We all want clear, younger-looking skin. However, the truth is what we eat has more of an impact on our complexion than what we put on it. Besides a minimum of 7 hrs of sleep and at least 8 glasses of pure water daily, why not get a skin-loving dose of important nutrients through these superfoods:
Technically a fruit, this powerhouse of healthy fat and antioxidants does wonders for your skin when eaten regularly. They contain a type of omega-9 fatty acid, oleic acid, which combats dryness and irritation from the inside out. Topically, avocados can be mashed up and applied directly to dehydrated or sun- exposed skin. Mix in some yogurt and honey and you have yourself a skin-clearing concoction that won’t disappoint.
Perhaps one the best known detox vegetables (alongside beets and leafy greens) since it boosts your liver’s detoxification pathway naturally. This is the process by which your body clears excess hormones, toxins, pollutants, and all the other ‘not- so-great- for-us’ things we consume daily. If you find your skin is prone to breakouts and congested you may be in need of some gentle liver cleansing – start with food and more importantly, start with broccoli! Raw or lightly cooked (baked is my favourite), try to include some in your next stirfry, Buddha bowl or summer salad.
While all berries are super-healthy, high in fiber and packed with health benefits, blueberries steal the show when it comes to skincare. These little balls of vitamin c and flavonoids can protect against skin cell damage and keep your blood vessels healthy & strong. This means less red, blotchy skin and a glowing, even complexion! Oh, and need I mention they taste great? Aim for ½ cup daily for maximum benefit.
Nuts and seeds are all-stars when it comes to carrying a lot of nutrients in a small package. Pumpkin seeds in particular are lower in fat but contain high amounts of zinc (for collagen formation) and fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K (for skin turnover and a clear complexion). Many people shy away from nuts and seeds in general due to a higher fat content, which is simply not true! When you keep portions under control and choose raw, unsalted varieties, pumpkin seeds simply cannot be left out of your skin-perfecting diet. How much in a single serving? ¼ cup is all you need!
Coconut oil is everywhere these days. And for good reason. Extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil naturally contains high amounts of medium chain saturated fats. Don’t be afraid of the word ‘saturated’, these fats get absorbed in the gut shortly after eating and get used for energy instead of clogging up our arteries. If you aren’t already including a tablespoon of this regularly, what are you waiting for? When it comes to skin health, coconut oil hydrates from within, and when applied topically absorbs deeper into the skin than your typical mineral oil. The result? Non-greasy, deeply moisturizing (and affordable) hydrator for your heels, elbows, even your delicate under-eye area. Always do a spot test first to see if your skin reacts to coconut oil (a small percentage of people do).
We probably all know the benefits of adding fatty fish like salmon to our diets on a regular basis. Besides having beneficial effects on our heart and brain health, your skin gets a boost too thanks to the high omega-3 fatty acid content. Specifically, omega-3s are strong anti-inflammatories that can help to protect against damage over time (think redness, wrinkles and dehydration). Unfortunately many sources of salmon are contaminated with heavy metals from the water they live in. Limit servings to twice per week from wild-caught sources whenever possible.
Hot, iced, flavoured or plain, green tea is a powerhouse of antioxidants, especially one called EGCG. This reduces inflammation (i.e. redness, swelling) throughout the body which is a bonus for your energy, weight and digestion too! Aim for 3 cups per day for maximum effect and select organic, whole leaf varieties for more EGCG content if you can!