Health Lifestyle Nutrients

10 Foods for Healthy, Radiant, Younger-Looking Skin

6 min read

Beautiful, glowing skin starts with what you eat. Learn how foods and beverages can help you stay young. And discover 10 foods for healthy skin that will give you the antioxidants and other nutrients your skin needs to stay radiant and youthful.

By Annmarie Gianni, Founder of Annmarie Skin Care. This article concludes with a link to a product that Annmarie created that utilizes the best practices discussed in the article.

The benefits of healthy eating — such as lowered risk of heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and certain cancers — are well known.

But did you know that eating right is essential for healthy skin, too?

How Food Can Keep You Looking Young — Or Age You Prematurely

Food delivers nutrients to your body. Some of these nutrients protect your skin cells from the sun’s rays, some keep your skin hydrated, and some limit skin damage from harmful molecules known as free radicals.

Other nutrients increase cell turnover to reveal healthier skin underneath. And still others build strong cell walls for smooth, firm, supple-looking skin.

On the other hand, fast and ultra-processed foods, such as frozen entrees, soda, French fries, processed meats, and most commercial baked goods, are nutrient-poor and typically high in salt, sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. 

Additionally, these processed, refined, and manufactured foods add to inflammation in the body, and can fuel surface inflammation on your skin. Skin inflammation causes redness, acne, and a breakdown of collagen structures that leads to sagging. 

Processed foods can also spike your blood sugar, fueling more acne and wrinkles through a process called glycation, which also causes the formation of free radicals.

Free Radicals and Your Skin

Free radicals are molecules that have an odd number of electrons on their outer layer. A free radical has a negative charge and wants to have a balanced charge, so it steals an electron from a balanced atom, making another free radical.

Free radical damage (also known as oxidative stress) occurs when there is more free-radical creation than there is antioxidant activity in your body. And free radicals are a key driver of the aging process. They can contribute to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other forms of chronic illness. They can also damage skin by grabbing electrons from atoms in the skin.

Two of the most visible effects of free radicals are wrinkles and the breakdown of collagen (which in turn causes saggy-looking skin).

Two of the most visible effects of free radicals are wrinkles and the breakdown of collagen (which in turn causes saggy-looking skin).

While aging and wrinkling are a natural part of life, it’s possible to slow down the process by limiting your exposure to unnecessary free radicals.

You can avoid free radicals by steering clear of processed foods and limiting your exposure to cigarette smoke, alcohol, environmental pollutants, and industrial chemicals or solvents — including pesticides, herbicides, and toxic household cleaners.

How Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals

Antioxidants create a buffer between your body and the dangerous free radical. They lend electrons to free radicals, so they don’t damage other cells.

Antioxidants also help revitalize your natural ability to heal yourself and remove oxidized cells that aren’t useful to your body anymore.

Where to Get Antioxidants

Natural antioxidants are just as readily available as free radicals. Every organ works to combat oxidation in its own way, so you need a lot of different antioxidants to get the job done.

You can create some antioxidants naturally within your cells, or get them from your diet.

You might think, “If I’m making antioxidants to fight the free radicals, why does it matter how much I eat?” Simply put, your body doesn’t make some of the best antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which you need to get from food.

Plus, many of us are facing more free radicals and environmental stressors than ever before.

Without mindful input to support your body’s functions, you may face significant oxidative stress, which can fuel illness and premature aging.

Getting optimal vitamin and mineral intake from a balanced diet that’s rich in antioxidant properties is a fabulous way to support not only feeling great but also looking great, too.

10 of The Best Antioxidant-Rich, Anti-Aging Foods for Healthy Skin

Luckily, there are a ton of whole, plant-based foods that are great for skin health. Here are some of the best foods for healthy skin:

1. Blueberries

Foods for healthy skin: blueberries

Blueberries are on almost everyone’s list of superfoods — and for good reason. They’re among the most antioxidant-rich foods on earth.

Blueberries’ relatively mild flavor means they’re as adaptable as they are good for you. Enjoy them with breakfast, afternoon smoothies, dinner salads, or eat them straight as a delicious snack.

