23 Foods That Are Good for Your Skin

The secret to firmer, younger-looking skin starts with a healthy diet
woman checking skin in mirror

You can’t stop yourself from aging. But you can control how you do it. You may be wondering what foods are good for your skin to keep it firmer and looking younger.

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The good news is that if you’re committed to eating healthier you’re probably further along than you think on giving your complexion a youthful boost. 

Nicole Hopsecger, a registered dietitian, sums it up with a simple guideline. “Your skin is a reflection of your overall health. Whatever you eat that’s good for you, is also good for your skin. So if you’re healthy on the inside, it will make you healthy on the outside, too — skin and all.”

Here are some foods she recommends that can help protect, firm and nourish your skin from the inside out.

Eat fish more frequently to firm up skin

Omega-3 fatty acids do a lot of good things, including lowering your triglycerides and battling inflammation. But they also help preserve collagen in your skin and keep it firmer. 

“The top source of omega-3s is fish,” she says, “and these are the best candidates for the job.”

  • Salmon.
  • Tuna (bluefin and albacore).
  • Lake trout.
  • Sardines and anchovies.
  • Mackerel.
  • Herring. 

Add in plant-based foods omega-3s

Although most plant-based foods like veggies, nuts and oils don’t provide as much omega-3 as fish, they’re still a solid source of it and can work wonders for your skin.

Flaxseed oil — Flaxseed is particularly rich in collagen-boosting fatty acid. You don’t want to cook with flaxseed oil but you can mix it into smoothies, yogurt, or salad dressing.

Chia seeds — The easiest way to get these into your diet is to sprinkle them onto yogurt, cereal and salad, and into batter for muffins and pancakes.

Walnuts and walnut oil — Try reaching for them instead of your other go-to snacking nuts or use the oil on your salad instead of your usual EVOO.

Soy foods and soybean oil — Go for some tofu, edamame or use soybean oil to sautée or bake.

Canola oil — Canola oil can be used in baking, oven cooking or stir-frying.

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Eat antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods

Fruit, vegetables and dark chocolate supply antioxidants and vitamins that help protect your skin from free radicals and sun damage, which keeps the skin looking younger and more radiant.

Why you should love lycopene

Tomatoes — While technically a fruit, tomatoes are also considered a vegetable when cooking. They contain lycopene, an antioxidant that can help keep your skin smoother. And they’re easy to work into anything easily like salads, side dishes, sandwiches and sauces.

Go for vitamin C-rich foods

Some fruits and vegetables not only contain antioxidants but also healthy amounts of vitamins C and E, which can fight wrinkles.

Some of the best food choices for better skin that include vitamin C:

Citrus — Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.

Bell peppers — Green, orange, red or yellow. It’s your pick.

Broccoli — Steam or roast (yes, roast!) for an easy, healthy side.

Strawberries — Snack on them fresh, or put some in a simple smoothie.

Kiwi — Add some to your favorite fruit salad, or make veggie kebabs for a fun twist.

And don’t forget about vitamin E

Some of the best foods for your skin that contain vitamin E include:

Almonds — Rotate them in your snack arsenal, or make your own trail mix.

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Sunflower seeds — If you’re not the sort to munch on them in their shells, buy the shelled variety and toss them on your salads or add them to your baked goods.

Get your polyphenols

Not familiar with polyphenols? They’re powerful antioxidants that can be found in a variety of dietary options. Some of the highest sources include:

Tea and coffee — Just be mindful of how much caffeine your system can handle, or choose decaf when you can.

Red wine — But remember men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day. Women should have no more than one.

Grapes — Explore all the fun varieties on the market these days, from champagne to Moon Drops.

Chocolate — Besides antioxidants and vitamins, chocolate (especially dark chocolate) contains flavanols, or a type of polyphenol. They reduce rough texture in the skin and protect against sun damage. That means, luckily, you can have a few ounces of chocolate a day, but make sure it’s made of 60% to 70% cocoa.

Watch serving sizes, sugar and steer clear of the bad stuff

Overall the best practices for your diet will nurture your best-looking skin. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but make sure to keep an eye on your serving sizes. Remember many fruits also have a good amount of sugar so make sure you monitor this in your overall intake each day.

And as always, be sure to cut down on the unhealthy stuff (whether that’s on weekends, at get-togethers or just those splurges when you’re stressed). And remember, supplement pills are not a substitute for a healthy diet!

“You don’t want to undo all the work the healthy foods are doing. Eating too many processed or refined sugars and foods with high glycemic index, dairy, carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats can actually cause skin inflammation, irritation, and breakouts and encourage the aging process of your skin,” she emphasizes.

“Just stick to a regular habit of eating the recommended foods, and in time you’ll feel better, look better — and your healthier skin will reflect it all.”

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