You well know that an unhealthy diet can lead to acne, skin inflammation, dullness, and sullenness. There’s high risk in diets that lean heavily on processed foods, vices like alcohol, and indulgences like dairy and sugar.
And of course, the opposite is also true: A healthy, natural diet yields healthier, clearer skin—especially when paired with ample hydration, rest, and little-to-no stress. You don’t need us to tell you that carrots, kale, and orange juice are all good for you.
But what’s that sweet spot—where you can enjoy radiant, clear skin while still elevating yourself above kale salads and sans-dressing salads? Here’s a checklist of some good-for-skin foods that border on indulgent. They’ll honor your subcutaneous harmony, as well as your highbrow taste buds.
A once or twice weekly helping of fatty fish can deliver some serious good to your skin. These fish are among the richest foods in omega-3 fatty acids, which significantly boost the inflammatory response in your skin. They also strengthen the skin’s cell membrane, thus improving its nutrient absorption and toxin defense. The result, across all of your body’s skin cells, is nothing shy of radiance. For this omega-3 boost, stock up on salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines.
The higher the cocoa, the closer to godliness. A daily dark-chocolate square (of the 72-85% variety) is loaded with nutrients: There’s fiber (to help flush away skin-aging toxins), manganese (which boosts collagen production and improves healing), copper (which helps synthesize skin proteins), magnesium (which boosts cellular turnover), and iron (which improves brightness and boosts healing). Don’t indulge in the entire chocolate bar—it’s high in calories, after all—but like a nightly glass of wine, it’s terrific in moderation.
When consumed, truffle oil has anti-inflammatory powers that reduce redness and swelling in the skin. High-quality formulas (as opposed to the knockoff recipes) will also boost blood circulation, and thus improve nutrient delivery around the body. As it impacts skin, this means you get to better wear the nutritional benefits of whatever you slathered in said truffle oil. (We suggest the aforementioned fish, a chicken breast, or some roasted vegetables.)
A nightly glass of red wine isn’t just good for your heart. The antioxidant-rich indulgence can help bounce the skin-aging toxins that hover throughout your body (pour one out for the tannins and flavonoids). It can boost collagen production in the skin and often contains tartaric acid, which is a natural alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs work to dissolve dead surface skin cells and promote brighter, healthier, more radiant cells to the front of the line. Again, moderation is the key here, because downing a full bottle of wine in one night will have quite the inverse reaction on your skin; you might want to have the dark-circle eye cream ready come morning.
Fresh Goat Cheese and Ricotta
Dairy products are usually frowned upon within the skin-friendly framework. That’s because they often contain testosterone-like hormones that can clog the pores and lead to long-lasting breakouts. (And that’s just their superficial impact.) However, when consumed in moderation—and when you targeted lower-fat, fresh cheeses, like goat and ricotta—then you have a recipe for a protein- and nutrient-rich indulgence. Both of these cheeses pack lots of Vitamin A (which helps smooth and firm the skin) as well as calcium and riboflavin (which regulate sebum production to prevent dryness and related breakouts).