THE 19 BEST FOODS FOR SKIN
Keeping your skin hydrated and elastic is a lot easier than you may realize. Just drinking eight glasses of water a day will do wonders for your skin.
But for the combined benefits of water and electrolytes (electrolyte-rich fluids are amazing!) you can simply replace 1 to 2 glasses of plain water with coconut water, which also adds a little sweetness to your hydration without the guilt.
Exposure to sun and environmental toxins can wreak havoc on our skin. That’s why powering up on antioxidants is a simple and tasty way to boost your protection against harmful elements.
Aiming for eight or more daily servings of great skin foods that are antioxidant rich — is a snap, and delicious too! Sip on green tea for a midday pick-me-up or use it as the liquid in your morning smoothie. Green tea contains EGCG, a polyphenol with potent antioxidant effects.
Tapping into the glow-enhancing effects of collagen can be like a fountain of youth for tired, aging skin. Eating more of the right kinds of protein can help heal the skin, while delivering the essential amino acids to help boost our outward glow.
What’s green, full of good fats, and great for your skin and heart? Try making “an avocado a day” your mantra and add the yummy fatty fruit to your daily diet for results you can see and feel from the inside out.
Avocados are rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, loaded with healthy fats (monounsaturated), and are good for your body and skin. Add a hit of antioxidant protection with a lunchtime salad of leafy greens with avocado.
For an extra avocado double whammy, try a hydrating face mask with mashed up avocado, honey and lemon, and feel your skin soak in the smooth, silky oils that are good enough to eat.
Did you know that noshing on sauerkraut and kimchi can give your skin added reasons to glow from the inside out? Research has shown fermented foods are full of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) that can give digestion a healthy boost and kick your gut microbiome into high gear.
Adding natural probiotics to your diet can be way easier than you think: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and even apple cider vinegar harness the probiotic power of fermented foods. Instead of making drastic overhauls to your diet, try swapping kombucha for soda, or try yogurt with live cultures, and see the transformation to your skin over time!
If you’re avoiding dairy, coconut yogurt can also double as a tasty fermented food that is gentle on your tummy. And adding a microbiome supplement can also be a simple way to get some probiotic power into your daily diet.
Eating fish provides us with inflammation-busting Omega 3’s, but being the big fish isn’t always a good thing. We need to take care to avoid larger fish that may contain toxins.
Why? Since large, carnivorous fish like tuna, swordfish, shark and halibut are at the top of the food chain, they are more likely to have higher levels of toxins like mercury and PCBs.
Opt for the smaller fish in the sea, such as wild caught salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies that boast healthy fats that can lead to radiant skin. Omega-3 fatty acids in these fish can combat inflammation and fight cancer.
Not a fan of fish? You can get many of the same benefits in a supplement.
Not only is tea a great way to relax and destress, a steaming cup of goodness may be just the solution for luminous skin, too. Herbal teas like dandelion and milk thistle are excellent detoxifiers that can support healthy kidney and liver function.
These teas enhance strong immune systems while helping bring the glow back to your skin with powerful antioxidant properties. Want to soothe your skin from the inside out? Ginger tea is a wonderful tummy soother that can aid in digestion and decrease inflammation of the skin while increasing natural radiance.
Chamomile is another herbal tea that can work wonders on your skin on the outside while calming and detoxifying on the inside. An added bonus: after you steep your tea, soothe puffy eyes with cooled chamomile bags. The anti-inflammatory qualities in chamomile tea bags also take the sting out of insect bites, eczema and dermatitis.
HERBS & SPICES
Herbs and spices inject flavor into your favorite recipes but did you know that many spices have anti-inflammatory properties that can play an important role in your skin care regime?
Certain herbs and spices can keep glowing skin vibrant and elastic by fighting wrinkles, soothing redness and boosting collagen. Cinnamon adds a warm, spicy quality to baked goods and hot drinks, and also packs a punch to combat skin damage with more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries. Balanced blood sugar is another great benefit of cinnamon.
Ancient spice turmeric has been used for centuries in Eastern cultures, and its power as an antioxidant is proven through scientific research. Add turmeric to steamed or stir fried veggies, beans, and on your favorite soups to improve your skin’s overall health from the inside out.
Other herbs and spices that improve skin’s natural glow include oregano, cloves, ginger and garlic. To keep spices at their top power, toss out any that are more than two years old and always store in cool, dark cupboards — heat from the stove and sunlight will destroy their potency.
Achieving beautiful, hydrated, dewy skin can be as simple as eating the rainbow. A balanced, rich diet full of a wide array of colorful, fresh fruits and veggies ensures you get enough minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants to ward off free radical damage and fight other signs of aging.
I recommend to my patients that they aim to eat six or more servings of colorful vegetables and 2 or more servings of fruit. But eating the rainbow doesn’t have to be a chore.
Even frozen vegetables and fruits are found to be great for you — so go ahead and throw some extra veggies in your soups and frozen berries in your morning smoothies. And make a game of it with your family to see how many colors of the rainbow you can eat each day!
PROTEIN & AMINO ACIDS
Packing a protein punch is a great way to boost your body’s all-important building blocks needed for smooth, supple skin. Nine essential amino acids found in different types of protein are the hidden secret for collagen production which can enhance the youthful, vibrant glow of your skin.
Collagen accounts for 30 percent of the body’s total protein. But beefing up your protein intake doesn’t have to be complicated. Set up a meal plan and spread out the protein between animal, plant and legume sources to keep your appetite invigorated. Grass-fed beef, organic poultry, even wild fish and all kinds of nuts are some of the best foods for glowing skin because they deliver ample amounts of amino acids that boost collagen production.
