Thinking of switching to a plant-based diet? Maybe you’ve got one of the best vegan cookbooks and are desperate to try out some recipes. A new narrative review study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (opens in new tab) shows a plant-based diet can benefit the health of the largest organ in your body – your skin.
Researchers in Sacramento, California reviewed 20 previous studies that investigated skin health and the effects of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and soybeans. The results showed that fruits and vegetables can improve skin hydration, wrinkles, and elasticity.
In the review, the researchers looked at the skin-supporting nutrients in vegetables and fruits in several forms: whole food, juices, and extracts.
Researchers noted that plant-based foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that work to reduce inflammation and promote structural support of the skin. Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C, with reduced intake of vitamin C linked to dry or wrinkled skin in women.
They found foods including citrus fruits, broccoli, red peppers, and kiwi were associated with fewer wrinkles. The review found that other skin-boosting foods include tomatoes, kale, melon, oranges, pomegranates, and grapes.
What should you eat for good skin?
The key to good skin health seems to be variety, with researchers suggesting adding a number of different vegetables and fruits to your diet, to benefit from the many nutrients. Try whipping up a super smoothie in one of the best blenders to start your day.
There's also some research to support soy for skin health. Soybeans contain isoflavones that have a similar structure to estrogen, a hormone that decreases after menopause. This reduction may contribute to skin wrinkles and dryness. One small study (opens in new tab) involving found that eating soy isoflavones every day for eight to 12 weeks reduced fine wrinkles and improved skin elasticity.
Researchers found that benefits could be found not only from eating a plant-based diet, but also enhancing your diet with the best vitamins for women if you’re struggling to get enough fresh fruit and vegetables into your day.
Ultimately, the choice on how to get as many skin-boosting vitamins into your diet is based on what works best for your lifestyle.
Catherine is a freelance journalist writing across titles such as Verywell Health, Healthline, The Daily Telegraph, Refinery29, Elle, and Vogue. She specializes in content covering health, fitness, wellness, and culture.
A once reluctant runner, Catherine has competed in 30 running events in the past five years and looks forward to one day running the London Marathon.
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