Can you get glowing skin from the foods you eat at Thanksgiving?
The result won’t be instantaneous—eat turkey, and see glowing skin in the mirror. But many common Thanksgiving foods help benefit skin health.
Here are the ones to look out for this year. You may even want to go for seconds!
Does Diet Have An Impact on Glowing Skin?
For many years, scientists were skeptical of the diet-skin connection. But with new evidence, that skepticism is now giving way to the acceptance of the idea that what you eat can affect how your skin looks and feels.
We now know, for instance, that for some people, dairy products can exacerbate acne, as can a high glycemic diet. We also know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of skin cancer.
In a 2020 study, researchers noted: “Nutrition is closely associated with skin health and is required for all biological processes of skin from youth to aging or disease.” They go on to state that nutrition levels and eating habits “can repair damaged skin and can also cause damage to the skin.”
Scientists have found that diet can even affect skin aging. We have some evidence that eating a lot of sugar, for one, may accelerate the signs of aging, because it promotes the cross-linking of collagen fibers, contributing to sagging skin.
We’ll learn more about this connection in the future, but for now, it seems pretty clear that choosing a healthy diet may not only help prevent disease but delay the appearance of aging as well.
7 Thanksgiving Foods That Contribute to Glowing Skin
1. Sweet Potatoes
These orange delectable grace many a table during the Thanksgiving holiday. And good thing, because they’re packed with vitamin A, beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A), and vitamin C. All three of these nutrients aid the skin’s production of collagen and elastin, helping the skin to stay firm as it ages.
These sweet red fruits are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that help fight off dangerous free radicals that can damage your skin. They also contain natural anti-inflammatories that can reduce redness and irritation.
Be aware, though, that many cans of cranberries are stuffed full of sugar. Cranberry juice is too, because otherwise it would be too tart to drink. You can still get the nutrients from these sources, but if you’d rather avoid the high dose of sugar, try making homemade cranberry sauce using fresh or frozen cranberries (there are many recipes online), or head out to your local Whole Foods store to purchase a low-sugar option.
This main event at many Thanksgiving meals (except for those enjoyed by vegans or vegetarians) is also good for your skin. Turkey is rich in zinc, which helps maintain collagen and elastin fibers, keeping your skin firm. Zinc is also critical for healthy hair and nails.
Turkey is also rich in niacin, which is a form of vitamin B that can help your skin cells retain moisture. Niacin also improves the elasticity of your skin to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
You may not think of spinach around the Thanksgiving holiday, but many families enjoy this dark green vegetable on its own or in various salad or baked dishes. That’s great because spinach is wonderful for your skin and your overall health. It’s rich in vitamin A and vitamin C—two antioxidants that protect skin from damaging pollution while enhancing collagen production.
Spinach also contains vitamin K, which helps strengthen blood vessel walls and may reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Finally, spinach is a water-rich veggie and will help keep your skin hydrated.
Walnuts are full of essential fatty acids that can help plump the skin while reducing inflammation. If they’re not on your shopping list, add them! You can sprinkle them over your candied sweet potatoes, add them to salads, or use them to top your pumpkin pie.
Walnuts also contain zinc, vitamin E, and selenium—all powerful antioxidants that fight off free radicals and ensure skin remains firm and protected.
Go ahead and indulge in that pumpkin pie. It’s great for your complexion! It is so rich in natural enzymes and hydroxy acids that if you apply it topically, it creates a gentle exfoliating treatment. (We wouldn’t recommend you do this at the table.)
Pumpkin is a wonderful source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which will help keep skin firm and youthful. Like walnuts, pumpkin is packed with essential fatty acids and vitamin E to nourish the deeper layers of skin and keep it moisturized and plump. Pumpkin also contains zinc, which in addition to firming skin helps keep it protected from the sun’s damaging rays.
7. Green Beans
Some families love a good green bean casserole on Thanksgiving day. If your family is one of them, you’re in luck, because green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K, and manganese. These help boost collagen production and protect from free radical damage.
Green beans also contain the skin’s natural moisturizer—hyaluronic acid. They’ll help your skin hold onto water, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid for Glowing Skin
Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner knowing that it’s good for your skin and your overall health!
Just be careful not to overindulge in those items that aren’t so great. The following are high in sugar, sodium, and dairy, which can increase the risk of inflammation, puffy skin, breakouts, and an overall dull appearance.
Stuffing: If it’s one of your favorites, feel free to enjoy some. Just make your serving size small, as this one is often super high in sodium.
Chips and other salty snacks: These are often served before dinner. Try to avoid them, as they are high in sodium too, and can leave you looking puffy.
Creamy cheese dips and dishes: Cheese-heavy items may be tasty at the moment, but they can lead to an overproduction of skin oil (sebum), exacerbating acne. Go easy on the serving.
Cornbread: It’s super tasty, usually because it has a lot of sugar. Take only a small piece.
Baked goods: Instead of cookies and cakes, go for a piece of pumpkin pie. It’s healthier than these other high-sugar, high-glycemic items.
What skin-friendly foods do you enjoy at Thanksgiving time?
Featured image courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via Pexels.