10 Foods for Healthy Glowing Skin
By Grace Mora ~ Registered Nutritionist & Dietitian
We were lucky enough to have the beautiful Grace Mora give us her insights on 10 top foods that have proven beneficial in healing problematic skin issues from the inside out.
Settle in with a nice hot cuppa because this may be a little lengthy but it is well worth the read and super easy to put into your daily routine, one ingredient at a time, Grace gives amazing pointers on how to incorporate each one. Enjoy!
Our skin is a reflection of both our inner and outer health and whilst many factors such as genetics and lifestyle influence the health of our skin, what we eat has such a profound effect as our skin is the last organ to receive nutrition in the body, yet the first to show signs of imbalance or nutrient deficiency. When we have naturally glowing skin, it's usually a good indicator that we are healthy - the same goes for when we see symptoms of unwanted skin conditions, there is often an underlying cause from within. Eating the right foods will not only promote healthy skin but can help prevent skin-related conditions.
Try adding in at least one new food from the following list each day over the period of 10 days and notice the difference not only in your skin but your overall health.
Avocados are packed with hydrating healthy fats, protein and nourishing vitamins that support healthy skin. They do wonders for locking in moisture in the outer layers of the skin, making it soft, supple and hydrated. They also have a host of skin protecting antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, great for preventing wrinkles and slowing the visible signs of aging.
Essential fatty acids are a key element to naturally healthy skin, but your body doesn't make them on its own so you need to get them from the foods you eat. If you are lacking these essential fatty acids, you may have suffered from dry, dull, inflamed, irritated or even acne prone skin to name a few.
Avocados have a rich creamy texture and are versatile in many recipes. If you struggle with the texture, try adding ¼ of a medium avocado to a smoothie for a creamy texture or get adventurous and add avocado to make a delicious raw chocolate mousse.
Blueberries and many other berries are antioxidant-superstars when it comes to supporting the skin and protecting it against oxidative damage. The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in blueberries help to neutralize free radicals, which can be damaging to skin cells. They are also rich in fibre, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C - all essential for overall health.
Blueberries are a great low-calorie, highly nutritious breakfast, snack, or dessert. Try adding a handful to smoothies, stir in porridge or top with granola at breakfast time for an extra burst of antioxidants and fibre.
Try to buy organic if you can, as berries are often sprayed with high amounts of pesticides. Buying frozen is a great way to save money and they can be just as nutritious.
Chia seeds are at the top of the list when it comes to superfoods and for good reason. The reason they are so beneficial is due to their omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and high amounts of fibre. The role of fibre in the body is so profound. It plays a key role in the regulation of your digestive system and bowels. It facilitates the removal of waste and toxins from the body and If you suffer from constipation or lack enough fibre through your diet, chia seeds are a great way to boost fibre.
Chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water. A great way to prepare chia is to soak the seeds for a minimum of 15 minutes or overnight. Try making chia pudding for breakfast by soaking 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in 1/2 cup almond milk (or other plant-based milk of choice) along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and vanilla. Allow them to absorb all of the liquid and become a gel-like consistency, top with blueberries, sliced banana, a sprinkle of granola and some flaxseed oil on top (optional).
Cultured and fermented vegetables are fantastic for gut health and offer an array of beneficial bacteria. Maintaining a healthy gut and consuming probiotic-rich foods regularly helps keep our digestive system healthy which in turn allows us to effectively absorb and assimilate the nutrients from the foods we eat. Simply put - the health of your gut determines the health of your entire body. But it doesn't stop there, it's just as important to feed the good bacteria with plenty of ‘prebiotics' which come in the form of foods that are high in fibre (particularly the non-digestible kind) found in fibre rich fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes.
Adding natural probiotics to your diet can be easier than you think and some of the foods that contain probiotics include; sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and apple cider vinegar. It can be as gradual as a spoonful of sauerkraut with a salad at lunch or a kombucha instead of soda or alcohol. You can also take a daily probiotic supplement to help replenish and maintain a healthy inner ecosystem.
