June 1, 2023

Have you noticed some days your skin seems healthier than others? It may be changes in your diet or things you haven’t been eating regularly that are the culprit. Try eating more of these foods for healthier, softer, younger-looking skin.

Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fatty fish, can help keep skin healthy and soft. In addition, they may decrease the effect of harmful UV rays. One of the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency is dry skin. If you notice your skin is getting particularly dry, increasing your fatty fish intakes may help restore your skin’s moisture. Since omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, they can also reduce redness and acne.

Additionally, sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, giving them the orange color that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Foods rich in beta-carotene are responsible for skin’s “healthy glow.” They may also help in protecting against sun damage.

Another healthy skin food is the avocado. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin C and vitamin E. This combination is a win-win for healthy, supple skin. Regular consumption of avocados is linked to reducing the look of aging — including wrinkles as well as sun damage. Early research has also indicated women who increase avocado intakes have tighter, smoother skin and reduced appearance of wrinkles.

Finally, a favored treat, dark chocolate, is high in antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to improve skin health. Research has found blood flow and nutrient delivery to the skin were improved by eating dark chocolate. Another study found participants eating 20 grams (just under ¾ oz.) of dark chocolate daily could withstand twice the amount of UV radiation before developing a sunburn. This result compared participants tolerance to UV before adding chocolate and after adding it daily.

So how can you do some easy swaps to improve your skin’s health? Try swapping your standard burger for a salmon burger. Or perhaps, add fish tacos to the weekly menu. Not a fan of eating fish? Not a problem! Try a “no-fish-burp” fish oil supplement instead.

Another option is swapping your regular fries for sweet potato fries (try them with honey-mustard dressing). Or swap mashed white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Diced sweet potatoes are a great addition to almost any dish.

Finally, avocados are a versatile food. Add them to a smoothie for a creamy texture. Add it to a salad, your morning eggs or even as a spread for your toast. No matter how you incorporate these foods to your diet, your skin will thank you!

Dr. Dianna Richardson has been serving Jefferson City and the surrounding communities for more than 22 years. She has worked in the field of health and nutrition as a wellness practitioner for over 30 years. Richardson holds a doctorate in naturopathy, along with degrees in nutrition and a master’s degree in public health education. She may be found at the Health, Wellness & Nutrition Center, LLC on Dix Road in Jefferson City.


Makes: 2 servings

4-6 tortillas, lightly warmed

1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

2 limes, divided

¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder

2 cups shredded green cabbage

½ avocado, thinly sliced

½ mango, diced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons crumbled cheese

sliced serrano pepper and additional sriracha, for serving (optional)

sea salt

spicy mayo

⅓ cup mayo

2 teaspoons sriracha

In a small bowl, combine the black beans with 1 tablespoon of lime juice, ¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Make the spicy mayo: In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and the sriracha.

Toss the cabbage with a squeeze of lime (1 teaspoon or so) and a few pinches of salt.

Fill each tortilla with the cabbage, avocado slices, black beans, mango, cilantro, the spicy mayo, and feta cheese. For spicier tacos, serve with sliced serrano peppers and extra sriracha. Serve with lime slices on the side.