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Eat These Foods for Radiant Skin

By: Bulletproof Staff

Eat These Foods for Radiant Skin

Turns out, the secret to anti-aging isn’t in fancy lotions and potions, but what’s on your plate. Specifically, eating a healthful diet keeps skin healthy and young. Read on to learn the best food for skin.

Who doesn’t want a youthful, radiant complexion? While it’s tempting to seek a warm, golden hue by way of the sun’s rays, it’s not the best beauty approach. Getting out into natural sunlight does help your body produce the vitamin D you need. But, too much of a good thing stresses your cells to the point where you look older than you are. Even small amounts of sun every day add up, causing oxidative stress, cell damage, dark spots and, yes, even wrinkles. What’s worse is the resulting damage can last a lifetime. So once you’ve gotten your daily 20-minute quota of rays for vitamin D, be sure to slather on non-toxic sunscreen.

Besides, the real secret to glowing skin is not under a sun lamp, but at the farmer’s market. A nutrient-dense diet with plenty of micronutrients, carotenoids and polyphenols will give your skin that healthy, rosy radiance without the wrinkles and cancer. Find out how to eat your way to glowing, vibrant skin, with our comprehensive guide to the best food for skin.

Collagen

How to get it:

Collagen is in every cell in your body – in membranes, ligaments, fingernails, and more. Collagen strengthens your skin and makes it more plump and firm.

Knowing the structural role collagen has in the skin, people are starting to seek collagen-rich food for skin health: by simmering bone broth, making gut-friendly gelatin desserts, and blending collagen powder into their morning Bulletproof Coffee.

Beauty products that boost collagen production help, but supplementing your diet ensures your body has what it needs for collagen production and repair. Your body prioritizes which cells get fed first, and since hair, skin, and nails are lowest on the totem pole, they suffer the most when your body isn’t getting enough collagen.

That’s why supplementing collagen helps keep skin sagging and wrinkles at bay, especially as you age. Not only does collagen production drop as you get older, daily environmental aggressors like UV light and pollution also interfere with collagen production.

If that sounds like an uphill battle, don’t fret. Collagen supplements provide all the building blocks your body needs to make more. Powdered supplements taste like nothing at all, they’re easy to mix, and they add a healthy dose of all of the skin-friendly amino acids that not many of us get enough of in the Western diet.

You can also get collagen in homemade bone broth (not the saltwater from the store) and organ meats, but there’s no consistency in the amount of collagen you get from your ingredients.

Science says it works. Supplementing collagen thickened the collagen fibrils (nerd speak for scaffolding) in animal skin. [1][2]

Humans experienced the same benefits. Researchers measured significant increases in collagen and elastin (the stuff that keeps skin bouncy) after two months of collagen supplementation. [3]

Vitamin C

How to get it:

  • Deeply colored vegetables
  • Lemons, limes and other low-fructose citrus fruits
  • L-ascorbic acid supplements

Vitamin C helps you make new collagen when it has the right amino acids from your diet and/or collagen supplement. Vitamin C is so important that you can’t make collagen without it. [4] [5]

Vitamin C-rich foods like leafy greens, citrus, red pepper, and cruciferous vegetables protect your cells from sun overexposure and cut down on inflammation in the skin.[6] Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals you encounter just by going about your day. [7]Free radicals, FYI, are major skin-agers, so guarding against them is key.

Carotenoids

How to get them:

  • Bright yellow-orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, squash)
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Carotenoid complex supplements

A nutrient-dense diet goes a long way in enhancing your attractiveness.[8] Among the many skin-happy nutrients in vegetables are carotenoids, the plant pigments in bright yellow, orange, and red vegetables. They protect the plant by neutralizing free radicals, and they do the same for people who eat them.

We can’t see what carotenoid-rich vegetables are doing on the inside, but we can see what getting more of them does to our complexion. Eating more foods rich in carotenoids gives skin a rosy hue that people perceive as more healthful and attractive.[9] [10]

Lycopene, found in asparagus and red cabbage, is a red-hued carotene that protects your skin from sun damage and promotes healthy mitochondria in your skin. Mitochondria keep cells functioning as they should, and tired mitochondria make tired-looking skin.[11]

Glutathione

  • Whey protein gives your body the building blocks to make it
  • Glutathione supplements

We get antioxidants like carotenoids by eating them, but your body makes some on board, including glutathione. Glutathione has profound effects on skin. Scientists found reduced levels of glutathione in people with acne, compared to those who don’t have acne. You don’t make as much glutathione starting around age 20, so if you’re dealing with adult acne, you might want to consider boosting your glutathione. [12]

Where to find glutathione-rich food for skin health? Undenatured, grass-fed whey protein provides the building blocks your body needs to make glutathione. Or, you can take a glutathione supplement.

Polyphenols

  • Herbs
  • High-quality chocolate
  • Clean coffee
  • Polyphenol supplements

Polyphenols are compounds in highly pigmented plants. Resveratrol is the polyphenol that gets all the press because it’s in wine. Because of this, doctors started saying red wine is good for you. Red wine has some resveratrol, but it doesn’t have the highest polyphenol dose you can get.

The best way to get your polyphenols is to eat your veggies and cook with herbs. All vegetables contain polyphenols and ounce-for-ounce herbs are packed with them.[13]

Polyphenols scavenge free radicals and prevent them from damaging your cells. They protect against the signs of photoaging (i.e. sun spots and wrinkles),[14] [15] and they increase circulation[16]  which makes your skin appear more rosy and awake.

The best polyphenol-rich food for your skin: Dark green and purple veggies are packed with them. High-quality, high-cacao chocolate is one of the tastiest and richest sources of polyphenols around.

Caffeine

Most of us don’t think of coffee as a beauty food. However, key ingredients make it a good-for-skin food. Coffee contains massive amounts of polyphenols and a lot of the benefits overlap with resveratrol, plus it has caffeine. Caffeine cuts down on inflammation, boosts circulation, repairs DNA, soothes sun damage and reduces redness from irritation.[17]  You can get a dose of caffeine and polyphenols as soon as you wake up with a cup of Bulletproof Coffee. Get the recipe here.

All of the best foods for skin laid out above are cornerstones of The Bulletproof Diet. It makes you lose weight, think more clearly, and gives you steady energy. As a bonus, veggies, quality protein and caffeine smooth and tone your complexion, too. Besides, having energy and great skin from nutritious foods makes you feel confident, which is the most attractive feature of all.