Want supple skin and fewer breakouts? This post shares the 8 best foods for your skin. Learn exactly what you should add to your diet ASAP to keep your skin glowing (even through winter)!
“You are what you eat.”
Cliché as it sounds, it still holds true and your eating habits show on your skin. Ever notice how overindulging in alcohol or eating greasy, sugary foods can cause the ultimate breakout?
No fun, right!?
These telltale signs are the body’s way of telling us that our diet needs a little adjustment.
And that’s why I created this blog post, to dive into the different foods that are bad and good for your skin! It’ll help you identify breakout-inducing, aging accelerating foods while recognizing ones you should add more of.
All the foods mentioned in this list really are good for you in so many ways! So if you like it, be sure to read my 5 Day Superfood Meal Plan, next!
But for now, let’s talk about how to get glowing, dewy skin…
Healthy skin, here we come!
What Foods Are Bad For Skin?
So, let’s get down to business! What kinds of foods are actually bad for your skin health, especially if eaten in excess?
Try to cut down on the following…
- Fatty foods: This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you but fatty foods (with trans fat specifically, often found in processed junk food and most fast food) should be limited. They can interrupt your body’s internal circulation and lead to skin puffiness. An added danger is the free radicals that damage the skin.
- Food with high sodium: Food with high sodium (again, junk food and fast food), can lead to water retention or bloating. So whenever you wake up to a puffy and tired looking face after eating a bunch of chips, the salt is most likely to blame!
- Processed sugars: Processed sugar is found in beverages like sodas, sweets, baked goods, cereals, food marked as “low-fat”, and ready-made condiments and sauces. This stuff promotes redness and inflammation as well as hindered collagen formation.
Basically, it cuts down on your skin’s elasticity (which leads to wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin). If you want to know more on how to avoid these hidden and processed sugars, check my blog 6 Easy Ways to Spot Hidden Sugars in Food.
- Food with a high glycemic index: Did you know that food like white bread and white rice can cause a spike in blood sugar, which is also linked to skin problems? Yep, that’s even more motivation to replace those pantry staples with whole wheat versions instead.
- Alcohol: I think this is already a given but if you didn’t know this yet, alcohol dehydrates the skin, giving you a dull complexion. Boo! And it’s exactly why you look a tad bit pasty when hungover. It also contributes to inflammation, loss of elasticity, and poor sleep. Without a good night’s rest, you feel tired and its effects show through your skin.
- Caffeine: Hate to break it to you but too much caffeine is a dehydrator, similar to alcohol and sodium. Your skin likes it when you’re drinking enough water and it’s easy to tell when your skin is happy and hydrated.
Nourish. Don’t Restrict!
Now, it is VERY WORTH SAYING that severely restricting your calories will also age your skin (not to mention your entire body) so make sure you’re replacing anything you cut with healthy, nourishing food. We’ll be exploring some options below!
If you find yourself on an extreme diet in order to look better, understand that this will backfire. Find a better fit for your lifestyle and health by reading this post: 10 Popular Weight Loss Diets Reviewed.
What Foods Help Clear Acne?
Someone please travel back in time and tell this to my teenage self! Eating whole grains, legumes, and unprocessed fruits and vegetables (or complex carbohydrates) will help clear acne. Filling yourself with foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, zinc, and antioxidants also contribute to having a healthy body and clear skin.
Try my Healthy Black Bean Hummus Recipe, Summer Corn Edamame Salad, and Sweet Potato Smoothie for delicious tasting and skin-nourishing options. Eating whole foods is also helpful when you’re seeking to balance disrupted hormones (a big driver of acne).
I recognize that eating clean is easier said than done (especially for hungry teenagers). This is where meal prep really shines its light. Having a plan and knowing how to easily cook your food will make a balanced diet more accessible.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to reduce inflammation, my 5-day anti-inflammation meal plan has been optimized to help reduce inflammation and to keep you feeling healthy and well-balanced.
Which Fruit Is Good for Skin Tightening?
Fruits containing vitamin C are good for skin tightening, especially the orange. Oranges are packed with vitamin C and eating them regularly can improve skin texture. Plus, the additional antioxidants and nutrients they contain help you produce collagen, which maintains elasticity and slows the skin aging process.
Yep, collagen is known to give us smooth and soft skin. For a terrific collagen boost, add cleanish Collagen Peptides to your morning coffee, favorite smoothie, milk, or the water bottle you bring on your daily walk.
All citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, really. So don’t skip your Lemon Water!
What Foods Help Clear Skin? | 8 Best Foods For Your Skin
So what kind of food should you be eating exactly? To take away the guesswork, I’ve listed below the best foods for the production of healthy skin cells. Lots of recipes are included, too!
- Yellow / Orange fruits and vegetables
Load up on yellow/orange fruits and veggies. We’re talking sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow peppers, bananas, and mangoes! They have sooo much going for them. Yellow/ Orange (naturally occurring) foods are rich in phytochemicals, beta carotene, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Bio-flavonoid, a phytochemical, handles breaking down and distributing vitamin C in the body.
