There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that omega fatty acids are key for optimal skin health—and although they are play an essential role in the skin’s barrier, our bodies can’t make them on its own. Omega fatty acids help prevent moisture loss from the skin while providing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. A deficiency of these essential fatty acids can contribute to skin dryness, flaking, irritation, rashes and poor healing (in extreme cases), so there’s all the more reason to make sure you get your daily dose.
You can certainly get omega fatty acids from your skincare (such as our barrier-friendly Universal Moisture), and oral supplements can help as well. As anyone who has tried fish oil supplements knows, they can come along with “fishy” burps, but there are actually “burpless” options (seriously—Google it) as well as vegan flaxseed supplements that don’t come along with this side effect. However, the ideal way to feed your skin omega fatty acids is through your diet, so consider these omega-rich foods that are easy to integrate into any nutritional approach, including vegan and vegetarian diets.
- Seafood: If marine-based protein is a dietary option, salmon, mackerel, sea bass, sardines, trout, shrimp and oysters are a wonderful source of omega fatty acids.
- Seaweed and algae: You can reap the benefits of marine-based omegas while sticking to a plant-based diet with these vegan options.
- Chia, hemp and flax seeds: These plant-based sources of omega-3s can be added to virtually any meal, whether your breakfast yogurt, salads, smoothies or beyond.
- Walnuts: Perfect for adding “crunch” to a salad or as a base for pesto sauce, use them whenever you can.
- Edamame: You wonder why the Japanese have such a significantly longer life expectancy.
- Kidney beans: As a side dish or addition to stews and crockpot recipes, this legume is chock full of skin-supporting omegas.
- Enriched eggs: When hens are fed a diet of flax seeds, chia seeds and fish oil, the omega benefits are passed along to you.
- Spinach: Low in calories and high in omegas, these leafy greens should be a staple in your diet. Sauté a whole package and throw in a few omega-enriched eggs for a delicious, filling “scramble” that does your skin and body good.