Rocking the vegan lifestyle? Pea protein is my favorite for an amazing balance of amino acids. It’s also low allergenic – unlike soy, whey and egg protein. And it’s easy to add to soups and breakfast smoothies.
VITAMIN A RICH FOODS
Loading up on Vitamin A rich skin foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens helps prevent premature wrinkles and bumpy skin, and can protect you from the harmful exposure of UV rays.
Bold colored orange and green veggies are packed with Vitamin A power, but this skin nourishing A-lister is also found in egg yolks and liver. Not only does it enhance your outer radiance and skin suppleness, Vitamin A has also received attention in it’s active form — retinoids — which can heal troubling skin conditions including acne, psoriasis, eczema and cold sores.
VITAMIN C RICH FOODS
Vitamin C is about much more than drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning. It’s surprisingly simple to get this vital building block into your daily diet — and it’s essential for collagen synthesis that can help you turn back the clock and replace wrinkles with pure radiance.
Supple skin with a youthful glow gets a welcome boost with a diet rich in Vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid that may help block and reverse UV-induced photodamage. Beyond citrus fruits, Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, strawberries. A cup of red bell peppers contains three times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange!
For extra vitamin C and a yummy fizzy drink (without the sugar), try my Vitamin C Fizz.
Goldilocks and those bears had the right idea when they gobbled down steaming bowls of oatmeal. Oatmeal is a nutritious whole grain that packs some serious punch when it comes to being a great skin food that ensures a smooth, radiant complexion.
Starting your day with oatmeal means you’ll reap the benefits of its glycation balancing perks. Your energy levels will be nicely balanced and you’ll even find yourself powering through the mid-morning bonk that often accompanies an energy crash after the sugar high you can get from other breakfast foods.
Talk about a powerhouse veggie that can boost your skin’s healthy, luminous sheen! Just one cup of kale has twice the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, both of which are essential for blasting the oxidative, damaging effects of sun and building glow-boosting collagen.
Studies also show kale is packed with free-radical blockers, lutein and zeaxanthin, which actually neutralize and soak up wavelengths of UV light that sunscreens can’t prevent. Introducing kale into your diet is really easy: add handfuls to your morning smoothie, mix it into greens at lunchtime, or steam on top of fish or chicken.
Kale chips are a healthy replacement for fried potato chips – try baking them at 300 degrees with avocado or coconut oil and a sprinkling of sea salt for a tasty snack that nourishes your skin from the inside out.
Not only do oysters have a sizzling reputation for heating up the bedroom, these little shellfish pack quite the punch as one of the best natural sources of dietary zinc.
Research suggests the mineral may help in the growth and functioning of skin cells, so eating just six of these suckers (at less than 60 calories) means you’re introducing 500 percent of your daily need to boost your blush and help restore that dewy glow to your skin. Talk about turning up the heat without any makeup!
Not an oyster fan? You can still reap the rewards of zinc by taking a supplement.
Chocolate isn’t just for Valentine’s Day — dark chocolate can actually give your skin some good, good lovin’.
What’s the secret? Cacao beans from which chocolate is derived, are rich in antioxidants called flavanols, which may plump and hydrate skin, protect it from UV damage, and boost circulation for a healthy glow.
But not all chocolate is created equal. To reap the natural health benefits, steer clear of milk chocolate, which contains loads of sugar and dairy, and stick with 1-ounce portions (150 calories) of chocolate containing cacao in portions 70 percent or higher to maximize its health benefits. Who needs another excuse to pass the chocolate?
SEEDS & NUTS
Squirrels are onto something — nuts are one of the best skin foods around. Not only are the tiny packages chock full of protein, they contain essential minerals and vitamins that can be vital for keeping skin clear, smooth, and youthful.
Seeds and nuts also boast hydrating natural oils that can restore the hydration to skin and blast away wrinkles. Here are a few of my favorites: Macadamia nuts may boost collagen production and fight off free radical damage that can contribute to fine lines with phytochemicals. The Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts may help reduce redness and inflammation. Almonds are packed full of selenium, manganese and Vitamin E, which can protect your skin against UV damage from the sun.
And for a sneaky and yummy way to get a dosThe bonus with these nuts is that their oils are also available at most health food stores and can be used as carriers for essential oils or to massage directly onto your skin for added hydration.
It turns out berries of all kinds are the hidden secret to arming your skin with potent antioxidant power. Anthocyanin, the pigment responsible for the vivid jewel tones of blue, red and purple found in blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries, actually works to protect the skin from damage from free radicals in our surrounding environment.
Just half a cup of berries a day can help prevent premature aging and wrinkles.
Adding berries to your daily diet is easy as (blueberry) pie! Throw a handful in your breakfast smoothie, add to muffins and other baked goods, or toss on top of your salad with some lean protein or fish for a complete meal your skin will love.
One of the easiest ways to get glowing, dewy skin is by starting your day with a breakfast smoothie packed full of nutrients and hydration. It’s the ideal meal on the go to kickstart your day.
Imagine this: your body has been fasting overnight while you slept and is in need of nourishment fast to replenish and rejuvenate. That’s where the breakfast smoothie comes in. Keep it simple with berries and a non-sugary liquid like coconut water.
Try a green machine with veggies such as kale, celery, cucumber and detoxifying fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and mint. I love adding pea protein powder or a supplement for an added amino acid kick that helps skin repair and restore itself for a youthful glow.