Healthy Fats that Support Youthful Skin

While watching a rerun of Seinfeld, I spied Elaine chowing down on a box of Snackwells, the no-fat/low-fat cookies that masqueraded as health foods in the 90s. Instead of fat, Snackwells were loaded with sugar, namely high fructose corn syrup. And sugar, in many ways, was a worse choice- for our waistlines and definitely for our skin.

While we were on a nation-wide witch hunt for fat, eliminating all but the most paltry sources of fat from our diets, our skin (and bodies) were deprived of all the nutritious lipids that keep us healthy and gorgeous. Glad those days are over! Lucky for us that we wised up and now understand that healthy fats are necessary for healthy bodies- especially brain function and beautiful skin. In fact, fats maintain the lipid barrier of your skin that keeps it looking supple and smooth. Diets that are too low in fat may cause dry, flaky skin and make you look older than you should.

Yes, fats are to be eaten in moderation, especially if you're trying to lose weight. But there is no reason to believe that adding avocado to your salad is going to pack on the pounds. In fact, fats are a skinny secret of many slim people.

Which fats are the best for your beauty? Here are a few healthy sources of fat to stock in your kitchen:

The Omega 3s:

SOURCES: walnuts, salmon, flaxseed, avocados, almonds, cold water fish, hemp seeds, wheat germ, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, dark green leafy veggies, Omega 3-fortified eggs.

These essential fatty acids (they're essential 'cause your body doesn't make them on its own) are the building blocks of healthy skin cells. Omega 3s reduce inflammation in skin, encourage hair growth and and build strong cell membranes that reduce water loss in skin cells. They also lower levels of the hormone IGF-1, which relates to breakouts by boosts pore-clogging oil production.

Medium Chain Saturated Fat:

SOURCE: coconut oil

Don't get scared over the saturated fat content of coconut oil. Saturated fat actually makes up over 50 percent of our cells' membranes. Coconut oil is loaded with lauric acid, an anti-bacterial substance that boosts immunity and good digestion (always a plus for skin). It supports thyroid function, heart health and weight loss. And according to David Wolfe’s book, Superfoods, coconut oil appears to double the body’s ability to use omega-3 fatty acids. And coconut oil is safe to cook with over high heat (even safer than olive oil).