The amino acids found in protein-rich foods like meat or eggs are the building blocks of collagen production, says Dr. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, founder and owner of The Dermatology&Laser Group in NYC. Just don't go overboard; your body can really only process 30 grams of protein in one meal.
"In addition to the calcium our bones need, milk is a great source of vitamin D," says Baumann. "This is good for your skin because getting your daily dose of 'D' from milk means you don't have to get unprotected sun exposure, which helps prevent wrinkles and discoloration." That said, dairy can wreak havoc on some people's skin; so if that sounds like you, score your vitamin D from a supplement or other food sources. A three-ounce serving of wild salmon or mackerel can provide nearly your entire daily recommended vitamin D intake! Meanwhile, a cup of shiitake mushrooms gets you to about 20 percent (the best you'll find in the produce aisle) and three eggs can score you another 20 percent. You have options, dairy-free friends.
14. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is high in linoleic acid, which can help support your skin cells' membranes. "It may also reduce cellular inflammation, which has been associated with aging," says Baumann.
Yellow and green peppers are packed with carotenoids, another antioxidant that decreases sun sensitivity, diminishing the appearance of fine lines around the eyes and crow's feet, says Papantoniou. And a study out of the UK agrees. The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that volunteers who consumed 4 milligrams of vitamin C (what you'd get in a single bite of yellow pepper) daily for three years decreased the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent.
"Fruits and vegetables owe their vibrant colors to antioxidants, and berries are a wonderful source," says Baumann. "If your diet includes blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and the like, you'll get a range of protective antioxidants that shield your skin from free radicals."
"If you were to only eat one vegetable, make it broccoli," says Baumann. "It contains a myriad of good-for-your-skin vitamins, including A, C, which is a fantastic antioxidant that also supports collagen production. There's also vitamin K in broccoli, which speeds up the healing of bruises and may even help improve dark undereye circles."
Sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, making it a great fish for reducing inflammation and even acne, says Jhin. "Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids have mood-regulating benefits, which can help with the stress component of having acne. Acne sufferers should consume four to five servings of oily fish per week in order to treat the condition." Sardines are also a good source of calcium because the bones are so tiny and soft that they're edible.
19. Dark Chocolate
Yes, that's right, chocolate is on the list. Dark chocolate is great for skin firming, says Papantoniou. "It also has flavonols, which is a very potent antioxidant." But be sure to avoid any chocolate less than 70 percent cacao. "Look for high cacao concentrations because these have less sugar, which can be terrible for your skin," suggests Baumann.
20. Greek Yogurt
Nicknamed "the wrinkle fighter," Greek yogurt is great for banishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. "It's rich in B vitamins, which help to detox skin," says Papantoniou. But note the emphasis on the Greek part of this yogurt; there's a difference.
"Pomegranates contain polyphenols which also fight free radicals and help to regulate skin's blood flow, giving it a nice healthy glow," says Papantoniou. Pomegranate seeds also have a decent amount of fiber, making them a satiating way to sprinkle some color onto your salads and side dishes. Naturally-occurring sugar isn't remotely as scary as added sugar, but if you're concerned about it, then you won't want to go totally nuts with the pomegranate seeds.
22. Kidney Beans
This fibrous, protein-rich food also does wonders for your skin. They are very rich in zinc, which has high healing properties that help fight acne says Papantoniou. Want more foods to make you look good?