Want to know the secret to healthy, glowing skin? Here’s a little hint: It’s not from your monthly facial. It’s in your diet. (Sorry, we just couldn’t keep that secret to ourselves.) There’s a bonus too, superfoods not only contribute to flawless skin, they also benefit your overall health. As if you really needed another reason to freshen up your diet with the advent of the summer season—now you have two.
It’s pretty well-established that we’re all about packing as many superfoods into our diets as possible, whether it’s in our morning fresh-pressed juices or even our desserts. It’s true that with superfoods you really can have it all. “The natural ingredients in food help do everything from speed the pace of exfoliation to protect skin from the UV damage that causes brown spots and wrinkles,” writes Karyn Repinski of Prevention. “The recipe for complexion perfection starts with a well-rounded diet of healthy fats, sufficient protein, and lots of fruits and veggies.”
And just as we promised, they’re beneficial not only to your appearance, but to your physical and mental well-being as well. Repinski continues: “As a bonus, these nutritional superstars also do wonders for the rest of your body—build brainpower, lower cholesterol, improve sleep, and more.”
We can’t get enough of these six foods for glowing skin
Don’t underestimate the size of this berry. Blueberries are rich in vitamins A and C, which are known to keep the oil levels in your skin at bay and nix skin concerns such as acne. According to the staff at LIVESTRONG: “Although acne is typically attributable more to hormones than to the physical condition of your skin, certain nutrients can counteract the hormonal conditions which encourage pimples.” Add blueberries to your morning smoothie bowl or as a salad topping to start reaping the benefits.
2. Sweet potatoes
Some of the most appealing aspects of sweet potatoes are the health benefits available at a low cost. Not only are sweet potatoes rich in vitamin A that fights off free radicals that weaken the immune system and damaged skin cells, but they also help to neutralize bad toxins that can form in your body. Sweet potatoes are also packed full of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of collagen, neutralizing the appearance of wrinkles.
If you’re worried about the impact that cocktail hour has on your skin, but you don’t want to miss the social aspect of happy hour, rejoice! When your coworkers invite you to grab a drink after work, ask if you can all swing by an oyster and cocktail bar. Oysters are loaded with zinc and vitamin C, which help to boost elasticity, giving indulgers a more youthful appearance.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. Together, these nutrients shield against harmful UV rays (don’t forget your sunscreen), reduce stress hormones, and moisturize skin for an enviable glow. Dark chocolate anyone?
We knew we liked spinach for a good reason, the green superfood contains iron, which helps to give skin a bright and healthy glow. Spinach is also a potent antioxidant, contributing to a more youthful appearance and promoting optimal health by reducing your risk for cancer and other diseases.
So water isn’t exactly part of the food pyramid, but we all know that water is a necessity and beneficial to our health. More specifically, water will hydrate you before and after a workout, give you younger-looking skin and healthier hair, treat headaches and migraines, aid in weight loss and so much more.
Now that we understand the benefits, here’s what happens to your skin when you don’t consume enough water: “When the skin is dehydrated, the pores are more firm and rigid, just like the “pores” of a dehydrated sponge,” writes Kaitlyn Dreyling of POPSUGAR. “But hydrated skin has more flexible pores, which are then able to stretch and release naturally secreted oils.” Seriously, what’s not to love?
Want to learn even more about the benefits of a clean diet? Check out our guide: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Clean, where we will walk you through the essential elements of clean eating and how to dramatically improve your health.