The Best Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Ashley Brooks
Ashley Brooks23 Aug 2022

Not only do healthy foods improve your overall health, but those benefits can be seen at the surface of your skin, too! Foods such as avocados, nuts, fish, berries, and leafy greens contain key nutrients to fight off impurities and prevent signs of aging and irritation. Start from the inside out to improve the look and feel of your skin.

Speaking with a doctor can help determine your skincare needs. With Mira, you have access to doctors’ offices and urgent care visits for just $99! Mira even provides up to 80 percent discounted rates on thousands of prescriptions and lab screenings. Try Mira today.

The Best Foods for Healthy Skin

The best foods for our skin, such as fish, leafy greens, fruits, and green tea, contain similar nutrients beneficial to skin health. Nutrients such as omega-3s, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and zinc are found throughout these types of foods, preventing inflammation and protecting our skin’s moisture barrier.

Diet impacts areas of our health we are often overlooked or taken for granted, including aging and skin health. The best foods to eat are closely related to natural and organic materials, such as fruits and veggies. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Eating a diet poor in nutrients can cause damage from toxins, speed up the again process, and negatively impact our overall health, says Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet

Certified Wellness Coach and Creator of Hungry Fit Foodie Erin Cooper suggests treating skin irritation or blemishes from the inside out. According to the CDC, the benefits of healthy eating include having healthy skin. 

Green Tea

Green tea can protect against inflammation and cancer from the antioxidant properties and polyphenols found in green tea. Polyphenols have also been found to protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. So, not only does drinking green tea support your skin, but the benefits run far deeper!

Other foods that contain polyphenols and provide similar benefits to green tea include other fruits and vegetables, but even red wine and coffee too! Considering starting your day with a cup of green tea in addition to your skincare routine for healthy-looking skin and protection against chronic diseases. 

Fatty Fish

Fish such as tuna and salmon contain key nutrients to improve your skin’s health. From omega-3s to zinc, and protein, and other vitamins, the skin benefits are plentiful. Registered and Licensed Dietitian Rima Kleiner MS of Dish on Fish says that seafood is rich in omega-3s and collagen, which help retain moisture in the skin. Eating foods such as tuna or salmon at least twice a week can help lower your risk of dry winter skin.

Zinc is an abundant mineral already found in the layers of your skin and fish, helping protect against ultraviolet radiation (UV) damage from the sun and aids in the healing process after an injury. A zinc deficiency can lead to alopecia, diarrhea, and skin lesions. Omega-3’s also protect against the harmful effects of UV exposure, and evidence suggests Omega-3s may reduce the chances of non-melanoma skin cancer.

According to Registered Dietitian, Bianca Tamburello of the Chilean Salmon Marketing Council, Omega-3s from farmed fish decrease the number of harmful substances in the body that trigger inflammation, which contributes to facial redness and acne. 

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and collards provide vitamins A, C, and E and omega-3s, protein, and lutein. Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production and protect against harmful UV damage from the sun. As a potent antioxidant, it can help remove harmful toxins from environmental pollutants. When vitamin C is used with vitamin E, oxidative damage is reduced, reducing inflammation, chances of skin cancer, and collagen fragmentation.

Found in leafy greens, lutein can protect against skin irritation and microbial infections but has even more health benefits for your whole body. 

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Yellow and Orange Fruits & Veggies

Bananas, yellow peppers, mangoes, lemons, and many other yellow fruits and veggies contain a chemical called bio-flavonoid, sometimes called vitamin P, which helps break down vitamin C. As we have discussed with leafy greens, vitamin C is essential for protecting our skin. Interestingly, yellow fruits and vegetables also contain retinol, a form of vitamin A that reverses damage from acne and wrinkles. 

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients than those just listed here. Many also help fight off cancers because they contain polyphenols, vitamin B, zinc, iron, and other key minerals. Beta-carotene, a natural pigment found in orange and red organic foods, has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. One study even found that beta-carotene enhances facial color and perceived attractiveness for humans. 

