You’ve heard it all: Drink lots of water, apply moisturizer daily, wear sunscreen, and stay away from dairy which can stimulate oil glands and cause acne. But, instead of checking off your good-skin to-do list, you might want to consider changing your diet. There are specific foods that have been scientifically proven to help prevent breakouts, fight dullness, plump up collagen, and help you enjoy clear, smooth, blemish-free skin, writes dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking Radiant from the Inside Out. “Everything that you put into your body shows up on your face,” no matter how big or small, Dr. Bowe explains in her book. So why not eat more of the foods that will add brightness, glow, and reduce redness, and prevent pimples from forming an get rid of irritants that can cause redness on your skin?
Here is a list of seven anti-aging foods containing antioxidants, vitamins, and chemical compounds that reduce inflammation and promote clear, glowing healthy skin. Instead of sweating that multi-step skincare routine, try to eat more of these foods that will give you the results you crave, naturally. Then buy the excellent book since you’ll learn all about how to have great skin, worry-free, simply by changing your diet.
The 7 Best Foods to Help You Enjoy Clear Healthy, Younger Looking Skin
1. Red or Yellow Bell Peppers, Which Are High in Vitamin C, to Boost Collagen
Crispy red and yellow bell peppers are the perfect snacks to eat for clear skin, according to Dr. Bowe. First, these peppers are one of the best sources of vitamin C, an essential vitamin that is a building block for your body’s creation of collagen, which itself is a cellular infrastructure of skin. The result of more collagen: Healthier skin cells that take on the look of clear, younger-looking skin. One cup of bell peppers contains more than two times your recommended daily value for vitamin C. In a study of more than 4,000 women, researchers found that the participants who ate a diet high in vitamin C appeared to have fewer wrinkles and reduced skin-dryness, so if you’re fighting dull, tired, or old-looking skin, buy peppers!
2. Broccoli Contains Sulforaphane, Which Protects Against UV Rays, Reduces Risk of Skin Cancer
Let’s just make this clear: if you had to eat just one vegetable for the rest of your life, it should be broccoli, for all of its incredible health benefits. First, this cruciferous vegetable is full of essential vitamins and minerals that promote healthy skin, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. Second, one of the most powerful compounds in broccoli is a gas molecule, sulforaphane, which gets released when the stalk or leaves get damaged (a bug or a person chews it) and this powerful molecule appears to protect against skin cancer, according to several studies. In one��study, researchers found that sulforaphane “demonstrated protective effects against ultraviolet (UV)-induced skin damage” which is one of the biggest reasons your skin looks like its aging: the brown spots, wrinkles and lack of elasticity that comes with age is mostly due to sun damage. So eat your broccoli and slather on the SPF, both.
3. Dark Chocolate Contains Antioxidants that Help Hydrate the Skin
Now you have a doctor’s note to eat more dark chocolate: Cacao, derived from the cocoa tree, is the main ingredient in chocolate and contains antioxidants called flavonoids that are powerful enough to be considered medicinal. These compounds protect cells against damage from oxidization, fight inflammation, and help prevent the spread of cancer cells. While they do all this, they also appear to hydrate the skin. In a study, participants consumed cacao powder every day for twelve weeks and researchers reported seeing “increases in blood flow of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues [your innermost layer of skin] and increases in skin density and skin hydration.” In a review study, researchers explained that phytochemicals in cacao help against protecting the skin from diseases and helps prevent aging skin cells. One caveat: while the health benefits of Cacao are well-known, the best benefits come from the darkest chocolate with the least added sugar. So choose your chocolate wisely, and don’t be afraid of bitter-sweet bars!
4. Soy Contains Isoflavones That Reduce Fine Wrinkles and Improves Skin Elasticity
Tofu and edamame have powerful benefits and the latest research shows that the isoflavones in soy do not cause or raise your risk of breast cancer. In fact, these phytochemicals mimic estrogen in the body and may even reduce the amount that your body produces, thereby offering a protective effect against hormonal cancers like breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancers. That is great news. But isoflavones also appear to help skin as well: They have the side benefit of enhancing clear skin by dialing back the clock and promote anti-aging effects, preventing wrinkles. In a study, women in their late 30’s and early 40’s ate soy daily for 12 weeks and researchers found that it appeared to reduce fine wrinkles and improved skin elasticity. Isoflavones also help protect against ultraviolet rays from being in the sun and may reduce your risk of skin cancer and sun damage, according to a different study.
5. Red Grapes Contains Resveratrol, Which Helps to Reduce the Appearance of Aging
If you love red wine, or eating red grapes, here is your chance to enjoy even more! The skin of red grapes contains resveratrol, a chemical compound that appears to help to reduce aging skin. (Think about it, that red grape in fighting off the sun’s rays, while growing on the vine, so when it’s picked and ingested, the same natural antioxidant now goes to work in your body.) In a review study, researchers concluded that resveratrol is one of several powerful natural compounds that “improve solar radiation protection,” and protects your skin from sun damage, and slows the aging process. Resveratrol also contributes to the stimulation of collagen production, according to another study. This study found that resveratrol “protects cells against oxidative damage associated with the effects of free radicals and UV radiation … and slows down the process of photoaging of the skin.” One caveat: The alcohol in wine also contains sugar and can make skin puffy or bloated so while we want everyone to enjoy it in moderation if your main goal is to get the benefits of resveratrol, eat red grapes!
6. Green Tea Protects Your Skin From Sun Damage and Promotes Anti-Aging
A common ingredient in most skin products, green tea helps protect your skin from oxidization damage and promotes anti-aging cell turnover. In a study, researchers explain that epicatechins are antioxidants found in nature and green tea that contain anti-inflammatory properties and protect against UV radiation. Another study found that “green tea polyphenols are photoprotective in nature.” The study suggested that after more testing on humans, green tea could one day be therapy given for the prevention of solar-induced skin disorders, including photoaging, melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancers. In a 12-week double-blind placebo-controlled study, researchers found that participants who drank green tea every day reduced the skin damage from sun exposure by up to 25 percent.
7. Avocados Are High in Healthy Fats Which Support Clear Skin
Avocados seem like a miracle food because they promote weight loss, boost your energy, help you stay full longer, and add heart-healthy fat to your diet. Now we find out they also appear to clear your skin and prevent or reduce the appearance of acne. The healthy fats in avocado are extremely beneficial for your skin cells, which is why you will find a lot of DIY mask recipes that call for a base of avocado. In a study that measured the skin’s hydration, surface lipids, and elasticity in 716 participants, researchers found that a higher intake of avocados increased skin elasticity. In addition, avocados are full of essential vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin E, which is a hard-to-get antioxidant that protects skin cells against sun damage. “The diets of most Americans provide less than the recommended amounts of vitamin E,” according to the National Institute of Health. So pass the guac.
For more great skin tips, check out How Eating a Plant-Based Diet Can Clear Acne and Brighten Your Skin