or other food sources. A three-ounce serving of wild salmon or mackerel can provide nearly your entire daily recommended vitamin D intake! Meanwhile, a cup of shiitake mushrooms gets you to about 20 percent (the best you’ll find in the produce aisle) and three eggs can score you another 20 percent. You have options, dairy-free friends.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent signs of aging caused by free radicals and may even bolster your skin’s defense against skin cancer. “Studies also suggest that vitamin E consumed orally can increase its levels on the skin’s surface, which is good news for those with dry skin,” Baumann adds.
This leafy green is rich in vitamin A, which is an antioxidant and promotes healthy skin cell turnover, says Zeichner. As mentioned earlier, vitamin A is also a big ingredient found in Retin-A, a medication used to treat acne. Legend has it that applying kale topically helps diminish the visibility of bruises, scars, stretch marks, and spider veins.
There’s a reason why avocados are a popular ingredient for face masks. “Avocados penetrate cells at the deepest level, which is virtually a tasty way to get a basal layer skin dose of vitamins A, D, and E, good fats, and phytonutrients,” says Papantoniou. Seriously, is there anything this fruit can’t do?
“Though it may sound counterintuitive, the high concentration of water in watermelon can actually reduce the water retention that leads to puffiness around the eyes,” says Baumann. “And because watermelon is low in sugar—well, compared to many other fruits—you don’t have to worry about glycation, the chemical reaction that compromises collagen and leads to lines and wrinkles.”
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