What you put into your body has a direct effect on how you feel and your overall health—and it also has an effect on your skin and complexion. “Antioxidants fight free radicals,” says New York nutritionist Keri Glassman. “Free radicals in our body come from everything from pollution to stress. If we don’t have antioxidants to ‘battle’ these free radicals, our skin breaks down.”
Eating foods with high water content, like cucumbers, can help reduce surface dryness. Water-heavy foods penetrate cells better than water alone. They also help to strengthen the cell membrane, which plumps skin cells and helps reduce fine lines.
Want to try eating for your skin type?
If you have dry skin…
Try adding oils to your diet. “Foods like walnuts, oily fish, wild-caught salmon and flaxseed meal can all add hydration and moisture to your skin cells from within,” says Kate Somerville, founder of Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts. Avoid caffeine. It acts as a diuretic, as do alcoholic beverages.
If you have redness…
Try eating cucumbers, which are high in silica. “Ayurveda believes in eating foods that can cool your body from within and reduce inflammation,” says Somerville. “Cucumbers are amazing for this, as are foods high in zinc, which is essential for injury repair.” You can find high levels of zinc in almonds, chickpeas and shellfish. Avoid alcohol, which can dehydrate the skin, as well as spicy foods and highly caffeinated beverages.
If you have oily/acne-prone skin…
Try adding probiotics to your diet. “This establishes healthy flora in the body to fight inflammation and reduce acne,” says Somerville. In addition, foods high in vitamin A and zinc will help reduce pore clogging oil production and swelling associated with blemishes. Avoid dairy products, like milk or yogurt, where hormones are used.
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