Good looking skin is healthy skin. No cream, serum or lotion—no matter how high-end and effective—will matter all that much if the stuff you put inside your body is crap. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet is integral to your overall skincare regimen. The foods you should focus on are ones rich in vitamins, protein and essential fatty acids. But note: one salad today isn't going to clear your skin tomorrow. Eating for better skin is more of a lifestyle change, not a one-time fix. But if you put in the right fuel, you're going to start noticing a difference soon.
Reduce breakouts with probiotics
Plenty of people swear by probiotics for digestive health and immunity. But research now suggests that the "good bacteria" has a lot of benefits to skin health too. According to Whitney P. Bowe, MD, stress alone or in combination with processed foods that lack fiber can slow digestion and boost unhealthy bacteria. The immune system springs into action to counter this potential threat resulting in inflammation, redness or breakouts. The healthy signals produced by the probiotics stop the skin cells from sending "attack" messages to the immune system that result in flares of acne or rosacea.
Protect skin with brown rice
Brown rice is rich in selenium. This mineral, also found in whole-wheat bread and turkey, plays a key role in the health of skin cells. It's been shown to reduce acne and boost hair growth in adults. In fact, studies show that even skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium levels are high.
Calm redness with green tea
Sip at least one cup of green tea a day to combat red, ruddy skin. "It's very high in antioxidants, particularly one named EGCG, which is proven to reduce redness," says Jeffrey Morrison, MD, who also consults for Equinox Sports Clubs on nutrition. "Studies have also demonstrated that green tea can help fight inflammation within skin."
Smooth and strengthen skin
Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which reduce the body's production of inflammatory compounds and can improve skin's elasticity. The nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that naturally boosts collagen production, improving your complexion's texture.
Tighten skin with bananas
Tighten skin with bananas
Keep your skin tight and elastic by ensuring you're getting enough potassium. A banana with breakfast should do the trick. Potassium helps to balance fluids and minerals in your body and has also been linked with reducing stress levels which, in turn, helps calm skin.
Clear zits (and whiten eyes)
Spinach is high in zinc and studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels, according to Jessica Wu, MD, author of Feed Your Face. "That may be because of zinc's healing properties," she says. Dark greens like spinach and kale are also high in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that are great for keeping the whites of your eyes clear.