Best Foods for Healthy Skin

Nutrition is important for health. An unhealthy diet can damage your metabolism, cause weight gain and even hurt organs, such as your heart and liver.

But what you eat also impacts another organ — your skin.

1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health (1).

Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to keep skin thick, supple and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats can cause dry skin .

The omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Some studies show that fish oil supplements may fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions affecting your skin, such as psoriasis and lupus.

Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation (5).

This type of seafood is also a source of high-quality protein, which is needed for maintaining the strength and integrity of your skin .

Lastly, fish provides zinc — a mineral vital for regulating inflammation, the production of new skin cells and overall skin health. Zinc deficiency can lead to skin inflammation, lesions and delayed wound healing .

2. Avocados

Avocados are high in healthy fats. These fats benefit many functions in your body, including the health of your skin .

Getting enough of these fats is essential to keep skin flexible and moisturized.

One study in over 700 women found that a high intake of total fat — specifically the types of healthy fats found in avocados — was associated with more supple, springy skin .

Preliminary evidence also shows that avocados contain compounds that may protect your skin from sun damage. UV damage to your skin can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging .

Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E through their diet.

Interestingly, vitamin E seems to be more effective when combined with vitamin C .

Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin. Your skin needs it to create collagen, which is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy .

A deficiency in vitamin C is rare these days, but common symptoms include dry, rough and scaly skin that tends to bruise easily.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage — caused by the sun and the environment — which can lead to signs of aging .

A 100-gram serving, or about 1/2 an avocado, provides 10% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin E and 17% of the RDI for vitamin C.

3. Walnuts

Walnuts have many characteristics that make them an excellent food for healthy skin.

They are a good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that your body cannot make itself.

In fact, they’re richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids .

A diet too high in omega-6 fats may promote inflammation, including inflammatory conditions of your skin like psoriasis. On the other hand, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in your body — including in your skin .

While omega-6 fatty acids are plentiful in the Western diet, sources of omega-3 fatty acids are rare. Because walnuts contain a good ratio of these fatty acids, they may fight the inflammatory response to excessive omega-6.

What’s more, walnuts contain other nutrients that your skin needs to function properly and stay healthy.

One ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains 6% of the RDI for zinc, which is essential for your skin to function properly as a barrier, as well as necessary for wound healing and combatting both bacteria and inflammation.

Walnuts also provide small amounts of the antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium, in addition to 4–5 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams) .

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