When it comes to skincare products, we know that what goes into our favorite creams and serums matters. Antioxidant-rich and vitamin C-infused formulations mean brighter skin, as well as fewer lines and dry patches. But the key to a vibrant complexion may also lie in what you put in your body, say nutrition experts.
“The health of our skin, hair and nails is closely linked to our diet: Antioxidants in foods, as well as vitamins, minerals, fluids and fats, affect the texture, appearance and health of all these things,” says registered dietitian Abby Langer.
Get a gorgeous complexion by adding a few more skin superfoods at mealtimes. Follow our expert-approved eating tips for healthy, radiant skin from head to toe.
A study published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that women who ate a higher amount of green and yellow vegetables, which contain vitamin C, showed fewer wrinkles, particularly crow’s feet. One yellow bell pepper contains more than double your daily requirement of C – that’s more than your morning glass of OJ. When you’re shopping, opt for the brightest peppers in the bunch because they contain the most nutrients, particularly powerful antioxidants that protect skin cells from damaging free radicals and stimulate collagen production. End result: You’ll be able to put your best face forward.
Get more: Score more vitamin C by eating broccoli, kale, bell peppers, cantaloupes, strawberries, kiwi fruit, mango and guava.
Boost hydration by consuming fatty fish like wild salmon, anchovies, sardines and mackerel – some of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only can these fatty acids help with brain and cardiovascular health but they can give us great skin, too. As they lubricate internally, they keep the surface of your skin moisturized and supple. “Collagen provides integrity, firmness and elasticity,” says Samantha Gladish, a registered holistic nutritionist. “Maximizing collagen levels will keep skin supple and help prevent wrinkles.”
Get more: Our body can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we tend to rely on food sources. Nourish skin and capitalize on the benefits of this essential fat by loading up on other sources, like walnuts and flaxseed.
Our hair, like our nails, is mainly comprised of protein, and eating just two eggs provides roughly 25 percent of your daily recommended intake (pregnancy, weight and physical activity levels affect the amount your body needs). “This compact powerhouse is rich in both protein and biotin, a B vitamin that is essential for hair growth and that helps nourish the scalp,” says Gladish. Biotin helps produce keratin, the hair’s main protein.
Get more: Supplement your diet with protein-rich foods that include poultry, meat, beans, nuts and whey protein. Almonds, salmon and avocado also contain the hair-healthy B vitamin.
These nuts are packed with magnesium, a key nutrient for ensuring nail resiliency. If you’re not getting enough, vertical or horizontal ridges on your nails, known as Beau’s lines, can indicate a deficiency.
Almonds are also loaded with protein, an essential building block of healthy nails and hair. “Consuming good sources of protein is essential for strong, healthy nails,” says Joy McCarthy, a nutritionist and author of Joyous Health.
Get more: Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, quinoa, soybeans and whole grains are all high in magnesium and contain protein, too.