Your favorite foods may keep your skin youthful.
By Taylor Lupo
Collagen fibers, the body’s most abundant proteins, help hold your body together. Located in the bones, muscles, tendons and skin, it’s no wonder the function and production of these proteins are vital to your health. Collagen also plays a big role in the appearance of your skin.
With age, collagen production slows down. The reduction can lead to loose and sagging skin, and the telltale sign of maturity, wrinkles. Topical treatments like lotions and serums and even slightly more invasive treatments, like Botox or skin resurfacing, help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but they don’t rejuvenate collagen production. What might? A balanced diet, high in collagen-boosting foods.
Salmon tops the list of anti-aging eats! Fatty fish is high in good fats like omega-3s, which promote heart health and may even reduce your risk of heart disease. For these reasons, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings each week.
Fatty acids also play a crucial role in normal skin function. In fact, your skin can’t function without them and a deficiency in fatty acids can cause dermatitis, extremely dry and scaly skin. Some lab research also suggests that omega-3s can help protect collagen from sun damage, the major cause of skin aging.
A balanced diet, low in saturated fat and salt, can help keep skin looking youthful, but, adding foods with skin-boosting benefits is never a bad idea! Research suggests a diet high in vitamin C, found in tomatoes, is associated with a decrease in visible wrinkles and better overall skin appearance.
Your body needs vitamin C to produce collagen, and because it’s an antioxidant, it protects your body’s cells (including your skin) against harmful free radicals, too.
Plump berries may help promote, younger-looking skin. A single cup of blackberries is packed with 50 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C, which plays a major role in collagen synthesis, or the production of skin-boosting collagen. Strawberries are even more impressive, delivering 150 percent DV in a single cup!
Another benefit of the berry? Berries are filled with water. In fact, strawberries are made up of 91 percent water! Your skin cells need adequate water to function properly; dehydrated skin becomes dry, flaky and more prone to wrinkles.
Kale, a fibrous, leafy green, has garnered tons of attention from the health world—and for good reason. Kale is a nutrient powerhouse, making it good for your heart, digestion, eyes and immune health. With so many vitamins packed in its veiny leaves, it’s no wonder this veggie is good for glowing skin as well.
One cup is all you need to reap the benefits. A single cup of chopped kale, the perfect bed for your lunchtime salad, contains 134 percent of the recommended daily value of collagen-promoting vitamin C. Punch up the collagen-boosting power of your meal by adding cherry tomatoes and diced avocado.
Avocados, loaded with vitamins and minerals, promote health benefits like healthy cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Avocado is abundant in vitamin C, a main ingredient in collagen production; contains some vitamin A, which helps form and maintain healthy skin; and packed with niacin, also important for skin health. Mash it as a dip, blend it in a smoothie or spread it on your sandwich—any way you eat it, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits.
There are topical benefits to vitamin C-rich foods, too. Make an all-natural facemask with avocado to brighten, tighten and tone your skin.
Just one cup of chopped red bell peppers packs 317 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C.
Peppers are also saturated with good old H2O, making them great for hydrating your body and your skin. Bell peppers are also rich in vitamin A and contain about 7 percent of the daily recommended value of niacin (a B vitamin), two nutrients that promote healthy, glowing skin.