10 Skin Fitness Tips: Treat Your Skin from Within

These 10 foods can improve your complexion and help your skin achieve better elasticity

By Lisa Taranto Butler

We’ve heard the sentiment time and again. “What you put into it is what you get out of it.” When it comes to our skin, the rules are no different. Just as we eat to have the body we want, the same holds true for our skin. Healthy skin begins on the inside, and educating ourselves about what to eat and drink is essential to good skin fitness.

Our skin is the largest organ of the body, so it is crucial to maintain its health. Skin fitness is just like exercise for our bodies – it begins on the inside – and when properly cared for, will look and feel its best. By taking care of our skin from the inside and adjusting what we eat and drink, we can improve the health of our skin, as well as the look and feel of it. Experts agree that noshing a balanced diet is the best way to maintain healthy skin, but some foods get higher marks than others when it comes to a lustrous complexion.

Check out these choices for optimal skin health:

1. Strawberries

This succulent, red berry has more anti-aging vitamin C per serving than oranges or grapefruit, and research shows that people who eat foods rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don’t. Free radicals damage cells and break down collagen, leading to fine lines, but the vitamin C in strawberries fights age spots and wrinkles. Eat it, squeeze it or apply it to skin directly for a more glowing complexion.

2. Olive Oil

Olive oil, rich in healthy fats and antioxidant vitamin E, fights free radicals from the inside and softens the skin on the outside too. It contains oleocanthal, which disarms free radicals and has been found to slow or stop inflammatory conditions in the body. Adding more olive oil to the diet helps facilitate digestion, which is crucial to good skin health. Plus, when applied topically, olive oil adds radiance not only to the skin, but hair and nails as well.

3. Green Tea

Green tea is filled with inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Plus, drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. And when you add a generous squeeze of citrus juice, the tea’s antioxidants get a boost of staying power, so they remain in and benefit the body longer, rather than being digested quickly and having much of the goodness leave the body. Drink up or apply directly to the skin. Green tea can also reduce the risk of damage from the sun.

4. Pumpkin

Not just for the Thanksgiving table, orange-hued pumpkin, rich in vitamin A, C and zinc, moisturizes and nourishes the skin leaving it smooth and glowing. It’s also a great stomach settler for both humans and dogs! Applied topically as a mask or cleanser, it removes dead, dull cells. Consuming pumpkin offers beta-carotene-rich antioxidants that nourish your skin from the inside. Eat the seeds for a great fiber-filled snack.

5. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits. Research shows this fruit’s juice has more inflammation-fighting antioxidants than red wine or green tea. Eat some fresh pomegranate or use it in an age-fighting scrub.

6. Avocado

A good source of biotin, avocados help to prevent dry skin, brittle hair and nails. The monounsaturated fats in avocado are also beneficial for improving skin tone, while the vitamin E in this powerhouse fruit helps guard against aging from sun exposure. For a tasty treat with skin benefits, nosh on a little guacamole or add avocado to your favorite sandwich. Try avocado applied topically too, whether in a mask or just by itself.

7. Chocolate  

Good news! Cocoa not only tastes great, but this chocolatey goodness hydrates the skin, making it look and feel firmer. But not just any chocolate will do. Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols – a potent type of antioxidant – so to reduce roughness and sun sensitivity, eat chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao and aim for a couple of small squares per day. Don’t stop there. When applied to the skin directly, the caffeine in dark chocolate may help alleviate skin puffiness temporarily.

8. Yogurt

Greek yogurt seems to be stealing the show when it comes to health benefits of dairy. The protein content in Greek yogurt almost doubles most regular yogurt and helps skin become firmer, so it’s more defiant against lines, while the lactic acid helps keeps premature skin ageing at bay. One serving a day is enough to make skin softer and smoother. If your skin is irritated, try applying a bit of yogurt-enhanced gel to the spots that are affected.

9. Walnuts

Loaded with vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron, nuts are a super skin food. Also, nuts are rich in selenium which helps fight off acne and copper, which helps produce collagen, making skin more supple and thicker looking. Walnuts are extra special skin softeners as they are chock-full of Omega-3s, which make your skin smoother. and give you that youthful, dewy look we all desire. So nosh a handful of walnuts each day to get that youthful, dewy look we all desire.

10. Almonds

Nuts are so good for the skin we’ve given them two spots on our top list. Almonds are also chock-full of vitamin E, which helps defend against sun damage. The antioxidants in almonds help cleanse and eliminate toxins and free radicals from the body. Snack on whole almonds are add slivered almonds to salads or breads. Apply almond oil to the face on a regular basis to get skin glowing from within.

Drink Up!

Don’t forget that what you drink plays a vital role in skin health. While the jury is still out on how much water to drink each day, everyone knows that water is essential for the skin and body. Not only does pure, hard tap water keep cells hydrated, but it also rids the body of toxins that can wreak havoc on the skin. Plus, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which is necessary for proper body functioning. And when we are hydrated we sweat more proficiently, keeping skin clearer and looking better.

Got Acne?

Foods like breads, cakes, pasta and sugar are not only hard on the body, but they compromise the look and feel of our skin as well. White foods affect insulin levels causing inflammation of the skin and possible breakouts. Fill up on whole grain products and brown rice instead of their white counterparts. Your skin (and insides) will thank you for it. Other foods to help combat acne are beans and legumes. Their beneficial protein and energy powers aid in healing the skin. Peas and lentils also contain the right combination of vitamins, minerals and fiber to aid the body’s natural digestion process necessary for vibrant skin.

Remember: Good Skin Isn’t Topical

We are what we eat in more ways than one, and when it comes to our skin, what we put into our bodies sets the stage for how it looks and feels. Just as regular exercise is important to our bodily health, skin care consistency is imperative to maximize the condition of our precious outer layer. Diet plays a significant role in overall skin fitness, and people can change the way their skin looks and feels just by what they eat. True skin fitness isn’t just about what we put on our skin. It starts from the inside out.