Dark Chocolate & Cocoa

Studies suggest that cocoa consumption improves nutrient and oxygen delivery to the skin. Cocoa-rich dark chocolate contains key nutrients also found in some fruits and vegetables, like polyphenols and antioxidants. The bitterness of dark chocolate is primarily due to flavonoids, which can protect against sun damage and improve blood flow to your skin while increasing hydration.

Unsurprisingly, flavonoids also contain protective and anti-inflammatory effects, but choose your chocolate carefully as only those containing 70 percent or higher dark chocolate contains these beneficial antioxidants. Those containing fewer amounts of cocoa, such as milk chocolate, do not provide as many skin benefits. 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are high in vitamin E, such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts. Vitamin E helps prevent collagen destruction and provides antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E protects against oxygen free radicals, highly reactive molecules that contribute to inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and other human diseases worsened by unprotected sun exposure.

Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin E and provide healthy unsaturated fats, proteins, zinc, and other essential nutrients. It is no surprise that these have skin-protective properties and even provide anticancer, antihypertensive, and antibacterial activity. Not only do sunflower seeds protect your skin, but can seed extracts are beneficial for fighting respiratory infections and urinary problems. Flaxseed oil and safflower seed oil have also been shown to decrease skin sensitivity, roughness, and scaling while improving the smoothness and hydration of the skin. Even chia seeds have been used in herbal medicine for offering anti-inflammatory properties and wound-healing effects. 

Registered Dietician, Bianca Tamburello says, “research suggests better skin elasticity is associated with higher intake of monounsaturated fats, one of the “healthy” fats. To prevent decreased skin elasticity and saggy or cracked skin, eat more avocadoes, peanuts and peanut butter, and other nuts and seeds.”

Water-Abundant Fruits & Veggies

Fruits and veggies that have a high water content are great for adding hydration to your skin. Watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and celery are just some of the many fruits and veggies made up of over 80 percent water. They also provide plenty of other nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin A and K to help promote healthier skin and protect against the harmful effects of toxins. 

Watermelon and other melons help moisturize the skin and reduce the severity of skin diseases. They also help with digestion and gut health, which can greatly impact the quality of your skin. 

Another hydrating vegetable glamorized in beauty magazines as a topical skin treatment, cucumbers offer numerous skincare benefits when used topically or ingested. They provide cooling effects on your skin while offering hydration and reducing dark circles and inflammation because of the high levels of vitamin K cucumbers contain. Cucumbers have even been used to treat wrinkles and sunburn. 

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Best Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding foods to eat for healthy skin. 

Are some individuals more prone to skin reactions due to eating a certain food?

Niyla Carlon, Nutritionist for Fast Food Menu Prices, says, “certain individuals are more prone to skin reaction due to eating certain foods, like those dealing with eczema or other autoimmune diseases. One main reason for this is their leaky gut, which is highly impacted by eating inflammatory foods.

What foods cause the most harm to our skin and why?

The foods that are not so good for the skin include those rich in refined carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, white rice, noodles, sweetened beverages like soda, and other foods high in sweeteners. For those dealing with autoimmune diseases like eczema and psoriasis, it is advisable to cut dairy and gluten-rich foods from their diet, as these cause leaky gut and other inflammatory causes, says Carlson.

What are other ways you can improve the look and feel of your skin?

Speaking with a dermatologist can help tailor your skincare needs and goals. Managing stress, drinking enough water, and avoiding touching your face are great ways to improve blood circulation, increase hydration, and reduce the buildup of acne-causing bacteria. 

Bottom Line

Eating healthy food benefits your entire body, including your skin. Key vitamins and minerals can be found in natural and organic foods to prevent inflammation, promote the creation of new cells, and retain moisture. The food you eat is absorbed within your body, so be kind to yourself and nourish your body with many vital nutrients. 

While you take important steps to improve your health, consider a preventative health screening or doctor visit for an annual check-up. Mira provides up to 80 percent discounted rates on prescriptions, preventative lab screenings, and just $99 urgent care and doctors’ office visits. Try Mira today!

Ashley Brooks

Ashley Brooks works in Healthcare Consulting and graduates with her MPH in September of 2022 from George Washington University, but graduated with her B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University in 2019. Ashley has been with Mira since June of 2021 and shares the passion for creating affordable healthcare coverage for all!