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How to Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin: What to Eat and What Not To


Have you ever wondered why your skin is still flaky or why you have frequent breakouts despite your skincare routine? Have you been jumping from product to product, looking for the perfect item to keep your skin moisturized? Well, maybe the products you use are not the problem.

Health and nutrition coach Karen-Cummings Palmer says that “skincare starts in the gut.” 

Diet is the body’s primary way of obtaining the nutrients it needs for growth and sustenance. Your skin absorbs whatever you eat. Therefore, one of the core foundations of good skin health is diet and nutrition. Research has proven that nutrition levels and eating habits can either repair or damage your skin. 

Particularly, there are nutrients that help slow down aging, such as vitamins E and C, essential fats, and antioxidants, and there are certain ingredients that contribute to skin deterioration like sugar, dairy, and alcohol.

To help you munch your way to healthy, glowing skin, we’ve compiled a list of foods to eat and avoid. 

1. Eat: Fatty fish


The term “fatty food” might turn people off, but there are actually fish that contain essential fatty acids like omega 3. These fatty acids help keep your skin healthy, protected, and dewy, giving you that natural glow. Omega 3 also reduces inflammation, helping you avoid redness and acne breakouts.

Moreover, fatty fish is a source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your skin from damage and inflammation.

Some types of fish rich in omega 3 are salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You might want to throw them into your diet. 

2. Eat: Citrus fruits


It’s not a secret that citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are excellent sources of vitamin C. But did you know that vitamin C is a collagen-boosting compound? 

Collagen is your skin’s primary support, responsible for its firmness and elasticity. Without it, your skin breaks down, appearing saggy and wrinkly. Thus, the vitamin C found in citrus fruits aids in keeping your skin smooth, hydrated, and elastic.

3. Eat: Avocados


Avocado is one of those foods that you can eat in different ways. It works as a dip, spread, in a salad, or by itself. And a bonus to that — it’s actually really good for the skin, too!

Avocados are high in healthy fats that keep your skin flexible, supple, and bouncy. Because avocados have vitamin C, they help in collagen production, keeping your skin strong and healthy. Evidence shows that avocados contain compounds that protect the skin from UV-induced damage. 

4. Eat: Sweet potatoes


It’s a good source of beta carotene that converts into vitamin A. Sweet potatoes can help prevent sunburn, cell death, and wrinkled skin. The beta carotene found in sweet potatoes also acts as a natural sunblock, protecting the skin from sun damage.

5. Eat: Red and yellow bell peppers


Just like sweet potatoes, yellow and red bell peppers contain beta carotene that fights off lines and wrinkles. These peppers are also rich in vitamin C, keeping your skin firm and strong.

Try eating some bell pepper salad to go with your skincare routine, and see the results for yourself.

6. Eat: Broccoli


Broccoli might not be appetizing to some, but it sure does have an abundance of vitamins and minerals vital for skin health like vitamins A and C. It also contains a powerful protective agent called sulforaphane which effectively works against the sun damage and is believed to have anti-skin cancer properties.

7. Eat: Salads


Salads, particularly those containing vegetables, seeds, and fruits that overflow in vitamins E and C, help protect your skin against UV damage. Dr. Joshua Zeichner also mentions that green, leafy vegetables rich in antioxidants help in preventing premature aging and maintaining a youthful glow.

Leafy vegetables also contain hyaluronic acid, which is known to keep the skin hydrated and slow down the aging process.

8. Avoid: Oil-laden deep-fried foods


If you are a deep-fry or fast food fanatic, you might need to make some major diet changes. Oil-laden deep-fried foods, especially those that you get from fast-food restaurants, are your skin’s enemy. 

While the glass skin look has been taking over the beauty world, greasy and deep-fried foods result in excess oil production within the skin, making it more prone to acne flare-ups. Also, a high intake of greasy foods results in puffiness. 

So, if you wake up and notice that your face is oilier and more swollen than usual, the bacon and fries you had the night before are probably the culprits.

9. Avoid: Too much dairy


We’ve all heard that dairy is not good for the skin. But, just how bad is it?

Research evidence shows that there is a correlation between dairy intake and acne flare-ups. Dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse explains that the main culprit is milk, particularly skim milk, for the added growth hormones in it are known to contribute to breakouts. 

If you’re into cappuccino or milkshakes, try reducing your consumption and see if your breakouts become less frequent. 

10. Avoid: Sugary desserts


Red velvet cupcakes, brownies, donuts, cookie dough ice cream, chocolate pudding — we all crave for these sweets every once in a while. However, while they make your tastebuds happy, you can’t say the same for your skin.

When you consume too much sugar, there might be those which can’t be picked up by the liver. This excess sugar then makes its way into your collagen and breaks it down, causing wrinkles to form over time.

So, you might want to think twice before you go for your second red velvet cupcake.

11. Avoid: Alcohol


Alcohol has a bad rep for being bad for your health, especially when consumed excessively. However, as if its reputation is not bad enough, a dermatologist also claims that booze might be to blame for your acne flares as it dehydrates your skin, leaving it sensitive and prone to breakouts.

Moreover, alcohol causes redness in your skin by enlarging your blood vessels and releasing histamine that results in flushing. In the long-run, the acetaldehyde form of alcohol once it is broken down in the body damages collagen fibers and causes skin inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkle formation.

12. Avoid: Whey protein


Trying to bulk up or lose some weight? We’ve got bad news for you. Your whey protein shakes might be to blame for your breakouts.

Dr. Prystowsky explains that whey protein stimulates the body’s production of insulin and androgens, which increases sebum production in the skin, resulting in acne. So, if you want to build muscle, you might want to go for other sources of protein that won’t compromise your skin’s health.

Ultimately, skincare is not just about what serums, moisturizers, or hydrating face masks you put on. A huge part of it lies in your diet. So, now that you have a grasp of what foods are good and bad for your skin, you can eat guilt-free and achieve the clear, radiant skin you’ve been dreaming of.


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