Foods that are Great for Beautiful Skin

Beautiful Skin starts with the Inside.

Ever heard the phrase, "real beauty comes from within"? Well, it does. For beauty on the outside, you need to eat the right foods that are great for your skin!

Most younger women can rely on their abundance of collagen to carry them through as they ride the waves of self-inflicted sugar spikes and nutritionally questionable diets. Did you just cringe? Was that you not so long ago? Is it you now? Well, today we are going to help you reverse that damage and get on the right track to healthy beautiful skin that glows and is more youthful!

In general, what is good for your health is what you'll find leads to beautiful skin. High fat diets aren't just bad for your heart, they make you more wrinkled, too. You'll find that the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is often quoted as finding "that a 17-gram increase in fat intake increases your odds of developing wrinkles by 28%". In a separate study, Australian researchers compared wrinkles and diets of Greeks and Swedes and found that people who eat more vegetables, beans, fish and olive oil have the least amount of wrinkles.

When reading about skin several terms come up over and over again. The most important ones to understand are collagen, free radicals and antioxidants. Collagen is what "gives your skin its support, " says a top Hollywood Celebrity Dermatologist, Dr. Wu. It is "like the boning in a couture gown" she explains. Collagen, plus elastin, is what keeps skin elastic, supple and firm. Free radicals damage your collagen and other vital skin functions, which accelerates the signs of aging. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Sun damage directly affects the health of collagen and it causes other damage such as dark spots. Besides UV rays, inflammation is a top enemy and covers a vast range of skin problems, including acne. Eating right, drinking right and staying out of the Sun is the best thing you can do to remain looking youthful. 

If you've not eaten right, drank enough water, and stayed out of the Sun, it is not too late! There are a handful of foods that show up on everyone's must have list to get beautiful skin and prevent wrinkles.

beautiful woman's face behind big leaf

walnuts are Crazy good for you

You won't believe all that walnuts do! Walnuts fill the bill for several key ingredients necessary for beautiful skin. Peanuts, almonds and pecans can't match the levels of antioxidants found in walnuts. Walnuts are a great source for copper, a mineral, that boosts collagen production AND for omega-3 fatty acids, too. You'll find, in a 1/4 cup (50 grams) is 83.5% of your daily recommended amount of copper and 113% of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 is on everyone's list of foods that are good for you skin. Not getting enough leads to dry, scaly skin and even eczema. Omega-3 keeps your skin firm and protects your collagen. It literally locks in moisture, plumping out your skin and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. This miracle nut also contains Zinc. The Black Walnut has the highest of the varieties, at about 14% DV for a 1/4 cup. Zinc plays a vital role in the growth and functioning of skin cells. 

If that wasn't enough, it also has another key ingredient, Vitamin E. It protects you from UV light and allows the body to fight inflammation. Walnuts give you 69.5% of your DV for Vitamin E.  An indirect, but very important, way that Walnuts keep you from aging is through B-vitamins. B-vitamins are necessary for mood and stress management. Dump the stress, dump the free radicals attacking your skin... and the frown lines. Still not convinced? Adding walnuts to your diet decreases "abdominal adiposity", or fat around your mid section. Although I am sure you are convinced already, it feels wrong to not mention that walnuts are good for getting stronger hair, too. 

Eat: 1 oz or 1/4 cup. This is about 6 to 7 walnuts. 

 

Olive Oil has the most proof, of any oil, connecting it to beautiful skin.

Olive oil is high in antioxidants and it reduces inflammation. Women between 45 and 60 years old who eat more than 2 teaspoons each day have "31% fewer signs of aging" when compared to women who ate less than 1 teaspoon daily. This was reported in a 2.5 year long study published 2012. This same report found no link between less "severe photoaging" and eating monounsaturated fatty acids from animal meat or products. In other words, Omega-3s are not all created equally with equal benefits. Olive oil is cited as the one with the link to looking younger. It beat other plant based oils, such as sunflower and peanut, too. Another benefit is vitamin E and a special form of antioxidants called polyphenols that help protect against free radical damage.

 

Carrots make you Glow

1 large or 16 baby carrots have significant amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a required ingredient to collagen production. The more collagen, the younger you look. Yes, it has Vitamin A, too! Your body takes the beta carotene in carrots and turns it into Vitamin A. To grow new healthy skin cells, Vitamin A can't be skipped. Not surprisingly, a deficiency in Vitamin A is linked to some types of skin cancer. It also gives you a healthy glow through the carotenoids it contains. These can take a pasty complexion and give it a nice yellow tone that looks healthier.

