A Guide to the Best Foods for Healthy Skin Complexion

Looking for a natural way to get beautiful, clear, glowing, healthy skin? It all starts with the food you eat! There are no set foods to eat that will dramatically change your skin overnight. Instead, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating good, natural foods – that’s when you’ll start seeing the results.

So here’s a look at all the different food groups, vitamins, minerals, and compounds to consider adding to your daily meals to improve the look and feel of your skin.

How Food Affects Your Skin

When it comes to the health of your skin, the foods you eat are just as important as your skincare routine, and this applies to both men and women. During digestion, foods are broken down into vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your body uses to build healthy skin.

For example, foods that are high in protein break down into the amino acids that build collagen and elastin—the building blocks for healthy, supple skin.

But if your meals contain processed foods, your body will lack the essential nutrients that are needed for building healthy skin. And as a result, your skin won’t be as strong, supple, and healthy-looking.

Plus, sugary foods with refined sugar cause insulin levels to spike. Along with affecting metabolisms and increasing body weight, this spike in insulin also causes acne breakouts, rashes, and wrinkles. When blood sugar levels are high sugars can attach to proteins in collagen, producing compounds that will cause your skin to sag and wrinkle.

So, to maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy skin, avoid refined sugars as much as possible and eat nutrient-dense foods instead, like fruit, vegetables, almonds, and other sources of Omega-3s.

List of Nutrients & Foods to Eat for Healthy Skin

Here’s a list of the essential nutrients and the best foods for clear skin.

Selenium for Protecting Your Skin

Selenium is a mineral that protects your skin from free radicals that will break down collagen over time. Selenium may also help prevent skin cancer as a result.

Free radicals cause dry skin, tissue damage, diseases, and signs of ageing—including fine lines and wrinkles.

Selenium is found in the following foods: Brazil nuts, button mushrooms, shrimp, lamb, cooked beef, light turkey, oysters, sardines, crab, some whole-wheat pasta, and fish like snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, and salmon.

Antioxidants for Maintaining Healthy Cells

Like selenium, antioxidants help protect your skin from free-radical damage. Antioxidants are found in many types of fruit and vegetables. If you’re wondering which type of fruit is best for your skin to glow, think colourful fruit.

Foods rich in antioxidants include colourful fruits and vegetables like berries, tomatoes, apricots, beets, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, yellow bell peppers, and beans.

Vitamin A: Skin Repair

Foods with vitamin A are some of the best foods for skin repair. Vitamin A helps repair dry, flaky skin, brown spots, wrinkles, acne, and other skin conditions. That’s why it is commonly used in skincare products under the name ‘retinoid.’

Vitamin A is also abundant in foods, such as oranges, carrots, cantaloupes, leafy greens (kale), eggs, and pumpkins.

Vitamin C: Protection from the Sun

Vitamin C not only protects your skin from sun damage, but it also helps repair sun damage to the collagen and elastin in your skin. As a result, vitamin C can help maintain or improve the suppleness of your skin.

Foods that are high in vitamin C include red bell peppers, citrus fruits, papayas, kiwis, broccoli, greens, and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E: The Booster of Skin Health

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that is very beneficial for your skin. Known for reducing the appearance of scars when applied topically, vitamin E can also protect your skin from sun damage and prevent inflammation.

Vitamin E can be found in the following foods: Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds (especially sunflower seeds), olives, spinach, asparagus, and leafy greens.

Zinc: The Blemish Fighter

Studies have found a correlation between low zinc levels and acne blemishes. Zinc has skin-healing properties, playing an essential role in the normal functioning of sebaceous glands and the growth and function of skin cells.

Kidney beans are high in zinc, and oysters are the best source of dietary zinc—6 oysters provide 500% of your daily zinc requirement.

Low-Glycemic Foods

Low-glycemic index (GI) foods gradually release sugar into the bloodstream for a steady supply of energy and to keep you feeling full for longer. These foods also prevent the insulin spikes that wreak havoc on your skin, damaging collagen and accelerating wrinkles.

Low-GI foods include pulses (especially chickpeas), beans, and porridge.

Healthy Fats for Smoother Skin

Also known as Omega-3s and Omega-6s, these healthy fats help keep your skin smooth and younger-looking by maintaining your skin’s natural oil barrier. Some foods that are high in these essential fatty acids also contain minerals that boost collagen production.

These essential fatty acids are found in olive and canola oils, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados, grass-fed beef, and cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

Good Oils for Extra-Healthy Skin

Some oils have plenty of nutrients along with essential fatty acids to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy and smooth. These high-quality oils are less processed than other types of oils and include extra-virgin olive oil and cold- or expeller-pressed oil.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt, are packed with probiotics—healthy bacteria that aids in digestion, helping to breakdown nutrients and keeping your skin healthy.

Drinks for Healthy Skin

Here are some of the top beverages to help hydrate and clear your skin.

Mason jar with water


Drinking enough water (e.g., eight glasses a day), is not only crucial for your overall health, but it is also vital for the health of your skin. Water keeps you and your skin hydrated, so fine lines and wrinkles become less noticeable.

Water also flushes out toxins, improves cell nutrient absorption, and maintains healthy blood circulation, which all contribute to radiant, glowing skin.

When drinking water, opt for water with high alkaline content and keep an eye out for where your water comes from—e.g., flow, stream, and local companies. Responsibly sourcing your water can help leave a smaller eco-footprint.

Green Tea: The Powerful Antioxidant

Green tea is a good source of antioxidants that will protect your skin. Green tea can prevent sun damage, slow DNA damage, and reduce inflammation and redness.

Coffee Prevents Skin Cancer

A study found that women who drank coffee every day had an 11% lower prevalence of non-melanoma skin cancer compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. And drinking 6 cups of coffee per day decreased the risk by 30%.

Almond Milk

Since dairy is highly inflammatory and can cause acne breakouts, replace milk with non-dairy milk, like almond milk in your cereal, tea, and coffee.

Coconut Water

Coconut water has all the benefits of plain water for your skin, but with electrolytes. So to help stay hydrated and keep your skin hydrated too, drink one to two glasses of coconut water a day in place of plain water.

Red Wine Prevents Sun Damage

An Australian study found that adults who drank a half glass of red wine daily had a 28% reduced rate of actinic keratosis—which are skin lesions caused by sun damage.

Red wine is a leading source of the antioxidant resveratrol, which contains anti-tumour properties.

Bone Broth for a Collagen Boost

Bone broth contains healthy proteins that help heal the skin and provide essential amino acids for a healthy-looking glow. This broth will help boost collagen production in your skin, hair, and nails.

several spices on spoons

Bonus: 7 Herbs & Spices for Glowing Skin

These herbs and spices can help your skin when consumed or when applied topically to your skin.

  1. Cinnamon improves blood circulation, helps skin breathe, and reduces acne.
  2. Fennel decreases redness, irritation, and sensitivity caused by the sun.
  3. Cumin contains vitamin E, the antioxidant that prevents free-radical damage and premature ageing of the skin.
  4. Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory that reduces redness, itchiness, and swelling.
  5. Nutmeg promotes hydration for a smooth appearance and reduces dry skin, inflammation, and irritation—including signs of acne.
  6. Ginger improves skin tone, lightens age spots, fights blemishes, and helps those with rosacea, acne, psoriasis, and uneven complexions.
  7. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that also helps reduce acne-causing bacteria.

The Takeaway

When it comes to your skin’s health, what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your skin. So stay hydrated and get enough essential nutrients with these skin rejuvenation foods to keep your skin protected, healthy-looking, clear, and radiant.

And feel free to stop by SKINS for more information about how nutrition affects your skin.