The 7 Best Foods for Glowing Skin, Healthy Hair, and Strong Nails

By Zlata Faerman
|
August 5, 2022
A woman drinking a smoothie

Eating a diet packed with skin-healthy ingredients can actually prevent signs of aging at the cellular level — which can make you feel fantastic, and also have seriously visible effects. So the next time you’re thinking about upgrading your skin or hair care routine with some new beauty products, consider taking a trip to the farmer’s market, too. We spoke with experts to discover some of the best ingredients that really support gorgeous, healthy skin, hair, and nails — and found some less-than-obvious ways to incorporate them into your diet, too. 

1. Avocados

Good news, guacamole lovers: the delightfully creamy avocado is an absolute dynamo for skin health. In fact, Anna H. Chacon, MD, a board certified dermatologist and author, says avocados are one of the best options for radiant skin. 

“Over time, the skin cells’ DNA become damaged and the natural aging process is accelerated leading to fine lines, age spots, and other premature signs of aging,” says Chacon. “Avocados are rich in antioxidants, specifically carotenoids and polyphenols, which help protect against damage.” 

You already know all about avocado toast, but there are plenty of creative ways to sneak more avocados into your diet: try guacamole-stuffed mushrooms, incorporate them into your next dessert, like a chocolate mousse, or even enjoy a post-workout avocado pit smoothie (the pits are very nutritious!).  

2. Tuna

“Nutrients like omega-3s and collagen help retain moisture in the skin, nourishing it from the inside out,” says Rima Kleiner MS, RD. “Seafood is rich in both omega-3s and collagen. Eating oily fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids — at least twice a week — will help lower your risk of dry skin.” 

Tuna falls into this category and is a great source of omega-3s, and it’s also a great source of selenium, which can help preserve elastin for smooth, tight skin. There are tons of ways to incorporate canned tuna fish (which is a great convenience food and much less expensive than fresh) into your diet that go far beyond tuna fish sandwiches. 

3. Greek yogurt

With a thick, creamy texture and an excellent source of vitamins and probiotics, greek yogurt is chock-full of goodness to support great skin and hair. One of the secrets is, of course, high protein. Our bodies use protein and other nutrients to create keratin, the primary building block of hair, skin, and nails. But, that’s not all: some studies suggest that the probiotics present in yogurt might also play a role, and one study found that mice who were fed probiotic yogurt produced a “glow of health.” We’ve never exactly been jealous of a mouse’s fur before, but there’s a first time for everything. 

Greek yogurt is also incredibly versatile. Freeze it into a berry-studded bark, make a healthier version of ranch dip to serve with crudites, or blend it into healthy smoothies — and it’s a great ingredient in baking, too. 

Read next: 8 Delicious Ways to Use Greek Yogurt in the Kitchen

4. Tomatoes

Loaded with carotenoids and vitamins, the humble tomato can help restore skin’s youthful glow as part of a well-balanced diet. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene, a potent antioxidant that has shown to have protective effects, with some studies showing even anticancer properties. 

Like many other foods in our list, tomatoes are particularly high in vitamin C, helping promote the production of collagen for healthy, youthful skin and hair. In the summer, we love a simple tomato salad all on its own with just a little salt, cracked black pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, but tomatoes are amazing in everything from fresh pico de gallo to almond flour crust tomato tarts.  

5. Bone broth

Bone broth delivers a few critical components for healthy skin and hair. Jessica Rose, certified holistic nutritionist, explains that it is all about the makeup of bone broth. 

“The bioavailability of glutamine, glycine, and proline helps build collagen and elastin, two critical components for healthy skin and hair,” Rose says. Not only that, but bone broth also supports gut health, which is essential for absorbing the right nutrients, allowing your body to nourish itself from within.   

While a warm cup of bone broth is delicious enjoyed all on its own (we like it as a midafternoon snack) it’s also a great ingredient in soups; adds flavor, depth, and nutrients to cauliflower rice; great for braising meats; or whisked into tomato sauce.

6. Berries

Whether you enjoy them as a yogurt topping, fresh dessert, or on-the-go snack, berries are a fantastic source of many antioxidants like resveratrol, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid — all of which prevent cell damage and support skin health. But that’s not their only big skincare benefit. 

“Berries, especially strawberries, are a good source of vitamin C,” says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND, author of My Indian Table, noting that this vitamin is especially important for skin health because it is necessary for making collagen.

But don’t limit yourself to just strawberries — a wide variety of fruit is going to be best for your in health. However, berries are special among fruits this way: they’ve been shown in studies to have some of the most antioxidant activity of any fruit. And you don’t have to keep berries to breakfast and dessert, either — check out this absolutely delicious salmon with berry salsa and black rice and raspberry salad.

7. Broccoli 

Equally delicious as a crudités platter, sautéed as a healthy side, or baked on a sheet pan with a protein as a nutrient-dense main course, broccoli brings an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals to the table. (Plus, it’s surprisingly great as a pizza crust and turned into broccoli tots).

Rich in minerals like iron and zinc, broccoli is also packed full of vitamin A and vitamin C, all of which support beautiful skin, hair, and nails. Broccoli also features lutein, a carotenoid that prevents oxidative damage leading to wrinkles and fine lines. Broccoli also offers another compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to have protective and anti-cancer properties. 

Read next: These Are the Healthiest, Tastiest Brands of Canned Tuna on the Market — and We’ve Tried Them All

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