While what we put on our bodies is essential for achieving younger-looking skin, what we consume is even more crucial for getting that youthful glow and texture, as elastin lives deep inside our skin—not on the surface. We asked New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD to break down which foods we should and shouldn’t be eating and spoke to celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas to get her tips on how we can easily incorporate these elastin-friendly foods into our diets.
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Foods You Should Be Eating
According to Dr. Day, it’s simple: To increase the elasticity of your skin, you need to consume high-antioxidant and water-rich foods like:
• Berries are the best fruits to consume in terms of antioxidants. Power-fruit acai is a favorite of Dr. Day’s.
• Celery and cucumber both contain silica, which Vargas says is an ingredient that boosts moisture and elasticity.
• Oils, found in salmon, olives and walnuts, contain concentrated levels of omega-3 fatty acids, known to improve skin aging.
• Pumpkin and squash are water-, vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fruits packed with skin-saving nutrients.
• Spices like turmeric and cinnamon are superfoods when it comes to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Dr. Day is also a big fan of nutraceuticals, which she explains as being functional foods and supplements that have a direct impact on the skin. Look for vitamins that contain copper, zinc, folic acid, and even some caffeine, as they can improve your skin’s elasticity and firmness, as well as its ability to hydrate from within.
Foods You Should Avoid
Dr. Day recommends staying away from highly processed foods and simple sugars, as they are pro-inflammatory foods that can break down elastic tissue in skin and also affect the absorption of antioxidants and nutrients like B vitamins that aid in cell metabolism and repair. “Avoid things that your eye goes to first—the high salt, the high sugar and the high carb,” she warns, pointing out that these bad foods leave no room for the good, and therefore waste your dietary space.
How To Add Pro-Elastin Foods Into Your Diet
Vargas encourages her clients to eat vegetables daily and with every meal. “Most of my clients drink a daily green juice,” she says, adding that salads and juices are a quick and delicious way to get extra greens into the body. Dr. Day recommends choosing ingredients that are at their peak of freshness, and preparing them in the most optimal way. “Some foods may need a little bit of steaming, some may be eaten raw, and others may be eaten in combination,” she says, emphasizing the fact that rich, natural colors and flavors are a sure sign of high-antioxidant foods.
How To Tell If Your Skin’s Elasticity Is Improving
We’re all familiar with the pinching-of-the-top-of-the-hand trick, but that’s more of an indication of hydration levels. Vargas says that supple skin will “look healthier” and “feel thicker.” She says, “It will be more noticeable on the cheeks and jawline.” Dr. Day agrees, reassuring that an increase in elasticity in the skin is more obvious than one would expect. “It’s actually not subtle: Your skin looks better and younger. That’s what makes younger skin look young.”