From collagen-rich skin serums to glow-giving moisturizers, your beauty cabinet is likely overflowing with lotions and potions that claim to work miracles for your skin — but what about your pantry? That’s right, taking a closer look at what you eat, or don’t eat, could actually be the key to helping you achieve the radiant skin you desire.
Just as you fuel yourself with nutritious food packed with vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy, your skin also needs healthy doses of specific nutrients to help it function and look its best.
Here, we look at six essential skin-supporting nutrients and how you can start incorporating them into your diet.
When it comes to beautiful skin, zinc isn’t exactly the first skin-enhancing nutrient that comes to mind. However, this essential mineral is found in every single cell of your body and your skin’s cells are particularly dependent on it.
Zinc can help with maintaining skin health by removing old collagen and creating new collagen, and works with other vitamins to promote smooth, supple skin.
Despite being such a vital mineral, zinc is a commonly deficient mineral. In order to boost your zinc intake — and your skin’s overall appearance — try upping your legume intake; that’s chickpeas, lentils, and beans, as well as nuts and seeds.
A long-time fixture of the beauty industry, collagen has been praised for its ability to increase skin elasticity and enhance a more youthful appearance. It has become a staple ingredient in many of the beauty industry’s cult serums and face creams, and now there is a movement toward consuming the beauty-boosting protein via our diet.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body — found in bones, muscles, and skin — but as the body begins to age, it produces less collagen, which can consequently cause skin to wrinkle, and become dry and dull.
To help support and boost your body’s natural production of the protein, collagen-rich supplements can help to smooth and firm skin, increase elasticity and aid in moisture retention. Look for supplements with hydrolyzed collagen — it’s a more bioavailable form of collagen — as it is more easily absorbed than other types of collagen found in protein-rich foods. We like this one from Dr. Axe ($43.95, Amazon).
When you’re hit with a nasty flu you know that vitamin C can help to boost your immune system, but did you know that it can also promote radiant skin?
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps to protect your body from harmful molecules called free radicals that damage the skin’s favorite protein, collagen. Due to its repairing qualities, vitamin C can effectively tackle the primary cause of premature aging to give you brighter, firmer skin.
While topical vitamin C treatments are recommended, getting in your daily dose of the nutrient via vitamin C-rich foods is essential. Tropical fruits like guava and papaya are packed with the vitamin, as are strawberries and blackberries, which are all incredibly accessible and easy foods to add to your diet.
Eight vitamins for the price of one? That’s the B vitamin complex — a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism and boast different skin benefits.
Of the eight, vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, is one of the best forms of the B vitamins for your skin. Helping to treat conditions like rosacea, acne, hyper pigmentation, and dry skin, vitamin B3 can improve the appearance of your skin’s complexion by softening, smoothing and reducing the appearance of fine lines and redness.
Try a b-complex like this one from Garden of Life ($15.39, Amazon).
Essential Fatty Acids
If you’re banning fats from your diet in a quest to lose weight, your skin won’t be thanking you. Healthy bodies need healthy fats and healthy skin needs essential fatty acids, so if you’re not getting enough fatty acids in your diet, your skin can actually be left feeling dry, inflamed, and prone to breakouts.
The benefit of essential fatty acids — like omega-3s and -6s — is that they can help to produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, keeping skin hydrated, plump, and radiant. Not to mention, they can help to reduce sun sensitivity and diminish inflammation associated with acne.
If you’re ready to boost your skin with these smart fats, start incorporating more oily fish, nuts, and seeds into your diet. Salmon, mackerel, and walnuts are all packed with omega-3s ,and nuts and seeds are rich in omega-6.
No stranger to the beauty world, vitamin E has long been a skin damage-reversing ingredient in face and eye creams. Applying a body lotion that contains vitamin E can help protect against the effects of sun exposure, and can soothe dry skin.
However, this powerful antioxidant is as important to lather on skin as it is to eat as it can help to protect the fat component of the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, much like vitamin C. Therefore, eating more vitamin E-rich foods can help to improve your skin’s overall texture.
Sources of vitamin E can be found in a wide variety of foods, with green leafy vegetables being the most common. Upping your daily dose of broccoli, spinach, and asparagus can spike your vitamin E levels, resulting in better skin. Remember to always be cautious as to how much you consume as large doses can be harmful. If you’re having trouble understanding your vitamin E limits, always speak to your doctor.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.