These are also high in retinol, a type of vitamin A1, which helps reverse skin aging and damage (sun exposure is really tough on the skin, my friends). I have a ton of sweet potato recipes, take your pick or try em’ all! How To Cook Sweet Potatoes + 19 Easy Sweet Potato Recipes.
- Dark green and leafy vegetables
Go for green and leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli. These are powerhouses of vitamins A, C, E, and K which work together to help to heal scars and signs of sun damage while ALSO strengthening the skin’s natural barrier.
Leafy greens are also rich in lutein, a powerful antioxidant that boosts hydration levels, helps to improve skin elasticity, and also protects against sun damage.
And speaking of greens and the sun, don’t forget green tea. I’ll throw that in here because the catechins in green tea can aid in soothing and repairing sun damaged skin.
Take these recipes for a spin and you won’t even notice how many greens you’ve eaten! When I’m searching for a good lunch option this Spinach, Mushroom and Jack Quesadillas is my go-to.
If you need a little lift to your day, blend up my Kiwi And Kale Smoothie.
Fresh tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which is a strong antioxidant that helps to reduce stress and inflammation and reverse signs of aging. It helps prevent skin discoloration, texture changes, and fine lines and wrinkles.
NOTE: Some people are allergic to nightshades so if you fall in this category it’s likely better to skip tomatoes.
You’re going to love this Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe. It goes well on lasagna, spaghetti, pizza, and even on chicken parm. And if you’re looking for a hearty soup, try my Cream of Tomato Soup recipe (my kids especially love this on a rainy day).
OR go for a Caprese Salad to really experience a juicy tomato in the fresh.
Y’all know I can’t get enough of these! Blueberries are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients. All of which majorly help fight skin inflammation.
And they keep capillaries and blood vessels flexible which can help prevent spider veins and varicose veins. Interesting right? I had no idea before I put on my researcher’s cap.
Are avocados in season? Help yourself to a couple or more! These are an excellent source of vitamins E and C. The fatty avocado helps moisturize and protect your skin from the sun. It’s another food that increases collagen production.
Seriously, eat 1 avocado a day and see what happens.
I love to eat avocados with my toast. How about you? Try my Perfect Avocado Toast + 5 Delicious Variations (so you don’t get bored). I’m also going to throw in 16 Delicious Avocado Recipes so you can see what speaks to you.
Think beans, peas, and lentils. I swear, legumes are way underrated and don’t get enough credit in the US for all the nutrients they bring to the table. They’re rich in fiber, zinc, and manganese and are a low glycemic index carb source.
Plus, legumes don’t spike blood sugar levels or trigger high levels of insulin (which is linked to acne).
If you’re looking for an easy and fuss-free black bean recipe, check out my blog post on How To Make Instant Pot Black Beans + 4 Easy Instant Pot Black Beans Recipes. Dustin and I really got on a black bean kick and it shows.
Looking for a more colorful superfood experience? You gotta try my Cold Lentil Salad.
- Fatty fish
Eating enough fatty fish? The experts over at The American Heart Association recommend two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week…at least!
We’re talking salmon, mackerel, and herring. All are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your skin thick, supple, and moisturized. Yes. Please.
- Whole grains
Whole grains (like brown rice, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, and oatmeal) help combat inflammation and skin damage. They also contain biotin, which prevents skin from getting dry and scaly.
I have a Brown Rice Pilaf With Flank Steak recipe for you that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. And not to play favorites…but I absolutely ADORE my Summer Corn Edamame Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette. What a delicious way to nourish your skin from the inside out.
Bonus Foods For The Skin
I’ve gotta give you a little bonus here because seriously, the food you eat impacts your skin more than you know! So along with the information we’ve unpacked above and the terrific foods we’ve discussed, add these to your grocery cart next time out.
- Sunflower seeds for protein, selenium and zinc
- Chia seeds for omega 3s
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts for vitamin E and help with wound healing
- Olive oil to curb inflammation
- Sardines for omega 3s
- Dark chocolate for an antioxidant boost
- Greek yogurt for a healthy gut (good digestion from probiotics means good skin!)
And can I add a personal point? Don’t forget the self care I’m always encouraging you to take time for. A skincare routine can do wonders for your skin. We’re exposed to uv radiation and uv rays in our day to day activities like washing the car, taking our power walk and playing with the kids at the park.
So along with eating well, care for your skin morning and night with gentle cleaners and fabulous moisturizers. Inside out, right?
More Recipes Your Skin Will Love
If I haven’t saturated this post enough with recipes, here are just a few more 🙂
- Blueberry Protein Shake | Thick & Refreshing
- Orange Protein Shake
- Sweet Potato Nachos
- Fresh Tomato Basil Bruschetta
- 5 Day Superfood Meal Plan
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.