Our outer beauty will shine only if we replenish, restore, and augment our inner beauty. Say whaaa, what does that mean Kirsten? That means taking good care of what’s happening on the inside of our bodies, because in turn the inside will take care of the outside.
Our skin (the largest organ of our body) is a vivid, living reflection of how we’re treating ourselves. In this chapter, you’re going to learn how to nourish your body from the inside out so that your skin, hair, and overall aura reflect good, clean health.
On that note, check out my favorite foods that deliver amazing skin specific nutrients below!!
1. Salmon and Mackerel
Fatty fish are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to keep skin thick, supple and moisturized. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats can cause dry skin.
The omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun's harmful UV rays.
Some studies show that fish oil supplements may fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions affecting your skin, such as psoriasis and lupus.
Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation. This type of seafood is also a source of high-quality protein, which is needed for maintaining the strength and integrity of your skin.
Lastly, fish provides zinc — a mineral vital for regulating inflammation, the production of new skin cells and overall skin health. Zinc deficiency can lead to skin inflammation, lesions and delayed wound healing.
Fatty types of fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation and keep skin moisturized. They’re also a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin E and zinc.
2. Healthy Fats (like Avocado)
Avocados are high in healthy fats. Getting enough of these fats is essential to keep skin flexible and moisturized.
Preliminary evidence also shows that avocados contain compounds that may protect your skin from sun damage. UV damage to your skin can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. Interestingly, vitamin E seems to be more effective when combined with vitamin C.
Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin. Your skin needs it to create collagen, which is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy.
A deficiency in vitamin C is rare these days, but common symptoms include dry, rough and scaly skin that tends to bruise easily. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage — caused by the sun and the environment — which can lead to signs of aging.
A 100-gram serving, or about 1/2 an avocado, provides 10% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin E and 17% of the RDI for vitamin C.
3. Walnuts and sunflower seeds
Walnuts and sunflower seeds have many characteristics that make them an excellent food for healthy skin. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that your body cannot make itself.
In fact, they’re richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
A diet too high in omega-6 fats may promote inflammation, including inflammatory conditions of your skin like psoriasis. On the other hand, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in your body — including in your skin. Because walnuts and sunflower seeds contain a good ratio of these fatty acids, they may fight the inflammatory response to excessive omega-6.
Walnuts also provide small amounts of the antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium, in addition to 4–5 grams of protein per ounce. In general, nuts and seeds are good sources of skin-boosting nutrients.
4. Sweet potatoes, oranges, carrots, spinach, red and yellow peppers.
Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in plants. It functions as provitamin A, which means it can be converted into vitamin A in your body.Beta-carotene is found in oranges and vegetables such as carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes, peppers, etc.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source — one 1/2-cup serving (100 grams) of baked sweet potato contains enough beta-carotene to provide nearly four times the RDI of vitamin A.
Carotenoids like beta-carotene keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. When consumed, this antioxidant is incorporated into your skin and protects your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, cell death and dry, wrinkled skin.
Brightly colored veggies (specifically the ones I listed above) are an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, which acts as a natural sunblock and may protect your skin from sun damage. These vitamins are necessary to create collagen, the structural protein that keeps your skin strong.
7. Broccoli and tomatoes
Broccoli and tomatoes are full of many vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C.
They also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. Lutein protects your skin from oxidative damage, which can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled.
But broccoli florets and tomatoes also pack a special compound called sulforaphane, which holds a powerful protective agent against sun damage (ex skin cancer). It works in two ways: by neutralizing harmful free radicals and switching on other protective systems in your body.
Consider pairing carotenoid-rich foods like tomatoes with a source of fat, such as cheese or olive oil. Fat increases your absorption of carotenoids.
8. Dark Chocolate
The effects of cocoa on your skin are pretty phenomenal and it’s a great excuse to eat more chocolate woo woo!!
After 6–12 weeks of consuming a cocoa powder high in antioxidants each day, participants in one study experience thicker, more hydrated skin. Their skin was also less rough and scaly, less sensitive to sunburn and had better blood flow.
Another study found that eating 20 grams of high-antioxidant dark chocolate per day could allow your skin to withstand over twice as much UV radiation before burning versus eating low-antioxidant chocolate.
Make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa in order to maximize the benefits and keep added sugar to a minimum - my favorite brands are Hu chocolate (can get at whole foods), Lily's chocolate, Taza, Endangered Species, Raaka, etc. Let me know if you need more brands!
9. Green Tea
Green tea may protect your skin from damage and aging. The powerful compounds found in green tea are called catechins and work to improve the health of your skin from damage, redness and aging.
While green tea is a great choice for healthy skin, you may want to avoid drinking your tea with milk. There's evidence that milk could reduce the impact of green tea’s antioxidants.