Read more: Should You Eat Collagen?
Pictured recipe: Strawberry-Balsamic Arugula Salad
Eating more vitamin C-rich foods, such as strawberries, may help to ward off wrinkles and age-related dryness. Vitamin C's skin-smoothing effects may be due to its ability to mop up free radicals produced from ultraviolet rays and also its role in collagen synthesis. Collagen is fibrous protein that keeps skin firm and vitamin C is essential for collagen production.
Eat Up: Healthy Strawberry Recipes
Pictured recipe: Superfood Chopped Salad with Salmon & Creamy Garlic Dressing
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in salmon may shield cell walls from free-radical damage caused by UV rays, according to a study publishd in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers followed the eating habits of more than 1,100 Australian adults for approximately five years and found that for those who ate a little more than 5 ounces of omega-3-rich fish—such as salmon—each week the development of precancerous skin lesions decreased by almost 30 percent.
Aim to eat two servings of fatty fish each week: not only are the omega-3s good for your skin, they're good for your heart too.
Pictured recipe: Quick Turkey Meat Sauce
Consuming more lycopene—the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red—may protect your skin from sunburn.
Researchers think the natural compounds found in tomatoes that gives them their red color, helps protect the plants from the sun—and in turn you. Multiple studies have linked tomato consumption with reduced sun burn and skin reddening. Just one bad sunburn can up your risk for skin cancer. Adding olive oil—a natural culinary pairing for tomatoes—helps your body absorb the beneficial carotenoids. Cooked tomatoes (a pantry staple!) have a higher antioxidant and lycopene content as well.
Drinking a single cup of coffee daily may lower your risk of developing skin cancer. In one study of more than 93,000 women, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee a day reduced their risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. And the more they drank—up to about 6 cups or so per day—the lower their risk. Decaf didn't seem to offer the same protection.
Pictured recipe: Roasted Veggie Brown Rice Buddha Bowl
Tofu may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it is rich in isoflavones. Isoflavones are plant-based compounds with estrogenic activity that have been shown to potentially reduce risk of breast and prostate cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, mice fed isoflavones and exposed to ultraviolet radiation had fewer wrinkles and smoother skin than mice that were exposed to UV light but didn't get isoflavones. The researchers believe that isoflavones help prevent collagen breakdown.