Here are 8 foods that are proven to improve the skin's appearance, and recommended to include in your daily menu.
1. Dark chocolate
The impressive healthful properties of chocolate are found in the cocoa beans from which it is made. Cocoa beans contain a high concentration of flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are proven to protect the skin from environmental damage, such as the sun, pollution, and radiation. Also, they help in the absorption of vitamin C, and together with it, they enhance the production of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for the skin's flexibility and firmness. But in order to get the true benefits from chocolate, you must make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa solids, and limit your intake to 3 to 4 squares a day.
Other foods that are rich in flavonoids include fruits, red wine, nuts, and fresh vegetables.
2. Probiotic yogurt
Probiotic bacteria help to balance the skin bacteria system, according to a large study published a few years ago in the British Journal of Dermatology. They also help to reduce skin inflammation and improve acne and other skin conditions, such as eczema. Zinc, a mineral found in yogurt, is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands (fat secretion), and this helps to make the skin look hydrated and feel more flexible. Other foods that contain probiotics include cottage cheese, soft cheese, and aged cheese, such as gouda, cheddar, parmesan, pickled cabbage, miso, and pickled cucumbers.
For zinc intake, it is recommended to eat beef, fortified breakfast cereals, chicken, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
3. Salmon and fish from the North Sea
Fish from the North Sea, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation that damages the skin and accelerates aging. Also, omega 3 increases the natural moisture level of the skin and reduces dryness and dandruff.
Other foods that contain omega-3 include walnuts, flaxseed, soya beans, spinach, and chia seeds.
4. Peppers of all colors
Peppers are rich in vitamin C, which helps to neutralize free radicals that harm the skin texture, cause wrinkles, and accelerate aging. Also, vitamin C helps in the production of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for skin firmness and flexibility.
Other foods that are rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit, cabbage, cauliflower, and more.
Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and a wide range of vitamins, such as vitamin C, A, K, and beta carotene. Due to all its natural benefits, avocado is regarded as a nutritious fruit that maintains the skin's natural sebum balance and flexibility.
Other foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids include raw walnuts, olives, olive oil, or avocado oil as a salad dressing.
6. Sweet potato
Sweet potato contains beta carotene, a derivative of vitamin A. Beta carotene has many functions, but the main one is minimizing UV radiation damage and protecting against skin cancer. Vitamin A is essential for minimizing sun spots and age spots, helps in wound healing, and slows the aging process.
Other foods that contain beta carotene include all orange foods, such as mango, carrot, peach, pumpkin, and apricot.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, oatmeal helps to balance the skin's pH level, and therefore prevents skin irritation and accelerates skin recovery. Oatmeal contains high concentrations of starch and beta-carotene, which are responsible for maintaining the skin's moisture. Oatmeal can be added to a range of dishes, foods, and pastries, such as soup, porridge, yogurt, bread, and even health cookies.
More than the fact that watermelon is rich in water, it also contains an impressive amount of vitamin C, whose benefits were already mentioned above, and lycopene, the pigment that gives watermelon its red color and a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene helps to improve blood flow to the skin cells and maintains radiant, glowing skin. However, it has mainly been researched for its ability to protect the skin from sun damage.
Other foods that contain lycopene include tomatoes and red-pigmented foods, such as red grapefruit, red guava, red cabbage, and chili.
By the way, in order for the body to absorb lycopene, it must be eaten with a small amount of fat (for example, watermelon with feta cheese, and tomatoes with a few drops of olive oil).