I've always been intrigued by "beauty foods"... you know, those ones that promise to give you a glowing complexion? Though I know it's not that simple, from my humble non-scientist's perspective, it seems pretty intuitive that what you feed your body does in some way influence your skin, which is, after all, your body's largest organ. One nutrient in particular has become an important part of my skincare lately: omega-3.
In addition to the non-superficial benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. they support cardiovascular and mental health), they are thought to improve skin function and structure. Studies suggest that omega-3 strengthens skin cells against dehydration and reduces inflammation from eczema, psoriasis, photodamage and even acne. I've suffered from eczema on my arm for a long time, and about a month ago I stopped in a natural food store in search of (yet another) remedy. A specialist there recommended treating the problem from the inside out, upping my omega-3 intake through regular doses of flaxseed oil. Not only has my eczema practically vanished now, but my skin is overall more hydrated, supple and smooth. Though I know there are other factors involved, I'm convinced that incorporating more omega-3 has made a significant difference.
Flaxseed oil is the richest plant-based source of omega-3. I take Barlean's Organic Flax Oil, which is pure, unfiltered and cold pressed. You can find something similar at any health food store; I recommend the liquid form, which gives you more for your money than the capsules. The suggested daily quota is a tablespoon a day, but I go some days without it, especially when I eat fatty fish, another major source of omega-3. It's important to consume a balance of omegas-3, -6 and -9; in general, many people are short on omega-3. In addition to fish and flax, walnuts, soybeans and pumpkin seeds are also great sources of omega-3.
If you'd like more information, check out this short article or this research paper containing everything you'd ever want to know on omegas. I stick to a plant-based, unprocessed diet, so it's rare that I notice a change in my skin based on what I eat. However, I can say with certainty that incorporating more omega-3 in my diet has helped my skin immensely.