Sweaty foreheads and sunburned backs are evidence that summer can be hard on skin. This year, don’t compromise fun in the sun. Instead, slather on the sunscreen and enjoy these 10 epidermis-enhancing foods to nourish your skin from the inside out.
This quintessential summer food is known for its high water content. This juicy red melon helps keep you and your skin hydrated. Hydration plays an important role in the elasticity, or stretchiness, of skin. Extra oily skin is a common sign of skin dehydration, as the body recognizes dryness and signals sebaceous glands to rev up oil production.
- Bell peppers
Commonly mistaken for veggies, these colorful fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals, or unstable atoms that can cause cellular damage. It protects and heals skin by supporting collagen and hyaluronic acid production, plumping skin to reduce wrinkles.
- Greek yogurt
It’s loaded with protein, the building block for all tissue in the body including skin. Be sure to incorporate protein at every meal and snack with foods like meat, fish, dairy, beans, or nuts to help strengthen skin and increase satiety.
- Olive oil
Rich in polyphenols, antioxidant plant compounds, olive oil can help reduce inflammation. Specifically, olive oil contains a rare polyphenol named hydroxytyrosol that has been shown in some research to slow the aging process. Scientists recommend 1–2 tablespoons each day to reap skin-health benefits.
- Sunflower seeds
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that flights free radicals that damage skin. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds contains 66% of daily need for vitamin E! Vitamin E along with vitamins A, D, and K require the presence of fat for absorption. Gear up for glowing skin by sprinkling sunflower seeds on top of full-fat Greek yogurt for a protein, fat, and antioxidant-filled snack.
- Sweet potatoes
A half cup of baked sweet potato contains six times the daily need for vitamin A. Vitamin A is yet another antioxidant that protects skin from sun-exposure and skin damage.
Slurping down two oysters provides a full daily dose of zinc for calm, smooth skin. Zinc acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body and helps reduce painful, red acne. Not a fan of oysters? Try 70% dark chocolate, cashews, or chickpeas for a zinc boost instead.
This versatile, nutrient-filled fruit is easy to add to summertime meals. Mash it for guacamole, blend it with berries for smoothies, or slice and spread on toast. Avocados are rich in fat and contain vitamins E and C, making them a creamy and nourishing food for skin health.
This fatty-fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed to keep skin supple, hydrated, and firm. A telltale sign of omega-3 deficiency is dry skin. Memphis Nutrition Group RDs recommend boosting food sources of nutrients prior to supplementation, but in some cases, taking an omega-3 supplement can be beneficial. This summer, try adding fatty fish to your menu a couple of times per week.
Tofu and other soy products contain isoflavones, compounds that either block or mimic estrogen and may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production.
Ensuring meal and nutrient adequacy is of utmost importance for improving skin health. The most important thing to remember when eating to enhance skin health: eat enough! Aim to eat three meals a day, with a snack or two, to power you till bedtime. The body is constantly working for our good, so fuel it well all year round!
Caroline Pruente, MS, RDN, LDN is a nutrition therapist and Registered Dietitian at Memphis Nutrition Group. Memphis Nutrition Group believes in a non-diet approach that promotes overall health and optimal performance without compromising the enjoyment of food. For more information call Memphis Nutrition Group at 901.343.6146 or visit MemphisNutritionGroup.com.