7 Foods For Beautiful Skin
Several foods found in nature contain a plethora of nutrients that support and improve skin health, regardless of genetic predispositions.
By Brandi Black, RHN
Achieving clear, glowing skin is easier than you think, as long as you have the right nutrients in your diet. Our society puts an emphasis on using anti aging skin products and other topical treatments, but there’s simply no over-the-counter remedy that’s as powerful as eating nutrient dense foods for beautiful skin.
As the largest organ of detoxification and elimination, your skin is a reflection of the health of your internal organs, especially your liver and digestive system. A bright, clear complexion is a sign that your body is eliminating toxins efficiently, and you’re eating a diet rich in essential nutrients, such as antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
Now, it’s true that certain uncontrollable factors can influence our skin’s health, such as genetics. For example, our genetics may leave us predisposed to premature aging, acne, or other hormonal imbalances that affect our skin’s appearance and texture.
While we can’t change our biochemical make-up, the good news is: we do have control over our diets. Several foods found in nature contain a plethora of nutrients that support and improve skin health, regardless of genetic predispositions.
Why a (Predominantly) Plant Based Diet is So Good For Your Skin
In addition to antioxidant vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, plant foods are rich in fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient for beautiful skin because it supports natural body detox, healthy digestion, hormonal balance and liver function— and here’s how.
Improved Digestive Health and Body Detoxification
Not only does fiber help “feed” the healthy bacteria in your digestive system, but it also supports body detoxification by acting as a “broom” to remove accumulated waste. This waste contains toxins that encourage the growth of unhealthy bacteria in your colon.
Studies show an overgrowth of this bad bacteria (also known as a condition called bacterial dysbiosis) can damage the skin by causing oxidative stress and inflammation, which are two primary causes of fine lines, wrinkles and acne.
The fiber found in plants also promote hormonal balance, and regulates hormones that can trigger acne breakouts, such as insulin.
Insulin is the blood sugar regulating hormone that’s been shown to cause excess sebum (oil) production when it’s being overproduced, which is caused by eating a diet high in refined sugar and processed foods. As you may already know, when excess oil on the skin combines with bacteria, it forms blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.
Improved Liver Function
Lastly, fiber supports healthy liver function. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), premature aging, rashes, acne, and dark circles under your eyes may be signs of a sluggish, overburdened liver and a toxic body.
Since the liver’s primary function is to detoxify the body naturally and remove harmful substances from your blood, supporting your liver with essential nutrients, such as fiber, is not only essential for healthier looking skin— but for the health of your entire body.
Whole, unprocessed foods are rich in fiber, such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, and raw fruit and veggies. One of the easiest ways to add more fiber to your diet is by having a green smoothie each day. Blending fruit and veggies into a smoothie allows you to easily get 6-8 servings in one sitting, which will provide you with roughly 10-14 grams of fiber.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
As a general guideline, the amount of fiber you need each day is 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories in your diet. Therefore, a person who requires 2,000 calories each day would need approximately 28 grams of fiber for optimal health.
As you can see, plant foods you eat promote beautiful skin. In addition to fiber, other nutrients found in superfoods can make a big difference in your skin health. Let’s take a look at what those nutrients are, with these 7 foods for beautiful skin.
1. Coconut Water
Coconut water is more of a “superdrink” than a superfood, but it deserves a mention because it contains antioxidants and keeps your skin hydrated with electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium. When your skin is hydrated, it looks younger, smoother and more supple. Coconut water is rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, which may help synthesize collagen and supports the liver’s natural detoxification process.
Coconut water makes a refreshing drink on its own, or you can add a squeeze of lime for extra flavor. Coconut water is low in sugar, which makes it a great addition to green smoothies. As a rich source of electrolytes, it’s also the perfect post workout “sports drink.”
2. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (also known as healthy fats), which are needed to build healthy skin cells and moisturize your skin from the inside out. In fact, skin conditions such as, psoriasis, eczema and atopic dermatitis have been linked to omega-3 deficiency.
Wild salmon and other fatty fish are the richest sources of omega-3’s, but if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can get omega-3’s from hemp hearts, chia seeds, walnuts, algae and flaxseed.
Note: it’s always recommended to choose wild salmon whenever possible, as farmed salmon may contain high levels of antibiotics, pesticides and other toxic chemicals such as PCBs.
3. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard and arugula contain plenty of phytonutrients, which act as antioxidants to prevent premature aging.
Dark leafy greens also contain a nutrient called chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives plant based foods their green color. Chlorophyll is known as a powerful cleansing nutrient, as it supports liver health by removing toxins and impurities from your blood.
Blending dark leafy greens into your smoothies is one of the easiest ways to increase the antioxidants in your diet, but you can also add greens to your favorite smoothies, juices, soups and healthy dessert recipes.
If you’re in the search of healthy recipe inspiration, my go-to raw food recipe book is Chlorella in the Kitchen. With recipes such as Chlorella Lime Pie, Lettuce Tacos and Rad Thai, adding more greens to your diet can become seriously delicious.
Speaking of the amazing green superfood, chlorella, this single-celled green algae is another superfood that promotes beautiful skin from the inside out.
Not only does chlorella contain high levels of chlorophyll, but it’s also rich in a unique nutrient called Chlorella Growth Factor, or CGF. CGF is entirely unique to chlorella and cannot be found in any other food.
Chlorella Growth Factor is beneficial for the skin because it contains nucleic acids RNA and DNA, which are needed to give “instructions” to your cells and tell them which functions to carry out— which includes wound healing, building healthy skin cells and producing collagen.
Our bodies naturally produce nucleic acids, but as we get older we produce less (which is when fine lines and wrinkles set in). This is why receiving nucleic acids from dietary sources, such as chlorella, is so beneficial for our skin.
How to Add Chlorella to Your Diet:
5. Raw Cacao
Chocolate lovers, rejoice: raw cacao is the type of chocolate you want to be eating for your skin.
Raw cacao contains antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which help protect the skin against UV damage and premature aging. One class of polyphenols found in raw cacao, called flavonoids, can also help reduce the redness and inflammation associated with acne.
Raw cacao has a slightly bitter taste, but blends well in smoothies and raw food recipes, such as this Chocolate Chlorella Avocado Pudding Recipe. You can also make healthy chocolate at home using raw cacao and natural sweeteners, such as coconut sugar.
Avocados are rich in fiber, healthy fats and antioxidant vitamins and minerals that help support overall skin health. Studies have shown that avocado oil may help increase collagen production.
With their mild flavor and smooth, creamy texture, avocados can be used to enhance the nutritional content of any healthy recipe, including soups, smoothies and dessert recipes.
You can use avocado oil in your salad dressing recipes, and with a high smoke point, avocado oil is safe to cook with on medium-high temperatures. Don’t forget to use avocado oil in your favorite DIY natural skincare recipes, such as moisturizers and face cleansers.
7. Matcha (Green Tea)
Matcha (green tea) is a skin-supportive superfood because it contains high levels of an antioxidant called epigallocatechin, or EGCG. In fact, one cup of matcha (green tea) is said to contain nearly 10 times the amount of antioxidants in one cup of regular green tea.
Studies show that EGCG may help prevent premature aging by reducing oxidative stress, as well as reducing the inflammation relating to chronic skin diseases, including photoaging and melanoma.
You can find pure matcha powder at any local health food store— just be sure to choose a variety that doesn’t contain added sweeteners or refined sugar. Replacing your morning coffee with matcha is a great way to improve the appearance of your skin. Matcha tastes great on its own, blended with smoothies, or sweetened with a touch of almond milk.
In addition to eating superfoods for your skin, it’s also important to avoid foods that can damage your cells and overburden your liver. Refined sugar, fried foods and non-organic meat and dairy products are the most common foods in the Western diet that promote toxicity in the body, which may contribute to worsening your skin.
7 Foods For Beautiful Skin
|Coconut water||Antioxidants and electrolytes|
|Wild salmon||Rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids|
|Leafy greens||Contain plenty of phytonutrients|
|Raw cacao||Contains antioxidant compounds called polyphenols|
|Chlorella||High levels of chlorophyll and chlorella growth factor|
|Avocado||Rich in fiber, healthy fats and antioxidant vitamins and minerals|
|Matcha||Contains high levels of an antioxidant called epigallocatechin, or EGCG|
It’s always important to check in with a licensed healthcare practitioner before adding a nutritional supplement to your diet.
About Brandi Black, RHN
Brandi Black is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare time you'll find Brandi writing in her blog and hanging out with her teacup chihuahua, Coconut.
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