Best Foods For Stretch Marks: What To Eat To Prevent Them

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Schwarzburg, MD
Written by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

Alongside an array of other factors, your skin is affected by what you consume. As a result, eating a healthy diet should be an important element of your stretch mark prevention strategy. If you are looking for the best foods for stretch marks, look no further.

There are no studies that link diet with stretch marks. But, you can’t deny that the nutrients your skin receives to stay healthy are influenced by your eating choices. A healthy diet can help preserve skin suppleness and prevent stretch marks by boosting elastin and collagen. In this article, we have talked about how vitamins and other nutrients can help prevent stretch marks and which ones to choose. Keep reading!

Does Eating Healthy Prevent Stretch Marks?

There is a possibility that it may help.

Stretch mark prevention should involve a holistic approach. This includes proper treatment, using the right products and medication, following the doctor’s instructions, and, of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet.

There are no studies to prove that having certain foods or including certain vitamins and nutrients in your diet will prevent stretch marks.

However, a proper diet can improve your skin health, maintain hydration levels of your skin, reduce dryness, and improve your quality of life (1), (2), (3).

It can also boost the collagen and elastin levels in your body. Both these fibers are crucial for maintaining the structure of your skin and its elasticity. Adequate levels of these fibers can help your skin stretch easily. Collagen levels decrease as we age, which is why it is even more important to stick to a nutrient-dense diet, especially as we get older.

Preventing stretch marks may not be possible unless you help your skin by providing it with the right nutrients. In the following section, we have listed the foods and nutrients that you need to help prevent stretch marks.

If you are pregnant, we strictly recommend not to change your diet without consulting the doctor. Follow the diet chart provided by the doctors and consult them if you want to make any additions or changes to it.

8 Foods That May Help Prevent Stretch Marks

Note: These foods mainly focus on supporting the skin in various ways to prevent stretch marks.

1. Foods Containing Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 fatty acids (such as linoleic acid, gamma-linoleic, arachidonic acid, etc.) can help your skin by reducing inflammation and improving skin hydration (4). This is critical for both wound healing and preventing stretch marks.

If you want to include omega-6 fatty acids in your diet, consume foods like:

  • Eggs
  • Cereals
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Poultry
  • Walnuts and almonds
  • Tofu
  • Avocado and safflower oils
  • Peanut butter

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D contains some active metabolites that are crucial for maintaining the natural barrier of the skin. It also prevents photodamage caused by UV rays. Moreover, it has wound healing and tissue repairing effects (5). All these factors may help in preventing stretch marks.

Food containing vitamin D include:

  • Egg yolk
  • Cod liver oil
  • Cheese
  • Fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Beef liver
  • Yogurt
  • Orange juice
  • Milk

3. Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

These are rich sources of all essential vitamins, nutrients, and dietary fibers. They help keep your body and skin healthy by providing them with all the crucial nutrients.

Healthy skin is much more resilient and can prevent the development of intense stretch marks. Consume lots of fruits and veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, oranges, berries, avocado, etc.

4. Collagen-boosting Foods

Collagen is one of the major constituents of your skin. This protein is present everywhere in your body – connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and skin.

Collagen is the protein that gives structure and suppleness to your skin. Along with elastin, collagen helps your skin stretch. You can boost the collagen levels in your body with these foods:

  • Bone broth
  • Chicken
  • Shellfish and fish
  • Citrus fruits
  • Leafy greens
  • Cashews
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers

5. Food Rich In Vitamins A, C, And E

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is crucial for reducing excessive production of keratinocytes (in the case of psoriasis). Along with other antioxidants, vitamin C is said to improve skin hydration and reduce dryness (6).

Vitamin E enhances the antioxidant protection of the skin, prevents oxidative stress, and promotes wound healing (7). Vitamin A helps to maintain the integrity of your skin (8).

Consume the following foods to include these vitamins in your diet:

  • Cod liver
  • Eggs
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable oils
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits

6. Drink Plenty Of Water

It is important to keep your body replenished and hydrated. Otherwise, it may cause skin dryness and dehydration. Dryness makes it easier for your skin to crack. Apart from drinking water, you may also consume water-rich fruits and veggies that can keep you hydrated, such as:

  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Spinach

You may squeeze some lemon in water and drink it. Or you may drink tisane teas or green tea to increase your water consumption.

7. Zinc-rich Foods

Zinc naturally occurs in your skin layers. The deficiency of zinc can affect skin health and the wound healing process. Zinc deficiency can also aggravate skin inflammation (9). Hence, consuming foods rich in zinc is crucial for maintaining overall skin health. Include these foods in your diet:

  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Whole grains
  • Meat

8. Protein-rich Foods

Lack of protein in your body can affect your skin in many ways.

A study involving 98 patients found that about 68.4% of them who took less than half of the recommended daily allowance of protein had skin issues, such as pigmentation, acne, melasma, and premature ageing. It also affected the collagen content of the skin. The collagen was found to be fragmented and loose in their skin (10).

Protein-rich foods include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Tofu and soy protein
  • Legumes and beans
  • Nuts

All these essential nutrients may not directly affect the appearance of stretch marks, but they will keep your skin healthy. Healthy skin is important to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and prevent them.

Moreover, maintaining a healthy diet will also help you maintain a healthy weight, and your skin may not stretch as much. This is applicable for both pregnant women and those who tend to gain weight.

In addition to following the treatment and having a balanced diet, here are a few things you can do to protect your skin and prevent stretch marks.

Other Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks

  • Exercise Regularly: This will help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercising under the supervision of an instructor will also help you lose weight/gain muscles gradually, without pressurizing your skin.
  • Avoid Sun Damage: UV rays may damage the collagen and pigment the stretch marks and worsen them (if they are new ones). Apply sunscreen and avoid tanning beds.
  • Keep The Area Moisturized: This helps improve the hydration levels of the skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Nutrition is the key to maintaining skin health, keeping it glowing and elastic. And remember that nutritional deficiencies may also contribute to stretch marks. Therefore, make sure you consume healthy foods to promote your skin health and improve its resilience to prevent stretch marks. This list of best foods for stretch marks will help you determine which food items you must include in your daily diet. While it is always not possible to avoid stretch marks, taking care of your skin can definitely make them less severe.

Key Takeaways

  • A healthy diet helps improve elastin and collagen levels in the body, improving skin elasticity and enabling it to stretch easily.
  • Foods rich in protein, zinc, vitamin A, C, D, E, and omega-6 fatty acids can work wonders for your stretched skin.
  • Exercising regularly and avoiding excess sun exposure can also help avoid stretch marks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can drinking water prevent stretch marks?

Nothing can stop the development of stretch marks. However, drinking water will keep your skin hydrated and reduce the intensity of the stretch marks. They may fade with treatment and time.

Will stretch marks go away with exercise?

No. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent unnecessary stretching of the skin.


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Dr. Schwarzburg

( MD)
Dr. Schwarzburg is a leading authority in the field of minimally invasive cosmetic and laser medicine in New York City.... more