Aging may be an inevitable part of life, but when it comes to your skin, there are lots you can do to stave off those wrinkles and fine lines and maintain a youthful complexion. It all starts with your diet: while investing in some quality skincare products with nourishing ingredients can certainly help, eating the right foods goes a long way in making you glow from the inside out.
“Research shows certain nutrients in the diet can regenerate skin cells, reduce wrinkles, and protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet rays,” says Melissa Mitri, MS, RD at Zenmaster Wellness. “A few of these include vitamin C, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, and vitamin D.”
Without further ado, here are some breakfast habits that dietitians advise adopting for smooth, supple skin. And don’t forget to read up on 8 Foods To Keep You Looking Young.
Before you pour that chai latte or cold brew iced coffee, consider guzzling a glass of water. Sara Chatfield, RDN at Health Canal, notes that staying hydrated can have a massive impact on the appearance of your skin. Not only does drinking water help to flush toxins out of your body, but it also helps to support your skin’s elasticity. Elasticity is what makes your skin plump-looking and gives it the ability to bounce back after being stretched. As you age, your skin begins to sag and wrinkle in part because it’s losing elasticity.
Can’t get down with plain water? Chatfield suggests adding a twist of lime or lemon to enhance the flavor. As an added bonus, these citrus fruits will offer a dose of skin-enhancing vitamin C.
Consider topping your egg sandwich, toast, or tofu scramble with some sliced avocado. According to Mitri, this creamy fruit is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to protect the skin from premature aging. These fatty acids can simultaneously help to reduce inflammation while also increasing skin hydration. Sun damage is one of the primary causes of premature skin aging, and studies have shown that supplementing with omega-3s can decrease the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. Plus, studies have shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can reduce your risk of skin cancer while also providing benefits for treating psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and acne.
Whether you enjoy half a grapefruit with your eggs or some berries on your yogurt parfait, adding fruit to your breakfast is one of the smartest ways to support your skin health as you age. Why? Well, for one, fruits are chock full of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect the skin against sun damage, says Janet Coleman, RD, founder of TheConsumerMag.
“Fruits high in vitamin C such as citrus, strawberries, kiwis, melon, or mango may be particularly beneficial as higher levels of vitamin C have been linked to reduced signs of skin aging,” says Coleman.
Veggies can contain vitamin C, too—namely, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli, which Coleman suggests adding to an omelet for a little added skin protection.
Coleman highly recommends kicking off your day with a hearty bowl of oats—in part because this whole-grain meal contains beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that promotes skin healing while helping to slow down the process of skin aging. A 2014 review in Phytotherapy Research Review found that beta-glucans provide many skin-restorative properties, including revitalizing immune cells in the skin, regenerating collagen-producing cells, fighting off wrinkles, and strengthening the skin barrier to avoid environmental damage.
For even more skin-boosting benefits from omega-3 fatty acids, consider tossing some walnuts or flax seeds onto your bowl of oats.
Whether you like them scrambled, poached, or hard-boiled, powering up with eggs in the morning is a solid strategy for keeping your skin in tip-top shape.
“Eggs contain high-quality protein as well as vitamin D, which have been shown to support skin health,” says Mitri. “Vitamin D in the diet can protect against sun damage, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles. In fact, one study showed those who had lower vitamin D levels were ‘biologically older’ than those who had normal levels.”
Cereal can get a bad rep as far as breakfast foods go. But as long as you choose a fortified cereal made with whole grains and minimal added sugar, Coleman says you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamin B2 and zinc—which have some serious skin perks.
“These nutrients help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production and tightening the skin,” she explains. Plus, milk is high in vitamin D, which shields your skin from damage caused by UV rays.