When it comes to your skin, there’s one thing we know for sure: What you eat can have a direct impact on how you look. If you’re not specifically chowing down on superfoods for glowing skin and instead are constantly noshing on processed foods or those high in sugar and fat and devoid of fiber, it can show up in the form of dull skin, perhaps along with other issues like acne, dryness, oiliness, or dark under-eye circles.
1. Ginger: Ginger is best known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are found in the root of the spice. Not to mention ginger can have a soothing effect on skin, so don’t be surprised when you see it on facial menus, too.
2. Chia Seeds: A top-notch smoothie ingredient, sprinkling these little guys into your morning meal means you’re netting one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help provide building blocks for healthy skin cell function and new collagen production to keep the skin foundation strong and wrinkle free.
3. Tomatoes: The salad fave is one of the best sources of lycopene, an anti-aging antioxidant that may also help prevent heart disease. But some research suggests that lycopene is more easily absorbed by your body when it’s cooked, so go nuts on those comforting stews and soups this season.
4. Oatmeal: Swap sugary cereal for a bowl of plain oats in the morning and your skin will thank you. This food is low on the glycemic index, a scale that rates foods containing carbohydrates according to how much each food increases blood sugar (high-glycemic foods cause a fast, drastic spike and subsequent crash, whereas low-glycemic options provide a slow, steady increase and decline). Foods with a low glycemic index [are better] because starchy foods [that are high-glycemic] increase blood sugar, promote inflammation, and have been shown to be associated with acne breakouts.
5. Miso: We could be boring and tell you to have yogurt because it has a lot of probiotics, and probiotics are great for your skin, digestive system, and bloat control. But you’ve heard that a billion times before, and it’s not exactly helpful if you’re lactose intolerant. Instead, try miso, it has all of the same gut-friendly bugs. Did someone say sushi with miso soup for lunch? Count us in.
6. Artichokes: It’s time to quit passing by this oft-misunderstood green in the veggie section. Artichokes contain the flavonoid silymarin, a an antioxidant that can protect the liver and help clear blemish-prone skin. And since it’s often paired with spinach, another acne-fighting food (see below), we say it’s okay to enjoy that famous football dip every once in a while.
7. Sweet Potatoes: There’s no reason to go carb-free just because you’re after perfect skin. Sweet potatoes are a great option because of their high levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A derivatives have been shown to help reduce oil production in the skin, and are used to treat acne. Carrots are another solid vitamin A option.
8. Cinnamon: The basic spice is great for stimulating circulation and blood flow, it brings oxygen and nutrients directly to the skin. Plus, some studies have shown that cinnamon could help to stabilize and balance blood sugar levels, which is important. When a diet heavy in sugar and refined carbs (ahem, holiday cookies) can stimulate oil production. Adding a dash of the spice to your coffee or tea to start your day off right, or blending some into a morning smoothie.
9. Avocados: Bring on the guac! High levels of healthy oils and vitamin E, both of which are found in avocados, provide the building blocks for healthy skin cell function. They may also help improve barrier function and hydration.