When it comes to healthy, glowing skin, the term “You are what you eat” counts, and five dermatologists agree. “Foods affect our total health, including our largest organ: our skin,” says Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Janet Allenby, MD. Here, the professionals share the foods they incorporate into their daily diets to keep their skin looking its best for longer.
“I eat fresh blueberries, spinach and turmeric root every morning in my protein shake for their antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. I also purposely eat orange foods like sweet potato and winter squashes for the beta carotene and vitamin A. I limit red meat and try to stay away from refined sugars, as they cause inflammation and stir up my rosacea.”
—Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Janet Allenby, MD
“Berries and green vegetables are a staple in the diet for healthy skin. These types of fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which combat oxidative damage from our daily exposure to UV light and pollution, and therefore can help to slow the aging process.
Salmon also contains antioxidants and acts as a source of protein, omega 3 and six fatty acids that benefit our skin and overall health.
In addition to food, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is key to stay well hydrated and keep our skin moist.”
—Charlotte, NC dermatologist Gilly Munavalli, MD and Rachel Yang, NP
“Just one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is so important for clear skin and collagen production. It’s also great for acne- and rosacea-prone patients. You can eat them as they are or sprinkle on a salad.
In terms of the foods I eat every day, I like to get my dark, leafy greens in and a cup of green tea. The natural source of chlorophyl, minerals and antioxidants in the greens have powerful anti-aging impact on your skin. I have a cup of tea every morning, which helps with free radicals and stress, and can actually help improve your skin’s ability to handle UV rays. But its is no substitute to sunscreen.
Weekly, I like to eat salmon and lentils. I like to have wild salmon one to three times per week as it’s rich in omega fatty acids, great for inflammation and healthy skin, hair and nails. Lentils are amazing sources of iron, amino acids and antioxidants. For a plant-based diet, they are super clean and also help support healthy skin, hair and nails.”
—Melville, NY dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, MD
“I drink a lot of milk. I’ve loved it since I was a child but now it’s particularly important to get that calcium as a postmenopausal woman with early osteopenia (bone loss).”
—Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD
“Matcha is great for energy, it’s full of antibacterial properties and it has a very high level of epigallocatechin gallate, which is a chemical that helps reduce inflammation and even out skin tone. It’s good for inflammation and acne. It also helps with skin elasticity and contains methylxanthines which help with microcirculation and skin glow.
I like buckwheat in a variety of things, like cereal in the morning with milk or almond milk and sometimes I just like it as a side dish with whatever else I’m eating. The benefits of buckwheat are that it has high content of rutin which is a natural sunscreen so it can actually protect the skin from the sun.
My other favorite thing is lemon because lemon is, first of all, so pretty. I like to just display them in my kitchen. It’s like Tuscany in Italy. But all the citrus fruits have a lot of vitamin C, which is a fundamental part of collagen production. Once we get older we will make less collagen, so it is important to promote collagen production to keep our body firm and healthy. I like to use my lemon in several different ways. I slice them so they’re in nice circles and—I don’t really like water by itself because to me it’s just tasteless— if I have a nice pitcher at home I cut one or two and add them to water. The other way I use lemon is I make my own salad dressing, which is compliments of my mom. Basically it’s lemon and honey and then I add olive oil, which also have great benefits like high nutrient content and fatty acids.”
—New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD