If you’re on a perpetual journey to healthy, glowing skin, skip the trip to Sephora, head to the seafood counter and get yourself some fresh salmon.
Salmon is jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been said to prevent certain cancersand even alleviate menstrual pain. If those health benefits aren’t enough to sway you to add more salmon to your diet, maybe the skin benefits will change your mind.
“I consider salmon to be one of the superfoods for skin health,” Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York told HuffPost. She added that if there were absolutely no risks associated with eating too much fish (such as ingesting high levels of mercury), she would eat it every day “because that’s how good it is for your skin.”
For years, Dr. Nicholas V. Perriconehas sworn by the benefits of salmon, crediting his complexion to the fish. “If you’re eating salmon now, or taking fish-oil capsules, I’ve helped you,” he said in a 2005New York Timesprofile. (Celebrities likeVictoria BeckhamandMariah Careyalso eat salmon-heavy diets.)
The reason the omega-3 found in salmon is so great for skin, Nazarian explained, is because it helps to calm inflammation, which can lead to a breakdown of collagen and elastin, both of which keep skin looking youthful.
Skin has a natural oil barrier that sits on top of it to protect it from the outside world, helping skin retain moisture and stay hydrated, she added.
“When you have a high level of good fat in your body it feeds the skin and allows the skin to make this healthy oil and allows the skin to be healthier,” she said. “That’s what gives skin the glow.”
Dr. Melda Isaac, a board-certified dermatologist in Washington, D.C., echoed Nazarian’s point, telling HuffPost, “Omega-3 fatty acid is going to retain moisture in your skin,” which helps with maintaining the skin’s elasticity and keeps skin looking supple.
Isaac also noted thatsalmon contains vitamin D, which can havephotoprotective effects, meaning it can help protect the skin against the negative effects of UV rays. Vitamin D is alsogreat for skin cell growth and repair and helps protect against free radicals.
Salmon also contains something calledastaxanthin, a chemical compound known as a keto-carotenoid, which gives salmon its pink color. It is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Nazarian said.
“So that helps with the same sort of thing ― creates more collagen, calms inflammation, [and is] also a fantastic anti-aging agent,” she said. (A2012 studyfound that astaxanthin actually helped improve the look of wrinkles, age spots and skin texture.)
If you’re wondering how much salmon you should eat in order to start reaping its benefits, Nazarian said one palm-sized serving three times a week is plenty.
“I think, frankly, if you’re going to eat it more than that, you’ll probably get sick of it,” she said, noting that adding lean meats and fruits to your diet will provide additional antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. (Isaac likes to have blueberries, which are said to begreat for brain health, and tomatoes, which areanother great skin food.)
Both wild and farm-raised salmoncontain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, according to thestudies publishedby the United States Department of Agriculture. However, if you’re worried about potential additives (including pigments), you can buy wild, organic salmon. According to Nazarian, as long as you’re adding that salmon to your diet, you will still get the benefits from the omega-3 fatty acids.
In terms of whether you should eat it raw or cooked, both ways are beneficial. Additionally, a USDA study noted that baking hasn’t been proven to cause any loss of omega-3s, though you probably don’t want to overcook it.
If salmon isn’t your thing,The American Heart Associationnotes that mackerel, herring, sardines and albacore tuna are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t like fish at all, there are supplements available that both Nazarian and Isaac agreed are equally as beneficial.
Now that you know just how great salmon can be for your skin (and overall health), you can try out some of our favorite salmon recipes below.
Sake And Ginger Soba Noodle Salmon Stir Fry
Garlic Butter Salmon With Caramelized Shallot Relish
Warm Salmon Nicoise Salad
Cuban Salmon Tacos With Citrus Mango Slaw
Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon
Tea Smoked Salmon With Five Spice
Chile Lime Salmon Fajita Salad With Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Broiled Salmon And Roasted Garlic Cream Noodles
Citrus-Avocado Salmon Salad
Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon With Sweet Cranberry Chutney
Pan-Crisped Salmon With Light Dijon Cream And Garlic Butter Breadcrumbs
Huckleberry Salmon Recipe
Sweet Thai Chili Salmon Quesadillas
Ginger Garlic Salmon With Cabbage Salad
Caribbean Jerk Salmon Tostadas
Grilled Salmon Filet With Cucumber Dill Sauce
Salmon And Wasabi Nigiri
Greek Salmon Souvlaki Gyros With Tzatziki
BBQ Salmon Burgers
Seared Salmon With Mushrooms And Asparagus Over Coconut Noodles
BBQ Spiced Salmon
Blackened Salmon With Cheesy Polenta
Easy Grilled Maple Dijon Salmon With Bacon
Curried Salmon Burgers
Pan-Seared Salmon With A Pistachio Mint Cream Sauce
Asian Grilled Salmon Pineapple And Rice Lettuce Wraps
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.