Delicious AND good for your skin? Oh, salmon, we’re not worthy.
To slow the inevitable signs of aging, you probably know to avoid certain bad habits that age your skin, such as spending too much time in the sun without proper SPF, smoking, or eating too much sugar.
But maintaining a youthful glow isn’t just about what you don’t do. It’s about finding that balance between nixing the bad stuff and maintaining more healthy-skin habits.
While you may know the basic anti-aging habits, like eating a well-rounded diet, getting enough sleep, and fitting in regular exercise, there’s one surprising skin-soothing tactic hiding in your freezer (or river) that you may not realize: salmon.
Along with being relatively low in calories, heart-healthy, high in protein, and full of vitamins and minerals, salmon is also one of nature’s secrets for glowing, youthful skin. Here’s why:
1. Salmon is packed with long-chain omega-3s.
Omega-3s help keep you young from the inside out. People who eat fish have a lower risk of several chronic conditions, like cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
One omega-3, called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), helps protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun. EPA has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and it blocks UV-induced enzymes that breakdown collagen.
2. Salmon is a great source of the ever-elusive vitamin D.
Ah, vitamin D: the sunshine vitamin that many of us just can’t seem to get enough of. Vitamin D isn’t naturally found in many foods, and even though the sun is a significant source, time of day, season, latitude, skin pigmentation, and even sunscreen can keep you from getting adequate vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is important for many bodily functions, but when it comes to your dermis, it plays a key role in skin cell growth and repair, and may even lower your risk of skin cancer.
Salmon is one of the best food sources of vitamin D—it boasts about 112 percent of your daily recommended value in just three ounces. Pair your salmon with calcium-rich foods for better absorption, such as leafy greens or cheese. Here are more power nutrient pairs made in food heaven.
3. Salmon contains an anti-aging antioxidant called astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a keto-carotenoid that gives salmon its pink color. Aside from its ability to brighten up your plate, studies have shown that its antioxidant power may also help improve skin’s elasticity and hydration.
One study comparing astaxanthin to other carotenoids found that astaxanthin displayed the highest antioxidant activity in the fight against skin-damaging free radicals.
Ready to dive into a salmon-rich diet? Here’s how to buy the freshest, healthiest salmon.
Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw. United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database. (Accessed on July 31, 2018 at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/15076)
Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo. Seoul, Korea: Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University College of Medicine. (Accessed on July 31, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24955642)
Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review. Cairo, Egypt: Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University. (Accessed on July 31, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642156)
Photoprotective and anti-skin-aging effects of eicosapentaenoic acid in human skin in vivo. Seoul, Korea: Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University Boramae Hospital. (Accessed on July 31, 2018 at http://www.jlr.org/content/47/5/921.full)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids. National Institutes of Health. (Accessed on July 31, 2018 at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional)
Antioxidant activities of astaxanthin and related carotenoids. Chelmsford, MA: Phytochem Technologies. (Accessed on July 31, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10775364)