Kiwi is the best for Vitamin C

While lots of foods have vitamin C in some amounts, the kiwi is the best food to work into your diet. Vitamin C is highly affected by air so fruits like strawberries with porous skin can leak your collagen producing ingredient! Kiwi, however, locks in this nutrient with it's furry skin. Eat more than 4 milligrams of this vitamin a day and in 3 years you will be 11% less wrinkled than your peers who didn't eat that much. You can find this report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin C also works wonders when applied topically.

Kiwi and beautiful skin on woman

Fish isn't just a Source for Omega-3

Selenium and B12 are the reasons to reel in the fish. Selenium completes the core trio when added to a diet already containing vitamin E and C. Sure, there are other vegan sources but you'll have to eat a lot of the alternatives compared to the high levels of selenium and B12 found in Tuna. Best vegan alternative? Brazil nuts for selenium and fortified cereals for B12. Four Brazil nuts will get you the minimum recommended amount of selenium needed daily. Selenium rich diets are linked to less skin cancer, less sun damage and less age spots. Wanna skip the fish and the calorie packed nuts? Think about that carefully! This antioxidant might cause problems if taken in a high dose through supplemental pills. Like selenium, Vitamin B12 keeps your skin tone beautifully even. If you don't get enough expect to eventually get spots - dark and white both.

Don't skip the Almonds, skip the Milk

Yes, you need to eat about 1/4 cup of walnuts but your not done with the nuts. While almonds and walnuts overlap in some areas, like Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids (with walnuts providing more) you'll find almonds have another unique ability. They can substitute for milk. Dairy, we sadly have to report, is highly inflammatory. This means it will aggravate acne, wrinkles and rashes says Dr. Jessica Wu, the writer of "Feed Your Face". Organic milk and lactose free milk are still dairy, so they won't work as substitutes. Sweetened vanilla almond milk is palatable to many people not able to abide by plain almond milk or soy milk, but either one is a great choice. Just remember, the lower the sugar the better for acquiring and keeping beautiful skin. Dr. Wu agrees that high sugar consumption leads to inflammation, dry skin... and wrinkles. So if you can drink the non-sweetened version - you should!

Yes, Chocolate is a must have .. and a bit of Red Wine!

Dark chocolate is proven good for you. This is truly one of those times that "too good to be true" just doesn't apply... unless you go overboard and pack on the pounds. Chocolate, specifically, has flavonols and flavanols. Flavonols, like antioxidants in general, combat inflammation and free radicals. One particular flavonol found in chocolate is quercetin. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals. Why not milk chocolate? It has higher sugar and fats. Sugar spikes make your skin look older, long before it should.

Red wine is another source of flavonols. It is the top source of the antioxidant compound resveratrol which has anti-tumor properties. Red wine reduces skin lesions caused by long term sun damage. Australian researchers discovered half a glass of red wine reduces the occurrence of the skin lesions by 28%.

Don't like chocolate or wine (gasp!), then eat the outer layer of yellow onions for quercetin or dark red colored fruits. Better yet, eat capers! LOTS of Boiled peanuts or red grapes are okay for resveratrol, too.

woman with beautiful skin drinking glass of red wine

Wrapping it up

  1. Eat less bad fats and more good fats to get less wrinkles.
  2. Avoid sugar spikes, they age you. This is why crash diets are a bad idea. Use slow release carbs like oatmeal and beans to prevent spiking your sugar levels. 
  3. Use 2 teaspoons a day of Olive oil.
  4. Eat a 1/4 cup of raw walnuts.
  5. Get your vitamin A, B12, C and E.
  6. Make sure to get your copper and selenium.
  7. Don't forget the quercetin and resveratrol! ... Dark Chocolate and a 1/2 cup of red wine daily? Count me in.
  8. Drink lots of water. If you aren't properly hydrated, how can you skin be?
  9. Give your new diet some time to work. 

Keep in mind that scientific studies quoted in this article allowed themselves a minimum of 12 weeks before they expected a measurable change, and some of these benefits accumulated after 2 to 3 years. Take some close up pictures now and in 3 months you should see the difference if you have significantly changed your diet. You can have beautiful skin!

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