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The Best Foods For Healthy Skin

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By Mike Roussell, Ph.D. for Shape.com

Q: Are there certain foods that I can eat to improve my complexion?

A: Yes, with a few simple diet tweaks, you can help reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles, dryness and thinning skin. The saying "you are what you eat" is especially true when it comes to your skin. Here are the best foods to incorporate into your diet to improve your complexion:

1. Flax And Flaxseed Oil
Flax is a treasure trove for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fat that’s a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin moist and supple. In fact, low intake of ALA can lead to dermatitis (red, itchy skin).

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One great way to get more flaxseed oil in your diet: Try Nutrition Garlic Chili Organic Flax Seed Oil as an alternative to olive oil for salad dressing; coincidentally olive oil has also been shown to be good for your skin so alternate between the two oils for maximum results.

2. Red Bell Peppers And Carrots
These two vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C, which is a key player in the production of collagen (which keeps skin firm) and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals (which can lead to premature wrinkles).

Red bell peppers and carrots are also two of the most convenient healthy snack foods. Cut them into strips and take them with you when you’re on the go.

3. Lean Beef Or Poultry
Research shows that women with more wrinkles are more likely to have lower intakes of protein. And still more research shows that the skin of older women with lower protein intakes is more prone to cracking, tearing and breaking.

Your prevention plan: Aim to have a protein containing food (eggs, lean beef, poultry, edamame beans, etc.) at each of your meals to ensure optimal protein levels in your diet -- and supple skin.

These three additions to your diet are simple, but the effects are profound. Making just one of the above changes can reduce the likelihood of wrinkles by 10 percent, of thinning skin by 25 percent or of dryness by 20 percent, according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For more on beauty and skin, click here.

Flickr photo by Emily Barney

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