Aside from fish, eggs, chicken, and turkey breast, one of the best sources of protein is lean red meat, says Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the author of Feed Your Face.
Red meat contains the amino acids glycine and proline, research has shown, and these are among the components involved in the synthesis of collagen, per a study.
As the National Institutes of Health notes, red meat also offers zinc, a nutrient that research has suggested is important for collagen building, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
But red meat is also high in saturated fat and produces a chemical called TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) that may be linked to heart disease, according to a study. In the study, people whose diets were high in red meat had triple the levels of TMAO in their systems.
To keep your heart healthy, the American Heart Association recommends sticking to proteins with unsaturated fats, like fish, or choosing red meats that are lean, fat-free, and unprocessed.
Because of their zinc content, oysters are also a good food for healthy skin, says Howard Murad, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of The Water Secret. “Zinc is not only an essential component for collagen production and healing, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory,” he says.
Inflammation is how the body communicates to our immune system to jump into action if we’re injured, but it can also cause flare-ups in our skin that come in the form of swelling, rashes, and redness, per a research article. Zeichner says foods rich in vitamin A or zinc — like fortified cereal, beans, spinach, and oysters — can help reduce inflammation, making them among the best foods for healthy skin.
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