Nuts are one of the best foods to eat for enhanced skin protection and health, as well as for a more youthful appearance and glow. Yet, maintaining that same dewy, taut skin you had during your early years as an adult can become increasingly difficult with time.
Aging negatively impacts skin’s appearance and function, where it’s harder for cells to maintain elasticity and strength, as well as stimulate collagen production and repair damaged tissues. And less elasticity and available collagen leads to fine lines and wrinkles.
While it’s impossible to completely avoid exposure and damage due to aging, diet can help fight free radical damage and oxidative stress, and nuts are at the top of the list for skin-promoting superfoods. Enjoy nuts in various ways—as a low-carb crust or breading for tofu, in trail mix and a serving of dairy-free yogurt, or as an ingredient in a low sugar protein bar for when snacking on the go.
To increase nuts’ value further, pair them with bright and colorful foods, since those red, green, yellow, orange and purple hues indicate rich antioxidant content and offer extra anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits. Think: a leafy green kale or spinach salad, topped with avocado, cashews and a mix of both yellow and red bell peppers.
What Makes Nuts Good for Your Skin
Nuts are among the best foods to eat for health in general, and they happen to have both anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, which fight oxidative stress, repair skin cell damage and stimulate growth. In fact, antioxidants speed and enhance muscle and cellular recovery when consumed post-workout, as they increase absorption of many nutrients the body needs to replenish and help the body recover faster.
Nuts also have heart-healthy fats, like unsaturated fats and omega-3s, which decrease inflammation, protect the heart and lower the risk of various kinds of disease that become increasingly concerning later in life.
Excellent sources include cashews, almonds, pistachios and walnuts, among others. They’re delicious, easy to buy in bulk and keep as a kitchen staple (they have a long shelf life) and integrate into various meals and snack recipes. Use almonds and cashews in a chocolate, nutty protein smoothie or as a high-protein, high-fat topper for protein “power” bowls, lettuce wraps and tacos, salads, fried cauliflower rice and more.
You can even throw nuts into your soy yogurt for breakfast, along with a serving of high protein, low sugar granola, or use nuts and add a bit of crunch to thick, creamy soups to warm you up in the winter.
And of course, trade raw, whole nuts for a spread when preferred—there’s nothing easier than spreading some almond butter on a slice of whole grain or low-carb toast, or even a keto-friendly protein bar, for a quick snack that you can enjoy when on the go. These are some of the best skin-protecting and promoting nuts to incorporate into your diet.
Almonds have essential fatty acids and fats, a solid dose of protein per serving and fiber. Plus, they also contain vitamin E, which boosts collagen production and offers antioxidant power to promote more youthful, healthy skin and to reduce the onset of aging’s visual effects, on the face in particular.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s great for your skin, as it dilates blood vessels and boosts hydration and maintenance, which keeps skin soft and supple and decreases appearance of acne, eczema and dark spots.
Walnuts are rich in healthy fats, and in omega-3 fats in particular, which are anti-inflammatory and highly protective against aging and its effects. They also have a good source of B vitamins, which promote youthful skin and greater elasticity, so skin stays firm and taut and can better prevent fine lines and wrinkles, along with loose, saggy skin.
Cashews are acne-fighting by nature, which promotes a clear skin and a fresh complexion that looks and feels healthier. In addition to healthy fats, fiber and protein, cashews are especially rich in selenium and vitamin E, which together provide antioxidant benefits that moisturize and nourish skin cells where they’re well-hydrated and free from inflammation.
Cashews also have a good source of zinc, which boosts immunity and keeps you strong and well. Zinc not only keeps the sniffles away, but it also promotes healing and growth, so skin cells can more effectively renew and repair damaged or infected ones.
Removing pistachios from their shells is not only a good way to boost appetite suppression and avoid overeating, but also it can enhance skin health and fight acne flare-ups, too. These nuts have ample protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats to improve cholesterol levels and prevent damage due to aging.
Plus, antioxidant-rich pistachios also prevent acne growth by maintaining heart-healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. When there are shifts and increases, the acne-causing hormone androgen spikes, and it unfortunately leads to more oily skin and breakouts. Yet, pistachios keep blood sugar balanced and thus regulates the production and influence of androgen on the skin.
Brazil nuts are rich in protein, good fats, fiber and other vitamins and minerals with antioxidant properties, which is why they’re one of the best nuts to eat for healthy skin. Yet, they’re especially rich in selenium, which increases skin elasticity and offers anti-aging benefits that keep skin firm and strong. Plus, selenium also stimulates the production of glutathione, which is known to reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage.