When it comes to getting clear skin, most people look for new products, go see a dermatologist, or try to emanate a friend's skin care routine, but another important component is what you eat. There are a number of healthy diet changes you can make for better skin, and it's probably a lot cheaper to start eating more kale than to keep getting facials or buying fancy moisturizers. Plus, it can't hurt to have another excuse to start eating better!
"Your diet can make such a difference on your skin, both in the short and long term," says Dr. Kally Papantoniou with Advanced Dermatology PC over email. "Eating a bowl of pasta for some people can show up as acne a few days later. And depriving your body and skin of essential antioxidants and nutrients can take a toll on your skin, leading to premature aging, dull skin, acne, and many other skin conditions or dermatitis."
Some people are more sensitive to diet changes than others, but cleaning up what you can eat can help give you clearer, healthier skin — and you'll probably feel better too. If you're not sure where to begin, here are 11 healthy diet changes you can make for a better complexion.
1. Drink More Water
"We have all heard that 8 glasses of day are important for your health, but your skin will benefit from hydration and will have a healthier glow," says Papantoniou. "Water helps your body to flush toxins during the day and feeds your cells with the water they need for healthy cell function."
2. Snack On Nuts & Seeds
Instead of potato chips or cookies, snack on a handful of nuts and seeds, or considering topping off your salad. "Load up on sunflower seeds and almonds, both of which are naturally high in Vitamin E," says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, LDN over email. "Vitamin E can help with dryness, may decrease sunburns, and help counteract the oxidants our skin encounters."
3. Ditch The Dairy
Cheese is yummy, but it's not exactly your skin's best friend. "Dairy products can increase inflammation in our body and our skin, resulting in breakouts for some people," says Dr. Anthony Youn, author of "The Age Fix" over email. "If you have acne issues, then avoiding dairy products may be a solution to your problems."
4. Swap One Cup Of Coffee For Tea
If you need a caffeine boost, switch one of your daily cups of joe for a cup of green tea. "Green tea polyphenols are potent antioxidants that will help reduce inflammation, help prevent oxidative stress and will also help reduce acne flares," says Papantoniou. "Green tea also has beneficial anti-aging effects on skin."
5. Stay Away From Soda
"This is probably the worst drink for your skin," says Youn. "Soda is full of high fructose corn syrup, which is worse for our skin than pure sugar (glucose). It causes inflammation and glycation, as well as shortens the telomeres of our chromosomes, causing us to age prematurely."
6. Switch From White To Wheat
Ditch the white bread, pasta, and rice and switch to whole grain and brown instead. "This also has to do with sugar," says Youn. "White bread (and white rice and pasta) are refined carbohydrates, which cause sugar spikes when ingested. These sugar spikes result in inflammation and premature aging. Whole wheat (or whole grain) contains more fiber, which slows down the release of glucose."
7. Get Your Greens
Even if you're not a huge fan of salad, add some greens into your pasta, your sandwiches, or even your smoothies. "Eating a diet rich in dark green veggies every day will benefit your skin and overall health," says Papantoniou. "They are rich in vital minerals and vitamins, and packed with the antioxidants that are so good for your body and skin."
8. Change Up Your Fats
Not all fats are created equal! "Monounsaturated fatty acids, like those found in walnuts, avocados, and olive oil, are anti-inflammatory to the skin and can moisturize your skin from the inside out," says Youn. "These are good fats, both for our health and our skin. Bad fats, like omega-6 fats, such as found in farmed seafood, and trans fats, found in processed fried and baked goods, do the opposite. They create inflammation and age our skin prematurely. Avoid them at all costs."
9. Up Your Intake Of Vitamin C
When it comes to vitamin C, think beyond just oranges. "Peppers, broccoli, and strawberries are all high in Vitamin C, which plays a significant role in skin health," says Schlichter. "Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a protein which makes up the skin's integrity. "
10. Eat Those Tomatoes
Adding in some tomatoes to your daily diet can do wonders. "Tomatoes are full of the antioxidant lycopene, which plays a role in helping the skin repair," says Schlichter. "Studies have shown that lycopene may increase skin protection and decrease redness brought on from sun or UV exposure." Other foods rich in lycopene include watermelon and papaya.
11. Supplement With Spices
This diet change doesn't require much work: Just sprinkle some spices on your meals for extra skin protection and enhancement. Spices such as cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, according to Women's Health, helping to fight acne and diminish signs of aging.
Not one food will be the magical cure for your skin, but eating a well-balanced diet can help keep it healthy and glowing.
Images: Pixabay (12)