Considered the ‘Beauty Oil', flaxseed is one of the best foods for healthy and glowing skin. What makes flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil) so special is that it is loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The role of these fatty acids includes supporting brain and heart health, decreasing inflammation, and supporting healthy hair, skin, and nails. Flaxseed oil is great for moisturising the skin from the inside out and contributes to hydrated, plump, supple, smooth and glowing skin.
It has a nutty, sweet flavour and can be added to smoothies, salad dressings, poured over granola or taken by the spoonful. 1-2 tablespoons daily are all you need. It's best to purchase an organic, cold-pressed flaxseed oil and it must be stored in the refrigerator to retain freshness and avoid oxidation.
A powerful anti-inflammatory food that contributes to a wide variety of health benefits. The key property of ginger is that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory food, meaning it helps reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is one of the main causes of skin conditions and ginger could benefit those with particular skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, eczema, psoriasis, or an uneven complexion.
A simple way to enjoy the benefits of ginger daily is to make a tea from freshly sliced ginger or by squeezing grated ginger into a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
Leafy green veggies are nutrient powerhouses. Packed with vitamins C, A, K, B6, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and iron as well as a range of phytochemicals, they help rid the body of possible harmful compounds and toxins making them a great food to support our bodies natural detoxification mechanisms. Spinach and kale are specifically rich in chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that will leave your skin glowing.
Include a diverse range of leafy green vegetables in both their raw and cooked form such as spinach, chard, kale, silverbeet, watercress, and rocket, to name a few. Try adding some finely chopped kale to salads, soups or stir-frys or a mixture of baby spinach and romaine lettuce to your smoothies. I find the easiest way to consume more green vegetables is to either juice them or blend them. The amount of greens that you can pack into a single glass is often more than most people eat in a week. You will notice how you feel after having a green juice or a green smoothie.
Lemons are low in sugar and full of vitamin C which is great for neutralizing free radicals and boosting collagen production, keeping your skin looking fresh. Lemons also help support the immune system, aid digestion and liver detoxification, repair skin, promote healing, , and are also known to reduce appetite and cravings making them a great addition if weight loss is a goal. Drinking warm lemon juice with water in the morning aids digestion and encourages the production of bile helping to flush out toxins and hydrate the body. One important thing to note is that when lemon juice comes directly in contact with teeth, it can ruin the enamel so make sure that you consume it diluted and rinse your mouth with pure water after drinking.
Try adding fresh lemon to water or herbal teas or squeeze half of a lemon into a glass of warm filtered water first thing in the morning.
High in vitamins C and A, along with fibre and other healthy plant compounds. Once again, Papayas are wonderful for fighting inflammation and free radicals in the body due to the powerful antioxidants. The vitamin C and lycopene in papaya protect skin and may help reduce these signs of aging. Additional health benefits of papaya include improving digestion, supporting heart health, reducing cancer risk, alleviating constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Papaya is an incredibly versatile fruit and the best way to eat them is with a squeeze of lime juice. You may also like to add to smoothies, salads, desserts, and breakfast.
Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant found in salmon that benefits the heart, brain, nervous system and skin health. In one study, 44 people with sun-damaged skin who were given a combination of 2 mg of astaxanthin and 3 grams of collagen for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in skin elasticity and hydration.
Today, a lot of the salmon we eat isn't caught in the wild but bred in fish farms. One concern with farmed salmon is just like any animal product, you want to ensure you are buying salmon that has been ethically farmed or fished. Sometimes, farmed salmon are fed antibiotics and red dyes so it is important to research the origin of your salmon and choose one not bred in polluted waters or fed anything you wouldn't want to be eating. If you choose wild salmon, best to choose one that has been sustainably caught.
How many of the above foods can you incorporate into your day?
Thank-you to Grace for this informative and helpful article - be sure to comment below and let us know your favourite foods for healthy, glowing skin.