Dr. Ariel Ostad, a NYC Board Certified Dermatologist and Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgeon, offers his advice on which foods should be staples in your diet to help you avoid chronic skin conditions and give your skin that youthful glow.
1. Pick Your Berries
For years you’ve heard that antioxidants (like those found in chocolate) can block free radicals, but they also do the same for skin. Free radicals, like the sun’s rays, are normally combated by sunscreen. For more natural protection, just add berries to your diet. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are incredible sources of these antioxidants and excellent foods for healthy skin. By helping protect your skin’s cells from damage, you are guarding it against premature aging.
2. Don’t Forget the Veggies
Beta-carotene and vitamins A and C are two nutrients that can help your skin retain its moisture and prevent dryness. Sweet potatoes as well as an array of other vegetables are great ways to load up on these vitamins.
3. Got Milk?
Yes, you should be drinking milk (as long as it's low fat) to get your fill of calcium and vitamins. In fact, any type of low-fat dairy product is wonderful for your skin because it is full of vitamin A which is one of the most important elements of healthy, glowing skin.
4. Good for You Oil
You might not think of oils as good foods for healthy skin. But healthy oils can give your skin that moisturized look, without the moisturizer. However, it truly depends on the oils you choose. Dr. Ostad suggests using two tablespoons a day of olive oil to keep your skin not only lubricated, but healthy to boot.
5. Whole Grains
White flour breads and starchy foods increase insulin levels in the body. The higher they are, the more inflammation you can have, and the more irritated your skin will become. Instead, choose whole-grain breads which contain selenium, an antioxidant that helps control cell damage which can leading to skin cancer.
No one seems to be able to agree on the amount of water we should be consuming daily, but no matter how many glasses the new trend reports, drinking pure water hydrates the skin and keeps it looking healthy, resilient and young.
7. Flax Seed, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Salmon
These foods for healthy skin might not seem to have much in common, but they all deliver large amounts of essential fatty acids to your skin. They are responsible for healthy cell membranes which act as barriers that keep harmful pollutants out and allow nutrients free reign.
Dr. Ostad explains that, “Because it is the cell membrane that also holds water in, the stronger that barrier is the better your cells can hold moisture. And that means plumper, younger looking skin.”
Perhaps the most well-known essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6. Most of us seem to get enough omega-6 through our diets, but many lack omega-3. Eating a diet rich in fish, walnuts, and flax seed oil will load you up on all needed omegas.
8. Green Tea
Green tea has a massive list of health benefits for your weight, and those benefits carry over to your skin as well.
"Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, and it's protective to the cell membrane," says Dr. Ostad. "It may even help prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer."
Green tea is often is part of a healthy diet, but it can also be applied directly to the skin just like sunscreen to reduce effect of sun damage.