The arrival of cooler weather means that you might not have to worry as much about sweat-induced pimples. However, that fact doesn’t mean your skin is home-free. For many, the transition between warm and cold weather brings other skin issues. Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter’s dry skin challenges. One way to prep your skin for the coming cold is through your diet. Though the eight fall foods for healthier skin we list in this post aren’t all harvested in the fall, they all share a combination of soothing antioxidants, nourishing healthy fats, and lots of science backing their skin-health benefits during this transitional time of year.

Here are eight fall foods for healthier skin as the season changes: 

1. Pumpkin

Pumpkin and squash are excellent fall foods for healthier skin.The onset of Fall brings pumpkin spice everything. While the sugary “pumpkin spice” flavors leave much to be desired in terms of nutrition, science supports that pumpkin itself is very skin-healthy. The “meat” is high in antioxidants like vitamin A or C that help fight oxidative stress and prevent free radicals from causing cellular damage and death. 

Pumpkin, and other types of squash, is useful topically to treat dry skin, too. Mix a teaspoon of raw honey, a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar, and two teaspoons of pureed pumpkin and slather the substance on your skin. The honey adds extra antimicrobial, humectant, and enzymatic goodness to help you glow. For added emollient protection, add 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin seed oil to the mix.

2. Berries

Another fabulous food source of antioxidants for healthier skin as the season changes comes from berries. These tiny wonders contain high levels of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables their deep blue and purple hues. 

Sprinkle some blueberries into your morning cereal, toss some organic frozen berries into a smoothie, or add some dried ones to your salad.  If you have a sweet tooth, a bowl of berries with a dollop of stevia-sweetened cream makes a delicious dessert. 

3. Seafood

salmon up closeFatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines are chock-full of nutrients designed to make your skin glow. It’s as if Mother Nature hid her beauty cream in the ocean. You’ll get a heaping serving of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E to keep your complexion supple and silky. 

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant for your skin’s cells. Some people slather it on before going to bed and let it absorb overnight — see if this trick helps you ease red spots and soften fine wrinkles. Likewise, omega-3s keep skin supple and protect it from UV rays. Some research suggests omega-3s can even help reduce the prevalence of acne.

4. Nuts and Seeds

What if you want the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet? You can still reap the perks of this nutrient by adding chia, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds to your diet. They’re a snap to sprinkle in salads and soup, adding texture without impacting the overall flavor much. 

Another benefit of sprinkling your salad with pepitas or opting for almonds over salty chips is that you enjoy a healthy dose of highly bioavailable zinc. This nutrient works as an anti-inflammatory and may help to ease the redness associated with acne. Altering your diet might work better than creams if you have combination skin and have to use care not to let topical products stray into the wrong zone. 

5. Avocados

Avocado, aloe and natural skin care ingredientsThey might not look like it, but avocados are a type of berry. Did you know that? They also have unique health benefits for your skin, so don’t put that guac away simply because summer salsa season is drawing to a close. 

Avocados also work well when applied topically as well, because they’re rich in oils that moisturize your complexion. You can rub the raw fruit directly on your skin, leaving it on for a few minutes before rinsing or mix it with Greek yogurt and raw honey for extra oomph. You can also try cleansing or moisturizing with cold pressed avocado oil.

6. Peppers, Hot and Mild

If you think of salsa as a summer treat only, please change your mindset. The spicy stuff can help you sweat toxins out of your skin. You’ll also get a rosy glow from a bit of picante sauce in your diet. 

Peppers contain tons of antioxidants to prevent oxidative stress on your skin. For example, a single red bell pepper contains three times the vitamin C than an orange does. 

7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil has tons of heart-healthy benefits, but it’s also beneficial for your skin, as any smooth skinned Italian nonna will tell you. If you aren’t acne-prone, you can use it as an oil cleanser or moisturizer. Simply add a few drops to your fingertips and rub them into dry areas — like your elbows. 

Olive oil works best on low heat or at room temperature–you should not cook with it at medium or high temperatures. In your diet, find ways to add it to salads, as a dip (with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper) for sourdough bread, on popcorn instead of butter, or as a finishing touch on your stir fry or bowl dishes.

8. Herbal Tea

chamomile teaMany herbal teas also contain high antioxidant levels. These substances keep redness at bay and prevent oxidative stress from killing excess skin cells and leaving them to accumulate, creating an ashy appearance. 

Chamomile is an excellent choice because it contains quercetin. This antioxidant may prevent some of the itchiness that often occurs with dry winter skin. 

Which of these fall foods for healthier skin are your favorites?

The seasonal changes mean switching up your skincare routine. Try these eight fall foods for a healthier glow as the weather cools, and tell us your favorite in the comments below! For more seasonal skincare advice, sign up for our Integrative Guide to Healthy Skin.

About the author:

Mia Barnes is the Managing Editor of Body+Mind and an online writer on all things beauty and wellness. Her favorite topics to cover include sustainable skincare and nutrition.