“You are what you eat” couldn’t be more true when it comes to healthy skin. Acne, eczema, dryness and other skin conditions can all be a reflection of a poor diet. Eat (and drink!) your way to a gorgeous complexion with our dietitian’s top skin-boosting foods.
1. Drink plenty of water for healthy skin
“Your skin is your biggest organ and it’s a reflection of what’s going on inside your body,” says Christy Brissette, a Toronto-based registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition. Drinking water might seem like a no-brainer, but most people don’t get enough H20 in their day and it can lead to sullen, dry skin, especially in the winter. If plain old water doesn’t float your boat, Brissette recommends making your own spa water. Adding citrus fruit, cucumbers or frozen berries can be a great way to infuse flavour and add some antioxidants to your drink. Because skin is 30 per cent water, proper hydration can actually improve its thickness and density—a research finding published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. For healthy skin, Brissette recommends aiming for 8 to 10 cups of water per day.
2. Eat salmon for healthy skin
“People pile on the moisturizer but if they don’t treat their skin issues internally they won’t get that natural glow,” says Brissette. One of her tips to achieve luminous, healthy skin is to ramp up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in oily fish. “Omega-3 fatty acids help your skin to remove waste and lock-in moisture,” she says. “That’s why one of the tell-tale signs of not getting enough omega-3s is dry skin.” A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that in addition to improving the look and feel of your skin, omega-3s also provide some protective benefits when it comes to certain skin cancers. To tap the rejuvenating effects of these omega-3s, she recommends adding one or two servings of Atlantic salmon, Arctic char, or trout to your weekly diet. If you aren’t a fish fan, stock up on vegetarian sources of omega-3s by adding chia, flax, walnuts and hemp oils to your meals.
3. Eat sweet potatoes for healthy skin
When craving comfort food, people tend to reach for high glycemic index foods like refined carbohydrates—and then end up with inflamed skin to show for it. Conditions like acne can be exacerbated by foods that spike your blood sugar, says Brissette. To get your carb fix without sacrificing healthy skin, she recommends roasting up some sweet potatoes. This satiating side dish delivers a double-whammy of antioxidants and fibre, without taking your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride.