Home Healthy Eating Ask the Dietitian: Which foods can improve skin health? – Des Moines Register

Ask the Dietitian: Which foods can improve skin health? – Des Moines Register

8 min read


In the summer I tend to think about my skin health more when I am out in the sun. Are there any foods, nutrients or supplements to help keep my skin healthy and decrease aging?  

What you eat can affect your beautiful skin no matter what your age. It may sound too good to be true, but there are healthy foods that you can add to your eating plan that can improve your skin health. The foods that will help you the most include: fruits and vegetables abundant in vitamins A and C, like red, yellow and orange peppers, carrots, broccoli, mandarins, watermelon and berries; and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, salmon, nuts and seeds.

How do these foods work to improve your skin? The body converts vitamin A into carotene, an antioxidant that helps combat naturally occurring molecules called free radicals. These free radicals normally do damage throughout your body, expediting aging and disease progression. The more antioxidants you eat, the less free radical damage (and aging) that you’ll have. Vitamin C is similar in its antioxidant qualities; it’s also a wonderful anti-inflammation vitamin, known for its qualities promoting natural collagen production, which gives us the plump elasticity and youthfulness that most people desire. 

Come up with a plan to incorporate these healthy foods into your daily eating pattern. Here’s what it could look like: 

  • Breakfast: Whole-grain toast brushed with olive oil and topped with mashed avocado
  • Morning Snack: Watermelon slices
  • Lunch: Grilled salmon on a bed of greens, with shredded carrots and a handful of pumpkin seeds, tossed with a flavored olive oil dressing
  • Afternoon snack: Fresh broccoli and carrots dipped in hummus
  • Dinner: Berry Salsa and Chicken Lettuce Cups (see recipe below)
  • Lots of water throughout the day will keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Aim for half of your body weight when it comes to your daily water intake goal in ounces. For example: A 150-pound person needs 75 ounces of water per day. 

To expand on a quote from Edward Stanley: “Those that think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later be forced to make time for doctor appointments and money for medications to treat illness that may have resulted from a lifetime of hasty poor nutrition choices.” 

Soak up that truth. Read it again. What you do now can really help, not only your skin, but your whole body’s health. It’s not too late. This summer can be the time that you make the decision to make your health a priority.

Berry Salsa and Chicken Lettuce Cups

Serves 4

All you need:

  • ½ cup chopped strawberries    
  • ½ cup blueberries    
  • ½ cup halved blackberries    
  • ½ cup raspberries    
  • ¼ cup chopped red onions    
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped*    
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish    
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice    
  • 2 tsp agave nectar    
  • salt    
  • ground black pepper    
  • 1 (8- to-10-oz) true boneless skinless chicken breast    
  • 1½ tsp olive oil    
  • 1 tsp ground paprika    
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder    
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves    
  • Plain Greek yogurt, for serving    
  • Lime, zested and cut into wedges for garnish

All you do:

  • For berry salsa, toss together strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, red onions, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and agave nectar. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
  • Preheat a charcoal or gas grill with greased grill rack for indirect cooking over medium heat. Pat chicken dry; lightly pound to an even thickness. Rub chicken with olive oil. Combine paprika and garlic powder; rub mixture on chicken. Grill 16 to 20 minutes or until done.
  • To serve, arrange four stacks, 2 lettuce leaves each, on a platter. Slice chicken and divide among lettuce stacks. Top each with berry salsa and yogurt. Serve with remaining salsa. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime zest and wedges, if desired.

Note: Chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes. When working with jalapenos, wear protective gloves.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice. Have a question for your Hy-Vee Dietitian? Contact Ashley at ashleydanielson@hy-vee.com or call her at 515.695.3792. Your question will be answered and may be featured with your permission. 

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