Improving skin through diet is possible. You can eat your way to better skin. Though products that are applied to the skin definitely have benefit, the importance of what you feed the body is even more vital to skin health and appearance. The appearance of hair, skin, and nails is a direct reflection of overall health. Here are some ways you can eat, and drink, yourself to more youthful looking skin and gain better health in the process.

We are what we eat, both inside and out. In turn, if we deprive our body of proper nutrition we will suffer, both inside and out. Of course, all lifestyle choices we make matter to our health and beauty. Sleep, smoking, being around smoke, overexposure to the sun, and other negative environmental factors can make a drastic impact on how we age. Here we will focus on what we put in the body.

Hydrate the Skin

Drink water, eat water. A natural way to keep skin looking young is to keep hydrated through water. Keep cells hydrated in the body with proper fluid intake. Healthy skin is hydrated skin—we hear this all the time. This should be thoughtful and done throughout the day. Much of our water intake can be received from high water content foods, but, in general, the average adult will want to drink 8-12 8 ounce glasses per day.

Drink nutrients that help water bind to your cells, such as hyaluronic acid. Supplements with HA are effective at keeping the body hydrated. And when the body is hydrated, the skin is hydrated and smooth.

Related: Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid Supplements

Protect the Skin From the Inside Out With Fruit

Youthful looking skin is protected skin. Everyday life causes damage to cells through oxidative stress. How do you limit this damage? By providing the body with nutrients that have high antioxidant properties. The best are fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, plums and many others.

Oranges and strawberries and high vitamin C content vegetables like kale and red peppers support the body’s natural collagen production and further strengthen the skin.

Related: The Anti-Aging Secrets of Organic Fruit Extracts

Build and Support Skin Structure With Protein

Maintain skin’s youthful appearance by supporting the skin matrix. The matrix of the skin is made of collagen. Eating proper amounts protein in the diet will help to build overall collagen structure by providing the amino acids as substrates for natural collagen production.

Protein intake is a basic but critical step to maintaining better skin especially as we age. If you don’t eat adequate protein, the body will not have the raw materials it needs to build the structure to support healthy and vibrant skin. To do an advanced step, you can take a hydrolyzed collagen supplement like Amino Collagen C.

Related: Perfecting Your Anti Aging Diet

Maintain Skin Cell Function with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Young looking skin is abundant with plump, water-filled cells. As we age our skin’s ability to hold water decreases. Healthy skin cells have healthy cell membranes that keep good things in, such as, water and nutrients, and allows waste products to travel out. Fatty acids are the friend to the membrane.Without an adequate amount, membranes cannot keep their shape, which in turn leads to saggy, aged skin.

Good sources of EFAs are flax seeds, walnuts, salmon and canola oil. Eaten in moderation, all these contain enough of these fatty acids to have a positive effect on your skin. If you do not eat enough, get a high quality fish oil supplement high in essential fatty acids. Your skin will benefit along with many other systems in your body.

Related: Collagen Supplement Study Results

The four areas mentioned here are critical to skin health and really exemplify the “beauty within” approach. If you do the above along with the lifestyle changes we mentioned you will have great skin. Happy eating!