Can Eating a Ton of Salmon Improve Your Skin?

When news of Mariah Carey’s one-food diet hit last week—the star said ALL she eats is salmon and capers—it left a lot of people scratching their heads and automatically assuming this was a semi-crazy idea. But Mimi may be on to something…

“Salmon is an excellent choice in one’s regular diet,” says Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Harold Lancer, MD, (he’s also the man who Victoria Beckham says improved her problematic skin by telling her to eat salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner). “Eating fish and shellfish has always been considered good for you and a great source of protein. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, substances that are abundant in the brain, which is why fish was always considered ‘brain food.’”

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As Dr. Lancer explains, this "brain food" is also what powers cells—plus, it has a skin tie-in. “Every cell of the body needs protein to maintain life. The amino acids L-lysine and L-proline create collagen, and collagen production is the key to younger-looking skin. When you eat protein, it repairs the cells in your muscles and stimulates the growth of new ones.”

While Dr. Lancer is a big proponent of a high-protein diet and says fish—including salmon—is a really good source of protein and corresponds to anti-aging nutrition, his recommendation is for 35–40 percent of your caloric intake to be in the form of protein, with 25 percent coming from complex carbs (mainly vegetables with some whole grains, and 35 percent from healthy fats. “When it comes to fish, just ensure you’re eating fish with the lowest mercury content,” he adds.

“You want to opt for the most nourishing diet choices possible to combat the internal aging process—these lifestyle efforts are a really importance balance to a diligent skin care regimen to support your overall anti-aging efforts,” advises Dr. Lancer.

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