Foods for Beautiful Skin

Keep your skin looking younger—and lower your risk of skin cancer—with these foods.

Sunscreen helps to keep your skin healthy and beautiful, protecting it from the outside in—but certain foods can shield your skin from damage from the inside out. In fact, a study published in March 2010 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology supports the idea that certain vitamins do help to protect our skin. Better yet, many of the same foods that can boost your defenses against skin cancer (the most common type of cancer) will also help keep your skin looking younger and smoother and ward off wrinkles. Download a FREE How to Make a Green Tea Smoothie Guide!

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Strawberries:

Eating more vitamin C-rich foods, such as strawberries, may help to ward off wrinkles and age-related dryness, suggests research from 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 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.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Sweet Strawberry Recipes
Healthy Strawberry Recipes and Tips
Strawberry, Melon & Avocado Salad
Strawberry Bruschetta
Strawberry-Orange Muffins
Fresh Strawberry Dressing
Strawberry Shortcake

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Coffee:

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.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Coffee Recipes
Greek Iced Coffee
Coffee-Braised Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions
Espresso Semifreddo
Baby Tiramisù
Sicilian Granita

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Tomatoes:

Consuming more lycopene—the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red—may protect your skin from sunburn. In one study, participants who were exposed to UV light had almost 50 percent less skin reddening after they ate 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste or drank about 1 2/3 cups of carrot juice daily, in addition to their regular diet, for 10 to 12 weeks. Supplements, however, weren’t as effective: in the same study, those who received a lycopene supplement or synthetic lycopene weren’t significantly protected against sunburn.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Tomato Recipes and Cooking Tips
Roasted Tomato & Almond Pesto
Tomato & Basil Finger Sandwiches
Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes
Garden Tomato Sauce
Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Tofu:

Tofu may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it is rich in isoflavones. 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.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Tofu Recipes and Cooking Tips
Quick Tofu Dinner Recipes
Tofu Four Ways
BBQ Tofu Sandwich
Tofu & Broccoli Stir-Fry
Chinese Braised Mushrooms & Tofu
Pineapple Tofu Stir-Fry
Southwestern Tofu Scramble
Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pizza

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Salmon:

The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids, respectively) found in salmon may shield cell walls from free-radical damage caused by UV rays, according to a 2009 study 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. Download a FREE Healthy Salmon Recipe Cookbook!

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Grilled Salmon Recipes
Healthy Salmon Recipes and Cooking Tips
Salmon Recipes
Delicious Canned Wild Salmon Recipes
Blackened Salmon Sandwich
Black Bean-Salmon Stir-Fry
Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze
Salmon Chowder
Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Papaya:

Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C—and research suggests that vitamin C may help protect skin cells against sun damage by promoting the repair of DNA that’s been harmed by UV rays. UV rays break the chemical bonds of skin cells, killing them and damaging their DNA, which may eventually cause cancerous growth. You can find vitamin C in a multitude of cosmetics—of which some have been shown to be effective in protecting skin—but why not go straight to the source for a tasty boost of vitamin C.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Green Papaya Salad
Papaya Smoothie
Papaya-Avocado Salad
Papaya-Lime Sorbet
Chicken & Green Papaya Salad

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Pink Grapefruit:

Pink grapefruit gets its pink-red hue from lycopene, a carotenoid that may help to keep your skin smooth. In a study published in 2008 in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, researchers found that of the 20 individuals studied, those who had higher skin concentrations of lycopene had smoother skin.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Citrus Recipes
Pan-Seared Chicken with Orange & Grapefruit Sauce
Spinach & Grapefruit Salad
Seared Scallops with Grapefruit Sauce
Spiced Turkey with Avocado-Grapefruit Relish
Grapefruit Chicken Satay Salad

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Corn:

Corn is an excellent source of lutein, a type of carotenoid. Like lycopene, lutein shields your skin from UV damage. If corn is out of season, don’t hesitate to turn to frozen alternatives. Frozen vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets, says Gene Lester, Ph.D., a plant physiologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Why? Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when—as a general rule—they are most nutrient-packed.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Corn Recipes and Cooking Tips
Easy Sweet Corn Recipes
Southwestern Calico Corn
Smoky Corn & Black Bean Pizza
Smoky Ham & Corn Salad
Creamed Corn
Golden Summer Squash & Corn Soup

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Edamame:

Edamame is rich in isoflavones—and isoflavones act like antioxidants, scavenging for and mopping up harmful free radicals caused by sun exposure. Isoflavones may also help to preserve skin-firming collagen—which begins to decline starting in our twenties.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Soy Healthy Food Guide
Edamame Healthy Food Guide
Edamame-Ginger Dip
Seared Steak Salad with Edamame & Cilantro
Provencal-Style Edamame Saute
Edamame Lo Mein
Edamame Nibbles

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Egg Yolk:

Egg yolks contain the carotenoid lutein, which like lycopene protects skin from UV damage. Lutein also helps to keep eyes healthy—mounting research links lutein with reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Egg Recipes and Cooking Tips
Two Dozen Easy Egg Recipes
Easy Egg Recipes for $2 or Less
Hilary’s Heavenly Eggs
Pickled Eggs
Eggs Italiano
Crispy Potatoes with Green Beans & Eggs
Pocket Eggs with Soy-Sesame Sauce

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Red Bell Peppers:

A medium-size red bell pepper boasts more than 200 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Eating more vitamin C-rich foods may help to protect skin cells from the sun’s harmful rays as research suggests that vitamin C may promote the repair of DNA that’s been damaged by UV rays.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Halibut Roasted with Red Bell Peppers, Onions & Russet Potatoes
Orange-Infused Roasted Green Beans & Red Peppers
Artichoke & Red Pepper Frittata
Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice
Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Pasta

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Tea:

Research suggests caffeine in tea (coffee too) may help to protect your skin against skin cancer. Caffeine basically kills precancerous and ultraviolet-damaged skin cells by blocking a protein that they need to divide, explains Paul Nghiem, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of Washington Medical School. In a study where mice were exposed to harmful sunburn-causing ultraviolet B rays caffeine inhibited the formation of skin tumors.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Tea Buyer's Guide and Steeping Tips
How to Maximize the Flavor and Health Benefits of Tea
Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea
Dried Fruit Compote with Green Tea & Lemon
Iced Mint Green Tea
Green Tea-Poached Pears with Matcha Cream
Green Tea Rice

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Carrots:

Carrots contain the carotenoids beta carotene and lycopene—both of which may shield your skin against UV damage. In one study, participants who were exposed to UV light had almost 50 percent less skin reddening after they drank about 1 2/3 cups of carrot juice or ate 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste daily, in addition to their regular diet, for 10 to 12 weeks.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Easy Carrot Side Dishes
Snow Pea & Carrot Salad with Miso-Tamari Dressing
Sesame Carrots
Curried Carrot Soup
Carrot & Banana Muffins
Hot & Sour Carrots

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Soymilk:

Soymilk may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it is rich in isoflavones. 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.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Soy Healthy Food Guide
Banana-Cocoa Soy Smoothie
Strawberries-and-Cream Parfaits
Creamy Wheat Berry Hot Cereal
Double-Chocolate Malted Shake

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Tuna:

Tuna—and other omega-3-rich fish—may help keep your skin looking youthful and prevent skin cancer. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the omega-3 fats in fatty fish, has been shown to preserve collagen, a fibrous protein that keeps skin firm. And EPA in combination with the other omega-3 in fish, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), helps to prevent skin cancer by reducing inflammatory compounds that can promote tumor growth, says Homer S. Black, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the department of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. 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.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Tuna Recipes
Tuna Pasta with Olives & Artichokes
Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad
Mediterranean Tuna Panini
Grilled Tuna with Olive Relish
Pistachio-Crusted Tuna Steaks

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Broccoli:

Eating more vitamin C-rich foods, such as broccoli, may help to ward off wrinkles and age-related dryness, suggests research from 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 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 synthesizing collagen, a fibrous protein that keeps skin firm.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Broccoli Healthy Food Guide
Tofu & Broccoli Stir-Fry
Broccoli, Ham & Pasta Salad
Broccoli, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon
Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Spinach:

Spinach boasts lutein, a carotenoid that protects your skin from UV damage. When buying spinach, pick the one right up in the light: new research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, reveals that spinach stored continuously under the light for as little as three days boasted higher levels of vitamin C and preserved levels of K, E, folate and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Spinach Recipes and Cooking Tips
Leek, Potato & Spinach Stew
Parmesan Spinach Cakes
Loaded Spinach Salad
Simple Sautéed Spinach
Spinach Soup with Rosemary Croutons

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Sardines:

Sardines are one of the healthiest foods we can consume: they’re packed with the omega-3s DHA and EPA, as well as vitamin D, which is found naturally in very few foods. The omega-3s may shield cell walls from free-radical damage caused by UV rays, according to a 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sardines are also quick to reproduce and have rebounded since the Pacific fishery crashed in the 1940s, so much so they are one of Seafood Watch’s “Super Green” sustainable choices.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Sardine Recipes
Healthy Omega-3 Recipes
Greek Salad with Sardines
Tomato Toast with Sardines & Mint
Sardines on Crackers
Spring Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Bread & Tomato Salad

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Pumpkin:

Like lycopene, beta carotene—the compound that makes pumpkins orange—protects your skin from UV damage. Beta carotene is also converted to vitamin A in the body, which helps to keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Healthy Pumpkin Dessert Recipes and Pumpkin Bread Recipes
Pumpkin-Wheat Bread
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Pueblo Pumpkin Stew
Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers
Pumpkin & Tomato Curry

Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin
 

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