Healthy, beautiful skin doesn’t require a bunch of fancy, expensive beauty products or extremes such as fillers or plastic surgery. A balanced, nutritious diet – full of antioxidant-rich, plant-based foods, high-quality proteins, high-fiber complex carbohydrates, and nutrient-dense healthy fats – is key to keeping your skin looking its best every day. Find out if the foods on your plate are also foods good for skin.
Nutrients in food that support healthy skin
Foods that are rich in vitamins A and C contain antioxidants that help protect skin cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C is required for optimal collagen synthesis in the body to keep skin youthful and radiant; it may also help brighten skin and minimize breakouts. Vitamin A helps fight dull, dry skin. Luckily, many plant-based foods contain these nutrients, and it’s quite easy to get enough of them in your diet.
Skin also benefits from a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods (which help with healthy aging and preventing breakouts), along with high-fiber foods that keep you regular so that waste and toxins are excreted normally. In addition, healthy fats (such as omega-3s and monounsaturated fats) and high-quality proteins nourish skin and keep it youthful.
Foods that are good for your skin
A variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, peas, raw nuts and seeds, and probiotic-rich nonfat or low-fat yogurt can all help fight breakouts and keep skin healthy over time. Keeping animal-based foods to a minimum or only selecting the highest-quality options is also helpful for your skin.
Along with this basic advice, why not try adding some trendy foods to your plate, too? These interesting foods are everywhere and aren’t just hype—many of them are underrated, highly nutritious foods that restore radiance, fight breakouts and inflammation, assist with healthy aging and might even help keep your weight and mood in check, too.
1. Soursop (graviola)
Soursop is a trendy fruit also known as graviola or Brazilian paw-paw. While it’s not a newly discovered fruit, it is one that’s just now becoming well-known and more mainstream. Graviola is native to tropical areas of Central and South America. It has a white interior and green exterior and is mild-flavored with flavor notes of strawberry, pineapple, and melon all in one. Soursop is high in potassium and other crucial electrolytes. Traditionally it has been used to protect against viruses.
Graviola also happens to be great for skin health because it fights inflammation, is high in vitamin C, and it’s a low-glycemic fruit so it won’t spike insulin levels and trigger breakouts as a result. It’s a good source of fiber as well, delivering four grams per 3-ounce serving of fruit.
How to enjoy: Graviola is the perfect smoothie ingredient due to its naturally sweet and mild flavor. You’ll find graviola in some ethnic markets or specialty food stores at select times of the year. Or you can order it online in frozen packets for smoothies and smoothie bowls. Graviola pairs wonderfully with banana, pineapple, strawberries, mango, and papaya.
2. Guava (goiaba)
Guava is another trendy fruit that’s native to Central America. It supplies a wealth of nutrients that are great for skin, including vitamins A and C, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It’s a beautiful bright pink fruit with a green exterior, and it has a naturally sweet and slightly floral flavor with a very creamy texture.
Guava has been used throughout history for digestive issues, electrolyte balance, metabolism support, dull skin and more. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber (six grams per 3 ounces of fruit), helping to support bowel regularity and keep the digestive system healthy.
Guava is also one of the best fruits for skin because it’s packed with vitamin A, containing amounts even greater than sweet potatoes, carrots or pumpkin (which are some of the highest-quality plant-based sources). It’s low in sugar, as well, so insulin levels stay stable and breakouts don’t result from blood sugar highs and lows.
How to enjoy: Guava is easy and delicious to use in a variety of ways. You can find guava fruits fresh in the produce department at some stores or at a variety of ethnic markets, or you can order it in frozen packs online to use in smoothies or smoothie bowls. It’s perfect when paired with banana, pineapple, dark sweet cherries, and mango.
3. Oat milk
You’ve likely seen oat milk in supermarkets by now, or maybe you’ve tried to make your own at home. This humble, trendy milk is making a huge wave in the world of dairy-free beverages thanks to its low-fat and high-fiber content and its naturally creamy texture. Oat milk is quite easy to make and is one of the best plant-based beverages to add to your diet. It’s creamy, thick and mild-flavored with notes of sweetness that can be accented with vanilla, cinnamon and more.
Oat milk is great for the skin because of its beta-glucan content. These unique fibers are known to remove cholesterol from the bloodstream and support heart health. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that fight breakouts and dryness. Oats are also known to treat rashes and redness in the skin due to the way they calm inflammation in the body.
How to enjoy: You can make your own oat milk with a few simple ingredients or buy it premade at the store. If you decide to purchase oat milk, be sure to look for one without high amounts of added sugars or added oils (oil is often added to storebought oat milk products).
Before you shy away from seaweed, check out its benefits for skin health. Seaweed, which contains chlorophyll, has anti-inflammatory properties while also delivering to help support the digestive tract and reduce breakout triggers due to insulin spikes in the body.
Note: Avoid seaweed if you have an iodine sensitivity, as seaweed is high in iodine. Iodine supports a healthy thyroid and healthy skin in most people, but for those that don’t process iodine normally, it may actually trigger skin issues, though research studies can’t find a consecutive link between the two.
There are many seaweed varieties to choose from, including kombu, wakame, and dulse. Spirulina and chlorella are nutrient-dense algae that also help support beautiful skin thanks to their high vitamin A content and their anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
How to enjoy: Try seaweed in the form of tasty seaweed snacks; soak beans in kombu to help with the digestion of beans and legumes; sprinkle seaweed flakes on salads for a naturally salty flavor and to add nutrients to your meals; or, enjoy seaweed in a variety of green superfood powders.
Avocados are incredible! These popular, high-fat fruits are great for the skin thanks to their high potassium content, as well as their high vitamin A and high monounsaturated fat content. Avocados’ fats are naturally anti-inflammatory and support the absorption of vitamin A in the body. They’re also rich in chlorophyll, a pigment in plants that may help fight inflammation.
Finally, avocados are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them important for skin health due to the way they support insulin levels and bowel regularity.
How to enjoy: Toss avocados in salads or smoothies, or add them to vegan tacos or savory breakfasts of any kind. They make a great addition to almost any meal, but be sure to use them in moderation since they are still a very rich source of fats. For most people, just eating ¼ to ½ an avocado a day is a way to see results quickly. Or, enjoy them a couple of times a week in rotation with other healthy fats such as raw almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.