According to the American Dietetic Association, a well-balanced vegetarian diet may help prevent a host of health problems. Many foods that are good for your skin are best for overall health, as well. Vegetarian diets as a whole provide considerable benefits to the skin and fall into several categories: vegan, which allows no animal products, lactovegetarian, ovovegetarian and lacto-ovovegetarian. Because it includes dairy and eggs, the lacto-ovovegetarian diet provides the widest choice of skin-healthy foods.
Deeply hued vegetables such as the sweet potato provide beta-carotene, the predecessor of vitamin A, and an essential nutrient for a radiant complexion. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that gives vegetables their vibrant colors and protects you from the effects of sun exposure. Sweet potato skins are safe to eat and add a healthy dose of fiber to your diet, just another excellent reason to add this tasty vegetable to your diet.
Berries are truly nature's powerhouses. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries are all near perfect foods for glowing skin due to their high content of antioxidants. Kiwi is a flavorful fruit containing huge amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial to retaining collagen, which, in turn, helps keep skin firm and supple. Cantaloupe, plums, tomatoes and citrus fruits also have plenty of vitamins A and C, while mangoes pack more than 80 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin A, necessary for maintaining healthy skin cells.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, known for keeping skin lubricated. Vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants in almonds help to combat the effects of aging and damage to the skin over time. Almonds are also a good source of calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium, as well as zinc, selenium, copper and niacin; all are important to skin health. Almonds may be consumed raw or toasted as a snack, or sprinkled on a salad as a garnish. Another way to get almond nutrition is by drinking almond milk.
Mushrooms are a fungus but are most often referred to as a vegetable. Mushrooms have a long history of medicinal uses. They are a great source of an important B vitamin, riboflavin, also known as B2. Riboflavin's job is to repair damaged tissue as well as keep it healthy. Vitamin B2 is vital to the body when recovering from wounds to the skin, such as surgery or burns. It is also helpful for blemishes caused by rosacea, a common skin ailment that causes redness and blotches to the face.
Low-Fat Yogurt and Dairy
Dairy is one of the best sources of vitamin A, a highly important component in skin health. Low-fat yogurt has the added benefit of acidophilus, a live bacteria culture that contributes to intestinal well-being and promotes overall good health. Other low-fat dairy products like skim milk, mozzarella and cottage cheese contain many key nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, E and D.
Incorporate eggs into your diet for a boost in quality protein. Eggs provide zinc, a mineral that aids in the production of collagen, a fibrous protein vital to healthy skin. Zinc also promotes a clear complexion. Eggs provide vitamin B12, necessary for nourishing red blood cells and preventing pernicious anemia. Without enough B12, your skin will appear pale and unhealthy.
- "Science Daily"; What to Eat For Glowing Healthy Skin; November 2007
- American Dietetic Association: Appropriately Planned Vegetarian Diets Are Healthful
- MayoClinic.com: Foods for Healthy Skin: Top Picks; Lawrence E. Gibson; June 2010
- MayoClinic.com: Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Add Antioxidants to Your Diet
- MayoClinic.com: Vegetarian Diet: How to Get the Best Nutrition
- American Dietetic Association: Food Sources of Important Nutrients