Best foods for healthy skin

Sometimes my patients ask me what foods are good for their skin, to keep it firm and younger looking. I tell them whatever you eat that′s good for you is good for your skin. Your skin is a reflection of your overall health. If you′re healthy inside, you′re healthy outside.

You can′t stop yourself from aging. But here are some foods I recommend that can help firm and protect your skin.

Eat fish for firmer skin

Omega-3 fatty acids do a lot of good things, including lower your triglycerides and battle inflammation. But they also help preserve collagen in your skin and keep it firmer.

The top source of omega-3s is fish, and these are the best:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna (bluefin and albacore)
  • Lake trout
  • Sardines and anchovies
  • Mackerel
  • Atlantic sturgeon

Try plant-based sources of skin-firming omega-3s

Though most plant-based foods ? veggies, nuts and oils ? don′t provide as much omega-3 as fish, they′re still a solid source.

Flaxseed oil is particularly rich in the collagen-boosting fatty acid. Don′t cook with flaxseed oil; mix it intosmoothies or yogurt, or use it as a salad dressing.

Chia seeds are another great source that you can sprinkle onto yogurt, cereal and salad, and into batter for muffins and pancakes.

Other plant-sourced omega-3 foods that can benefit your skin:

  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Soy foods and soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Wheat germ

Eat fruits and veggies ? plus chocolate

Fruit, vegetables and dark chocolate supply antioxidants and vitamins that help protect your skin from free radicals and sun damage, which keeps the skin looking younger and more radiant.

I′ll start with tomatoes (yes, technically a fruit ? but used as a vegetable in cooking). Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant which can help keep your skin smoother. And you know tomatoes are easy to work into anything: salads, side dishes, sandwiches.

Other fruits and vegetables not only contain antioxidants but healthy amounts of vitamins C and E, which can fight wrinkles. These are among some of the best choices for better skin:

  • Strawberries
  • Citrus ? oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach

As far as chocolate goes ? and a lot of us would follow it anywhere ? dark chocolate contains flavonals that can reduce rough texture in the skin and protect against sun damage. Have a few ounces a day, but make sure it′s made up of 60- to 70-percent cocoa.

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