If you want to switch it up, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries — all berries, really — are excellent, nutritious food choices. And they taste pretty good, too!

2. Oranges

Oranges are packed with water (which helps keep your skin hydrated) and vitamin C.

Your body needs vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein that keeps skin firm and fights the appearance of aging.

A single medium orange has more than 100% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C!

For more on oranges, read our article Are Oranges Good for You — or the Planet?.

3. Pomegranates

Foods for healthy skin: pomegranates

Pomegranates are another excellent source of vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants that fight free radicals and promote a healthy skin tone. The anthocyanins in pomegranates give them their vibrant ruby color and are potent flavonoids.

4. Tomatoes

In addition to being an excellent source of the all-important vitamin C, tomatoes are a rich source of the phytochemical, lycopene.

Lycopene is an important antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage (by eliminating free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays) and promotes circulatory health. It’s also been found to help fight cancer.

5. Watermelon

Foods for healthy skin: watermelon Maksimenko

These juicy summer fruits are about 92% water, which helps your skin stay hydrated.

Watermelons are also packed with lycopene, so consuming them can help protect your skin from aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer.

In fact, an average watermelon has about 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

6. Avocados

You’ve probably heard that avocados are abundant in the healthy (monounsaturated) fats that help develop and maintain healthy cells and also lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Avocados also contain:

  • NMN, a compound that may have anti-aging effects.

7. Kale

Kale in a basket

Kale is high in potassium, which keeps skin cells hydrated and firm.

It also has the antioxidant vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and may help with spider veins, scars, and circles under the eyes.

8. Sweet Potatoes

That sweet potatoes are both better tasting and better for you than regular potatoes is one of nature’s more delicious twofers. And they’re not even really potatoes!

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A and other antioxidants.

9. Wild Salmon

There are many ethical and sustainability reasons why some people choose to avoid salmon and other fish products. Purely from a health perspective, if you do choose to eat fish, wild salmon can be a low-mercury source of omega-3 fats, which can keep skin moisturized, reduce inflammation, and may even guard against skin cancer. (Editor’s noteFor more on the health, ethical, and environmental impacts of fish consumption, see our article here.)

10. Green Tea

Foods for healthy skin: Green tea

Hydration is essential for healthy skin. And green tea is among the best ways to stay hydrated.

Green tea contains antioxidants, vitamin B3, and a phytochemical (EGCG) that helps skin cells stay healthy.

Green tea also contains caffeine — about a quarter as much as coffee — so if you’re caffeine-sensitive you may want to limit your intake.

The Takeaway

You’ve probably detected a theme here. Fresh fruits and vegetables are where it’s at when it comes to skin health, especially ones that are high in antioxidants.

Staying hydrated and enjoying an abundance of diverse antioxidant-rich foods can provide a lifetime of benefits for you — and for your skin.

And of course, food is only part of your overall wellness picture. A nice, brisk walk (yes, even in winter!) or other types of exercise help to maintain cardiovascular and mental health. And sunlight can stimulate your body to produce the extraordinarily health-promoting vitamin D.

Editor’s Note:

Annmarie Skin Care is passionate about helping people feel and look great. They’ve developed a line of organic, wildcrafted skin and beauty products to help you look your best — the healthy way.

Annmarie Skin Care is offering Food Revolution Network members a Clean Beauty Trial Kit with their best-selling Aloe Herb Cleanser, Anti-Aging Serum, Anti-Aging Facial Oil, and a free bonus Antioxidant Lip Balm for only $19.99 (with free shipping in the US and Canada!). These products contain plant-sourced ingredients you’ll recognize that combine to cleanse your skin and give it the nourishment it needs. Click here to find out more.

Disclaimer: Annmarie Skin Care’s Antioxidant Lip Balm contains a small amount of organic beeswax, which may present ethical concerns for the bees involved.

Tell us in the comments:

  • How do you take care of your skin?
  • What are your favorite age-defying foods for healthy skin?

Featured Image: iStock/Wavebreakmedia

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