We can do many things to improve our skin’s appearance—and when feeling good on the inside, we usually also look better on the outside. We should all eat healthy for many reasons, and our skin is certainly one of them. A poor diet with a lot of processed food, too much salt, sugar, and fat, and too few nutrients can not only make us feel unwell but will also have negative effects on our skin.
When thinking about how to eat foods that our skin will love, we only need to look to the rainbow! The natural rainbow, of course—not Skittles or M&M’s!
13 Colorful Foods for Healthy Skin
Many foods—especially fruits and dark, deeply colored veggies—are known to help our skin look nourished and glowing. It’s important to eat foods of all colors to keep a good glow going, as the compounds responsible for different colors, such as anthocyanin (purple), chlorophyll (green), and beta-carotene (orange), are also important nutrients for our skin.
It’s easy to fill your plate with quick, beige, or brown meals, but aim instead for foods that are red, orange, yellow, purple, and green. Not only will they taste great, but your plate and skin will look great, and your body will have everything it needs to maintain health. And although we’re here today to talk about food for glowing skin, it’s also incredibly important that you also stay hydrated by drinking healthy, fresh, colorful juices and plenty of water!
Cherries have 17 antioxidant compounds, including anthocyanin, the compound responsible for their deep red color [source]. They also contain loads of antioxidants like vitamin C, which helps to stimulate collagen production and keep your skin youthful and glowing. This recipe combines cherries and berries into delicious popsicles guaranteed to make your skin glow.
Pomegranates certainly have plenty of health benefits, and our skin is included. Pomegranates have very high levels of vitamins and polyphenols, including tannins, flavonoids, and anthocyanin [source], which can help fight fine wrinkles and improve overall health. When we’re feeling good all over, it shows.
Feeling celebratory? Try a nice pomegranate vodka fizz!
Bright, red, juicy tomatoes don’t just taste great, but they’re also packed with important nutrients for skin health. First up is selenium, an incredibly powerful antioxidant that works together with vitamins E and C. Several studies have shown selenium to help the immune system [source] and fight against cancer [source] and sun damage [source].
Tomatoes also contain high levels of lycopene, which is another compound that counteracts sun damage to the skin [source]. Furthermore, the lycopene is even stronger in cooked tomatoes—so load up on recipes like our Panera-inspired paninis!
We love to boast about the many uses and benefits of turmeric, and it’s sure to work for glowing skin. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of antioxidants [source], which help to prevent wrinkles and slow the aging process.
Like many other skin-loving ingredients, carrots contain high levels of vitamins A and C, which help protect collagen. Carrots also have carotenoids and other anti-inflammatories [source] to fight puffiness, sun damage, and aging.
Ever tried a carrot smoothie? Well, this one is delicious and has added benefits from coconut and strawberries.
Love a good pumpkin pie? Good news! Pumpkins not only taste sweet and delicious, but they are also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants called carotenoids [source]. Specifically, pumpkins have loads of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin E—all amazing for your skin.
Papayas are an absolutely delicious tropical fruit, and they have excellent benefits for your skin. Topically, they work as a natural exfoliant, which is an essential part of creating a glow effect. They are also full of antioxidants [source]!
Our vitamin C smoothie with papaya is a wonderful way to get your daily dose of vitamins.
Cucumbers are in plenty of beauty recipes, but it’s important also to eat them because they contain many beneficial vitamins, antioxidants, and sun-protective compounds, with anti-acne and even whitening effects [source]. Whether cutting slices for your water or topping your salad, they are full of water, which is incredibly hydrating for the skin. They are also known to detox, scavenge free radicals, and alleviate inflammation [source].
Try this delicious cold spaghetti squash salad to get a boost of cucumbers.
This fruit is great for just about anything—hair, nails, and general health—and it’s also great for glowing skin! Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and helps prevent premature aging [source], and vitamin C increases the luminosity of your skin by supporting collagen production [source].
Plus, the super healthy fat in avocados makes your skin supple, creates shiny hair, and maximizes the absorption of other phytonutrients. And, because it is chock full of antioxidants, it fights against free radical damage [source].
10. Dark, leafy greens
Spinach and kale are great sources of beta-carotene, one of the carotenoids that are known to help protect skin against the sun’s harsh rays [source]. Protecting our skin while out in the sun—no matter the season—is crucial for maintaining glowing skin. Vitamin A also promotes new cell growth, which keeps skin looking fresh, while iron aids in circulation.
We have the ultimate kale salad that packs in other skin-glowing ingredients, too!
Purple + Brown foods
Antioxidants are essential for healthy skin, and blueberries sure have plenty of them to go around [source]. Antioxidants from fruits and veggies help fight and neutralize free radicals [source], which damage collagen and cause wrinkles and dryness—all of which affect the look and feel of your skin.
Go for a blueberry agua fresca to boost hydration at the same time!
I know, right? Cocoa is a good source of flavonoids—a class of phytochemicals that help fight against infection and protect against UV damage from the sun [source]. Flavonoids also fight inflammation and boost circulation, and in particular, micro-circulation to the capillaries in your skin.
Even better, the antioxidants in dark chocolate are shown to increase skin hydration. Just make sure that your chocolate has at least 70% cacao and a low sugar content. So, how about this blueberry chocolate vegan ice cream?
Walnuts contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which improve your skin’s elasticity and protect it from sun damage and aging [source], and vitamin E, a natural anti-aging tool [source]. Like other nuts, their oil makes a great moisturizer. All nuts include zinc, which helps eliminate blemishes [source] and prevent stretch marks.
You can also easily incorporate nuts into your diet, including adding them into desserts, salads, muffins, and much more. Try this salmon recipe, and trade out the pistachios with walnuts.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana Stanciu42