Creams are helpful on the outside, but don’t count out what goes inside your body when you’re looking to keep your skin clear and fresh. Here are some foods to pile on your plate and ones to avoid.
Strawberries, Red Peppers, Kiwi
These fruits and veggies are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant shown to prevent damage to the skin and possibly help prevent aging. Vitamin C also helps form collagen, which supports the skin’s structure and keeps it smooth.
Other vitamin C-rich foods: Potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruit, broccoli
Recipe to try: Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Carrots, Apricots, Spinach
The antioxidant beta-carotene is in these fresh foods. Beta-carotene converts in the body to vitamin A, which we need to create new and healthy skin cells. It also protects your skin from bacteria and viruses and keeps it hydrated.
Other beta-carotene-rich foods: Collard greens, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes
Recipe to try: Glazed Mini Carrots
Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Olive Oil
Rounding out the antioxidants are the vitamin E-rich foods. This vitamin protects cell membranes from free-radical damage, especially brought on by UV rays. Of course, sun screen helps, but a serving of nuts and seeds every so often can help strengthen your cells from the inside.
Other vitamin E-rich foods: Mangoes, peanuts, chicken breast
Recipe to try: Cumin-Roasted Almonds
At least half your body is made from water (50 to 60%) and that includes your skin. Not drinking enough water can dehydrate and give off that pruney look (no one wants that). Instead, keep your skin radiant by sipping water throughout the day. No need to chug gallons — you also get water from other sources such as fresh fruits and veggies.
Other hydrating sources: Sparkling water or seltzer, fresh juices
Recipe to try: Refreshing Berry Spritzer
Flaxseed, Salmon, Tuna
All rich in omega-3 fats, these foods help prevent inflammation (who needs puffy skin?). Their heart-healthy oils also keep skin nice and shiny. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that elderly folks who consumed higher amounts of fish and veggies throughout their life had fewer wrinkles. It could be the combo of the omega-3s in fish plus antioxidant-rich veggies, though researchers can’t say for sure right now.
Other omega-3 foods: Sardines, walnuts, tofu
Recipe to try: Saucy Salmon
Foods To Skip
Alcohol is not your skin’s friend — especially in excess. All alcohol, including wine, liquor and beer, should be limited to 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men daily. Sweets such as cookies, cakes and candies have been said to increase acne breakout. Just remember this: If you’re binging on carb- and fat-laden goodies, you’re probably skipping other healthier stuff like fruits and veggies and not getting the antioxidants and nutritional benefits you need. There’s also conflicting research on milk — some evidence shows that milk contributes to acne. But researchers aren’t sure if the hormones in the milk are the real culprit. Your best bet is to purchase hormone-free milk and stick to 2 servings of dairy per day.