the Best Beauty Foods
I flew to LA in May for one of my closest friend's bachelorette party. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be seated next to one of the girls also attending that was on the same flight. However, I did get to meet two excellent seatmates and we got to talking about fitness, health and that led to the topic of beautiful, healthy skin.
One of the women asked me how I had achieved such clear, even skin. I replied that eating well, drinking water, getting enough sleep, and being mostly stress-free was what made the difference. She was surprised to hear that what she ate affected how her skin looked. A healthy digestive system is the foundation of great health and beautiful skin. Your skin is a reflection of your body's inner health. As I've heard a nutritionist put it so succinctly, "garbage in, garbage out".
While I do try to watch what I eat most of the time, I still enjoy alcohol, coffee, fried foods and other rich foods occasionally which isn't so great for my eczema. However, I've noticed a huge improvement by applying liberal amounts of coconut oil topically and ingesting omega 3 fatty acids. Food intolerances, sensitivities, and allergies are often linked to the quality of your skin's appearance.
Eat mostly whole foods. Avoid processed foods that can contain artificial colors, flavours, sweeteners, preservatives and additives. All of those ingredients can trigger food intolerances, sensitivities or allergic reactions. Even pesticides can cause an allergic reaction in rare instances so buy organic as much as possible.
We'll cover the best beauty foods from A to W. Starting with almonds, which are a good source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, and iron which are crucial to skin oxygenation and function. Eat them raw or add almond milk to your smoothies.
Apple cider vinegar helps stimulate digestion and may enhance extraction of minerals and vitamins from your diet. And may also be a practical natural remedy for dandruff, because the acids in the vinegar block the fungus-causing chemical imbalances in the skin of the scalp.
Regular consumption of artichokes is linked to healthier skin, particularly improved skin luminosity.
I loveeeee avocados. I'll eat whole ones by themselves so thankfully, avocados are amazing at helping to keep me pretty. Avocados are a good source of biotin and monounsaturated fats, help to prevent dry skin, brittle hair and nails.
Beans are an excellent vegetarian source of protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which help accelerate the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen.
Beetroot contains nitrates, which produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood, which widens blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and is critical for blood flow to the skin.
Blueberries are one of the most abundant sources of antioxidants which counteract premature aging.
Brazil nuts contains the antioxidant, selenium which aids in boosting the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in the body, protect against cellular damage, as well as regenerate vitamins E and C, decreasing the aging of skin.
Broccoli and cauliflower are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which help cellular repair. Vegetables in the brassica family contain indoles, substances that help the liver detoxify hormones, which can help with sex hormone balance, which is essential for clear skin.
Coconuts are fantastic for your skin and body, both inside and out. The lauric acid in coconuts has been scientifically shown to work better against the bacteria often involved with acne than benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient typically used in medicated skin washes and some prescription acne medications. Coconut possesses antibacterial properties. Like I said earlier, applying coconut oil topically is a great way to moisturize and cleanse your skin naturally.
The high water content in cucumbers makes it very hydrating and is a fabulous way to decrease swelling or puffiness around the eyes.
As eggs are a complete source of protein, they contain biotin, an important vitamin that keeps skin dewy, and is also valuable for nail and hair health. Enjoy your eggs on top of avocado toast, in shakshuka, in sandwiches, or as part of a salad. The possibilities are endless!
Figs keep your digestive tract moving, which is essential for elimination pathways and the clarity of your skin. They contain calcium, a vital mineral that allows the body to relax. Rest and repair of the body is crucial for inner health and outer beauty.
Your skin can dry out without enough fat. Fats are also necessary to help absorb vitamins A, D, E and K which help maintain healthy skin. Eating more fats also helps you feel fuller for longer because it helps slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream, requiring less insulin.
Fresh, oily fish are an outstanding source of omega-3 fatty acids, which decreases inflammation in the body and keeps skin moisturized. Wild salmon also contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity. Types of oily fresh include salmon, herring, anchovies, sardines, trout, swordfish, and mackerel. Luckily, this dovetails nicely with my penchant for sushi and Hawaiian poke.
Green tea is brimming with antioxidants that protect against cellular damage throughout the body, including the aging process of the skin. It's commonly used as an ingredient in many sweet treats and beverages but can also be used in savoury dishes such as vegetables, fish, and poultry.
Kale is often touted for it's many benefits. One of them being that it contains vitamin A, C, and E, which have potent anti-aging properties and help promote healthy new cell growth. Kale is flush with minerals, such as magnesium and calcium which are needed for healthy skin and help us relax.
Kiwifruit is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which helps keeps skin firm and slow down the formation of wrinkles, and are excellent for healthy teeth and bones. The antioxidants in kiwifruit have also been shown to help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Lemons are abundant in vitamin C, encourage digestion, and are fantastic for your hair, skin and nails. Begin your day with lemon in warm water.
Nettle tea has anti-inflammatory properties, helps calm the skin, and improve conditions like acne and eczema. Because of the high levels of antioxidants, it is extremely detoxifying.
High-quality olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that help protect the heart. Olive oil is bursting with fatty acids that help keep skin soft and supple, is used in hair treatments, skincare, and lip balms, it helps revitalize and boost shine. Quite often, the olive oil sold in stores isn't exactly what you expect it to be so make sure it's the real thing. If you like eating whole olives, that's even better because nutrient-wise, you get more bang for your buck.
Organic butter is laden with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that contribute to skin, bone and nervous system health. Like coconuts, organic butter is also a good source of lauric acid, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The flavonoids in parsley, particularly luteolin have been shown to work as antioxidants that merge with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and help inhibit oxygen-based damage to cells. Parsley is highly alkaline, contains vitamin C and iron, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is valuable for the oxygenation of every tissue in the body.
Peppermint tea is noted for it's potent healing and calming functions, and supports digestion.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C, which helps in collagen production, and escalate the skin's capacity to heal when consumed.
Spinach is abundant with many nutrients and antioxidants. It contains lutein which is great for your vision.
Sprouts are loaded with minerals, including calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, which all support healthy, clear, and glowing skin.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, a protective antioxidant that helps skin glow. Zinc which is also in sunflower seeds, keeps hair, skin, and eyes healthy, and is essential for wound healing and scar prevention.
The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes helps slow the aging process. Also, one of my favourite vegetables. Of course, they are healthier when I don't have them in fried form but that's true of any food.
Tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene and is considered a high-carotenoid fruit - both of these nutrients have been shown to slow cellular damage from free radicals.
Walnuts are brimming with omega 3 fats, which add shine to your hair and aid in making skin smooth and soft.
Watercress are full of antioxidants, as well as the minerals manganese, carotene and potassium. It has a high water content, which assists with hydration.
In the next article, we'll go into detail about the specific vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support inner health and outer beauty.