It’s easy to spend a fortune on face creams, serums, and oils to help fight off the aging process, but what your skin really needs is a boost from the inside out. How you feed your body can make a big difference to how your skin ages.
“Our skin can be a very visible sign of the aging process and how well our bodies are coping,” says nutritional therapist Yvonne Bishop-Weston. We’re all aware of how important a healthy diet is for our hearts, bones, and brains, but few of us think about it when it comes to our skin — and it could make a huge difference.
“For example, if you eat more foods that contain the vitamins your skin needs to make collagen, the substance that helps keep your skin elastic, you might see fewer wrinkles,” says Candice Gardner, education curriculum manager at the International Dermal Institute. There are some specific nutrients that could help your skin, plump up wrinkles, and give you that youthful glow. Here’s what you need.
Load up on antioxidants.
These are nutrients including vitamins A, C, and E found in fruit and vegetables. “Vitamin A helps regulate skin renewal, for smooth, healthy skin,” says Gardner,. “Vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen and gives some natural UV protection, and vitamin E fights off free-radical damage.”
Eat more: Berries, plums, and prunes are especially rich in antioxidants, but all fruits and vegetables contain them. Avocados and sunflower seeds are good sources of vitamin E.
Balance your blood sugar.
A diet high in refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta, and cake, could send your blood sugar and insulin levels seesawing. “This has been shown to cause inflammation which could speed up the age process, and the insulin could also damage collagen, the substance that keeps your skin elastic,” says Bishop-Weston.
Eat more: Protein such as fish, meat, or beans with your carbs, and eat regular meals to keep your blood sugar balanced. Also, choose whole-grain foods such as granary bread, which gives you sustained energy and blood sugar.
Even out hormones.
Loss of estrogen can contribute to wrinkles because it affects collagen levels. And changing hormone levels at menopause can direct fat away from your face, which can make lines look worse. “So include phytoestrogens — plant substances which have estrogen-like effects,” says Bishop-Weston. “These can help balance low estrogen levels after menopause and give your skin a boost.
Eat more: Soy foods such as tofu, edamame beans, and miso soup. Have plenty of linseeds and beans and vegetables, too.
Up your healthy oils.
“Fish provides omega 3 fats, which support healthy cell membranes, allowing nutrients in, and waste out of cells too,” says Bishop-Weston. “These fats also helps to keep fluids inside your skin’s cells, so it stays smooth, supple, and hydrated.”
Eat more: Oily fish such as sardines and salmon, or try linseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts for omega 3s if you don’t eat fish. “Also consider a krill supplement — krill is low in toxins and is thought to be better absorbed than other forms of fish oil,” says Bishop-Weston.
“Dehydrated skin looks dull and saggy,” says Bishop-Weston. Too much alcohol, tea, and coffee not only dehydrate your skin, but they can also contribute to aging. “Alcohol depletes nutrients, while caffeine can upset blood sugar balance and digestive health, affecting your skin quality.”
Eat more: Try to drink 50 ounces a day of quality fluids. This doesn’t all have to be water; herbal and green tea can also contribute to your fluid intake.
Top up with a supplement.
“You need more nutrients as you get older, so taking a good quality multivitamin supplement can help you make sure you get all the essentials,” says Bishop-Weston.
“Nuts and seeds provide vitamins, minerals, and essential fats,” says Bishop-Weston. “Selenium from Brazil nuts is an important antioxidant. Nuts and seeds also provide vitamin E for skin cell growth and to help even out the skin tone.”
Eat more: Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower, pumpkin, and linseeds. Try a few sprinkled on some natural yogurt for a snack.
You can also put vitamins directly onto your skin for a real boost. Try vitamin-infused products like a vitamin C serum.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.