Updated: Sep 7, 2021
We all desire to have a youthful, glowing look forever, but where do we start when there are so many products, supplements, and tools?
The best and most beneficial way to start working towards healthier looking skin is through our diet!
Here are top 10 foods to eat for glowing skin:
This small berry has some powerful anti-aging effects. Blueberries are high in antioxidants which help fight free radicals, and thus help preserve our healthy DNA. They are also high in anthocyanins (a flavonoid with antioxidant affects) (1).
Broccoli is high in zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, the carotenoid lutein, and the compound sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to help protect the skin from UV damage and also may help preserve collagen in the skin (3).
4. Red peppers
Red peppers are one of the highest foods in vitamin C, which is necessary for the production of collagen. One study showed that consumption of adequate amounts of vitamin C helped prevent dry skin and wrinkles (4).
This delicious fruit is high in carotenoids, especially the carotenoid lycopene, which is known for protecting the skin against the damaging properties of the sun and thus can help prevent wrinkles (5).
6. Chia seeds
These tiny seeds are extremely potent in many important nutrients that help produce healthy skin cells. Chia seeds are high in fiber, antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals that all have an anti-aging effect on the skin (6).
Soy contains isoflavones which have beneficial mechanisms to the skin such as reduces collagen degradation, protects from UV radiation, and protects from oxidation of skin tissue cells. A study done on adult woman showed that consumption of soy isoflavones every day for 8-12 weeks improved skin elasticity and reduced fine wrinkles (7).
Pumpkin is high in the carotenoid beta carotene which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Beta carotene helps protect against UV radiation which will help keep your skin from sunburn and cell death. Eating foods rich in beta carotene also may also help suppress wrinkling and sagging formation in the skin (2).
This powerful superfood is rich in vitamin A, C, and E, as well as essential amino acids, carotenoids, and flavonoids which all help contribute to glowing skin (8). The main carotenoid found in seaweed is fucoxanthin. This special carotenoid is basically a super antioxidant (9).
10. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in the dietary flavonoids catechin and epicatechin. These flavonoids help fight free radicals, inflammation, and DNA damage (2). One study showed that consumption of a high flavanol cocoa led to increases in skin density and hydration, and to an increase in blood flow of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues (10).
It's recommended to eat chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa to get the most flavonoids.
There are so many different plant-based foods that contain the nutrients we need for healthy, vibrant looking skin. Eating a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds will give your skin the glow you've always desired!
1. Puizina-Ivic, N. Skin aging. Acta dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica, et Adriatica. 2008;17, 47-54.
2. Evans JA, Johnson EJ. The Role of Phytonutrients in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2010;2(8):903-928. doi:10.3390/nu2080903.
3. Kleszczyński K1, Ernst IM, Wagner AE, Kruse N, Zillikens D, Rimbach G, Fischer TW. Sulforaphane and phenylethyl isothiocyanate protect human skin against UVR-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis: role of Nrf2-dependent gene expression and antioxidant enzymes. Pharmacol Res. 2013 Dec;78:28-40. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Oct 10.
4. Maeve C Cosgrove, Oscar H Franco, Stewart P Granger, Peter G Murray, Andrew E Mayes; Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 86, Issue 4, 1 October 2007, Pages 1225–1231, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/86.4.1225
5. Wilhelm Stahl, Ulrike Heinrich, Sheila Wiseman, Olaf Eichler, Helmut Sies, Hagen Tronnier; Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 131, Issue 5, 1 May 2001, Pages 1449–1451, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/131.5.1449
6. Ullah R, Nadeem M, Khalique A, et al. Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2016;53(4):1750-1758. doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1967-0.
7. Izumi T1, Saito M, Obata A, Arii M, Yamaguchi H, Matsuyama A. Oral intake of soy isoflavone aglycone improves the aged skin of adult women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2007 Feb;53(1):57-62.
8. Chia YY, Kanthimathi MS, Khoo KS, Rajarajeswaran J, Cheng HM, Yap WS. Antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of three species of tropical seaweeds. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;15:339. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0867-1.
9. Mikami K, Hosokawa M. Biosynthetic Pathway and Health Benefits of Fucoxanthin, an Algae-Specific Xanthophyll in Brown Seaweeds. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013;14(7):13763-13781. doi:10.3390/ijms140713763.
10. Heinrich U1, Neukam K, Tronnier H, Sies H, Stahl W. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1565-9.
Casie Cuneio is currently in the Master of Science- Coordinated Program in Nutrition at Georgia State University. Casie is passionate about all things related to nutrition and cannot wait to obtain her registered dietitian's license to help others feel and look their best. Outside of studying nutrition, Casie enjoys exercising and hanging out with her pups!