A diet focused on high-quality lean proteins, fiber, healthy oils, raw fruits and vegetables, and spices is best for supporting healthy skin," Paula Simpson, nutritionist and cofounder of ZSS tells Allure. "These foods tend to contain high-quality amino acids—the building blocks for firm skin—plus anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich ingredients that promote optimal skin metabolism and defense against environmental stressors.
No matter what your skin is like...
Ginger: Ginger is best known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are found in the root of the spice. Not to mention ginger can have a soothing effect on skin, so don't be surprised when you see it on facial menus, too.
Chia seeds: Chia seeds are packed with Omega-3 acids which help provide building blocks for healthy skin cell function and new collagen production to keep the skin foundation strong and wrinkle free.
Tomatoes: The salad fave is one of the best sources of lycopene, which is more easily absorbed by your body when it's cooked, so go nuts on those comforting stews and soups this season.
If you have...acne.
Oatmeal: Swap sugary cereal (sorry, Lucky Charms) for a bowl of plain oats in the a.m. and your skin will thank you. This food is low on the glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index[are better because starchy foods increase blood sugar, promote inflammation, and have been shown to be associated with acne breakouts," says Zeichner.
Miso: We could be boring and tell you to have yogurt because it has a lot of probiotics, and probiotics are great for your skin, digestive system, and bloat control. But you've heard that a billion times before, and it's not exactly helpful if you're lactose intolerant. Instead, try miso, which Simpson says has all of the same gut-friendly bugs. Did someone say sushi with miso soup for lunch? Count us in.
Artichokes: It's time to quit passing by this oft-misunderstood green in the veggie section. Artichokes contain the flavonoid silymarin, a an antioxidant that can protect the liver and help clear blemish-prone skin, says Simpson. And since it's often paired with spinach, another acne-fighting food (see below), we say it's okay to enjoy that famous football dip every once in a while.
If you have...oily skin.
Sweet potatoes: There's no reason to go carb-free just because you're after perfect skin. Zeichner says sweet potatoes are a great option because of their high levels of vitamin A. "Vitamin A derivatives have been shown to help reduce oil production in the skin, and are used to treat acne," he says.
Cinnamon: The basic spice is great for stimulating circulation and blood flow, which brings oxygen and nutrients directly to the skin. Plus, some studies have shown that cinnamon could help to stabilize and balance blood sugar levels!
If you have...dry skin.
Avocados: Bring on the guac! "High levels of healthy oils and vitamin E, both of which are found in avocados, provide the building blocks for healthy skin cell function," says Zeichner. "They may also help improve barrier function and hydration."
Sardines: Sardines are an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium. Why's that matter? B12 plays a major role in skin cell reproduction, and when you're lacking the vitamin, it often causes dry, patchy skin. Selenium is necessary if you want your body to produce an antioxidant called glutathione, which helps the skin's barrier function.
If you have...wrinkles and fine lines.
Salmon: Nutritionists love salmon for its myriad of health benefits—lower risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure, to name a couple—but when it comes to your skin, the omega-3 fatty acids that are key. Sure, it's good for heart health, but those fatty acids also contribute to the production of collagen, a protein that "helps keep the skin foundation strong and wrinkle-free," he explains.
Egg whites: In addition to giving your body a dose of healthy protein that it needs, egg whites are high in both the lysine and proline (amino acids), as well as collagen itself. So adding egg whites to your diet could help support your body's natural production of collagen to help fight fine lines.
Quinoa: This protein-packed grain is well-known in the kitchen, but its high levels of riboflavin make it a superstar for your skin. Riboflavin lends a hand to your skin's elasticity and the production of connective tissue, which helps even things out and makes fine lines and wrinkles look less prominent.
If you have...dark under-eye circles.
Spinach: Leafy greens like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are rich in vitamin K, a powerhouse nutrient when it comes to improving blood circulation and coagulation. Spinach is also loaded with zinc, which has been shown to help reduce inflammation and help prevent acne breakouts.