The eight best foods for healthy skin

When it comes to looking after your skin, what you put into your body is just as important as the way you treat your skin and the products you use. Different foods and drinks contain nutrients that help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy, so a balanced diet is an important part of skincare. 

As well as drinking plenty of water, which helps to hydrate your skin, some specific foods are very effective at helping to fight acne, keep your skin looking fresh and avoid dryness. 

Here are eight foods that are great for your skin:

Fatty fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids have several benefits including helping skin stay hydrated, protecting skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and reducing inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids also help preserve collagen in your skin. Collagen is responsible for the elasticity of your skin and prevents it from sagging. As you age, your body naturally starts producing less collagen, which is why skin starts to become thinner, less elastic and drier — that’s why wrinkles form.

Increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating cold-water, fatty fish therefore helps maintain your skin’s youthful appearance for longer. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, anchovies and herring.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, which helps promote your skin’s natural glow. Selenium also protects your skin cells against damage by the sun’s harmful UV rays, ensuring it looks and feels healthy.

Brazil nuts also have high levels of antioxidants and vitamin E to support your skin's health. Antioxidants help combat free radicals, which can damage collagen, while vitamin E helps maintain the cellular integrity of your skin so it stays hydrated.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are full of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, quercetin and lycopene, which is a powerful carotenoid responsible for the red colour of ripe tomatoes. Lycopene also protects your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays and decreases your skin’s sensitivity to sunburn — although you should still use sun protection when you’re outdoors. Lycopene can improve the texture of your skin too.

Although you can benefit from these antioxidants when you eat raw tomatoes, cooking your tomatoes actually increases the amount of antioxidants that your body can absorb from the tomatoes. So don’t just add raw tomatoes to your salads, try cooking them in sauces or roasting them in the oven.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a provitamin A. This means that your body can convert it into vitamin A, which helps with UV protection, as well as dry skin, wrinkles and cell degeneration. A high intake of beta-carotene has also been found to add a warm orange colour to those with lighter skin tones.

While beta-carotene can be found in a lot of fruits and vegetables, including oranges, spinach and carrots, sweet potatoes contain particularly high levels, which means you can get a good dose of beta-carotene from a smaller portion.

Sweet potatoes also contain fewer carbohydrates than standard potatoes, making them a healthy alternative for the starchy portion of your meal.

Avocados

Avocados aren’t just great on toast, they’re also high in healthy fats which help keep your skin supple, hydrated and elastic — all of which can help reduce the signs of ageing.

They are also a great source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is often a consequence of eating high-fat, high-sugar or highly processed foods, as well as smoking and drinking alcohol. British diets are often low in vitamin E, so including avocados in your diet can help increase your intake.

It’s worth noting that vitamin E is most effective when it is combined with vitamin C, which is also important for your skin as it helps with collagen production. Luckily, avocados are also a good source of vitamin C.

Dark chocolate

Indulging in lots of high-sugar foods isn’t good for your general health or skin but eating dark chocolate in moderation can actually help your skin. Dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa is high in antioxidants, which have been found to improve the thickness of your skin and its hydration. Dark chocolate can also help improve blood flow to your skin so it can get more nutrients and look healthier.

Bell peppers

Another great vegetable for your skin is bell peppers, especially red or yellow ones. They are a great source of beta-carotene, which is converted by your body into vitamin A. Just like sweet potatoes, they offer a particularly high dose of beta-carotene so are an easy way to get a healthy dose of beta-carotene in your diet.

Red and yellow bell peppers are also a good source of vitamin C, which helps with the creation of collagen in your skin. Eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods has been linked to smoother, more hydrated skin.

Bell peppers provide benefits for your skin whether they are eaten cooked or raw, offering a lot of options when it comes to preparing meals.

Green tea

Green tea has been linked to improved brain function and fat burning but also has benefits for your skin health as it is high in antioxidants. As with other antioxidant-rich foods, green tea can help protect your skin against UV damage from the sun. It also improves your skin’s elasticity and moisture retention, as well as reducing skin thinning.

It’s worth noting that green tea is most beneficial when drunk without milk, as several studies have found that milk may reduce the antioxidant benefits of green tea.

Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.


The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences.Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing.He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.