What to Eat for Healthy Summer Skin

Get these foods and drinks on your shopping list to have healthy skin all summer long.

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Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C (one cup gives you over a day’s worth of this antioxidant). Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, which helps skin stay plump and wrinkle-free, and it can also help prevent and heal UV-related skin damage. Pile them on your breakfast cereal or yogurt, or enjoy them in this sweet-and-savory Fennel, Arugula and Strawberry Salad.

Get the Recipe: Fennel, Arugula and Strawberry Salad


Lycopene—the compound that gives tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon their red hue—helps protect skin against sun exposure. According to a November 2012 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating lycopene-rich food consistently for several weeks may help to improve your skin appearance. Try Food Network Kitchen’s Tomato and Peach Salad with Ricotta for a multitasking skin helper.

Get the Recipe: Tomato Peach Salad with Ricotta


Cucumbers nourish skin by delivering a lot of water, as well as some vitamin C and caffeic acid—two compounds that may help protect against skin-damaging UV rays. Cucumber has also long been used in Ayurveda, an Indian system of medicine, to soothe sunburn and other skin irritations. Use cool cucumbers as a topping for grilled salmon.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Smashed Cucumber-Date Salad


Watermelon is super hydrating and also delivers lycopene, a compound that may help improve your skin’s appearance. Lycopene is best absorbed with fat, so try watermelon paired with olive oil, as in Tyler Florence’s Watermelon Gazpacho.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho

Iced Tea

Green tea is chockfull of polyphenols — compounds that, among other benefits, may help ward off skin damage from the sun's powerful UV rays. Give it an even more refreshing twist by adding mint and lemon. Dave Lieberman's recipe for Mint Iced Tea shows you how.

Get the Recipe: Mint Iced Tea

Grilled Salmon

Salmon and other oily fish are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids — a type of fat that may help quell inflammation. That's important when it comes to your skin. Research suggests that eating EPA — one type of omega-3 that's found primarily in oily fish — helps lower the inflammation response that is part of sunburn, sun-related aging and skin cancer. Grilled salmon is a quick-cooking summer classic — try it: Sweet-and-Spicy Grilled Salmon.

Get the Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Grilled Salmon

Iced Coffee

Yup, one more health benefit to add to America's favorite beverage: it might help ward off skin cancer. Women who drank three cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a significantly lower risk of basal cell carcinoma (the type of skin cancer) compared to women who rarely drank coffee, in a 2012 study published in the journal Cancer Research. The researchers argued that men can expect the same skin-protective benefit. Skip the coffee shop and make your iced java at home with the Ina Garten's Iced Coffee.

Get the Recipe: Iced Coffee