healthy skin foods

Food Combos for Healthier Skin

Three delicious food combos to help keep your skin beautiful

By Kellee Katagi

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Experts—along with many an acne-ridden teenager—have long known that the health of your skin has a lot to do with what you eat (or don’t eat). What hasn’t always been clear is that many nutrients are more potent for skin quality when combined or balanced with other key nutrients. We’ve used insight from Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, a nutrition-research heavyweight, to develop three synergistic food pairings that deliver powerful benefits for robust, beautiful skin.

Kale Salad Topped with Sunflower Seeds

Nutrient pairing: Vitamins C and E

What you get: 1 cup of chopped kale contains 107 percent of a woman’s daily vitamin C requirements (89 percent of a man’s); 1 ounce of sunflower seeds (a little more than a ¼ cup) provides nearly half the daily requirement of vitamin E.

Why it matters: Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants that protect skin against the damaging effects of oxygen and light, and help prevent dry skin. C also helps synthesize collagen, which sustains skin structure and helps replace dead skin cells. Often, E gets oxidized and needs help to restore itself, says Linus Pauling research associate Alexander Michels. He contends that C is perfectly suited for the job, which makes the nutrients more effective when eaten together.

Prep tip: Sprinkle the seeds liberally on your salad for maximum effect.

Strawberry-Almond Milk Smoothie

Nutrient pairing: Vitamins C and E

What you get: 1 cup of pureed strawberries delivers about 180 percent of a woman’s daily requirement of vitamin C (150 percent for men); 1 cup of almond milk contains nearly half your vitamin E requirements.

Why it matters: Studies reveal that 40 percent of U.S. adults don’t meet daily vitamin C needs, and a whopping 90-plus percent don’t get enough E. That’s partly because the synthesized form of E found in many supplements doesn’t contribute to vitamin E levels in the body (the same doesn’t hold true for other vitamins).

Prep tip: Blend 2 cups of almond milk, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, a frozen banana and a few drops of vanilla extract; add sweetener to taste.

Walnut-Encrusted Salmon

Nutrient pairing: Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, plus vitamin D

What you get: A 3-ounce salmon fillet offers roughly 200 percent of your daily D, along with 2,000–3,000 milligrams of essential fatty acids; walnuts contain high levels of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Why it matters: A good balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can keep skin moist and supple, as well as aid skin’s immune and inflammatory responses. Vitamin D may help skin develop and mature, Michels says, and eating D along with fat ramps up your body’s ability to absorb it.

Prep tip: Preheat oven to 375˚. Mix 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush mixture over four 6-ounce salmon fillets. Then press top of fillets into a plate covered with 1/2 cup of finely chopped raw walnuts, coating evenly. Bake for 10–12 minutes in a greased baking dish.

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