Foods for Clear & Radiant Skin
Did a lil photoshoot this past weekend and had so much fun frolicking around a random high school :P Here’s one of my fave pics from that sesh. What I like about this photo is the fact that I feel so calm and so strong all at once. It has a lot to do with being comfortable in my body and comfortable in my skin! I had acne all throughout my high school and college years and tried EVERYTHING to clear my skin. No creams worked, even strong ones prescribed by my doctor.
However, for the past year, my skin has been so good to me…because I’ve been good to myself. I started taking care of myself from the inside out and not only did my metabolism begin to function properly again, I lost some fat, gained some muscle, and my skin started to glow!! You guys even started to comment and ask for my skin care routine! And to be honest, I don’t really have one. I wash my face at night with a makeup remover wipe and that’s kinda it! I use moisturizer in the morning and at night, but I don’t do anything complicated. I actually owe it all to the way I eat.
So, here’s some research to help you understand which foods are champions for clear skin!
“Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin,” says Dr. Jessica Wu, a dermatologist and skincare line creator. She says that not eating enough protein can prevent the skin from producing collagen and elastic tissue, both of which make skin strong and supple. I think that’s reason enough to keep that daily protein intake up, don’t you?
Here are the best foods top dermatologists and celebrity estheticians recommend for glowing and youthful skin, plus a few you should avoid. You know the “EAT IT” list will include plant-based foods, so I hope you like your greens! If not, find a green drink or green juice you can tolerate because there are over 25,000 phytonutrients found in plant foods! Phytonutrients help skin retain firmness by increasing the stability of cellular membranes. They also improve blood flow to the skin. Some of the most impressive include:
- Carotenoids: Powerful antioxidants that combat harmful free radicals that damage tissues in the body.
- Resveratrol: An antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Also touted for anti-aging.
- Flavonoids: Offer protection against certain types of cancer and heart disease.
“EAT IT LIST”
- Avocados are full of phytonutrients and healthy monounsaturated fats which help moisturize the skin from the inside out. Avocado is high in vitamin E, which stimulates collagen production.
- Brazil nuts contain selenium, which produces the antioxidant responsible for reducing cell damage. (You heard right, this little guy can slow down the skin’s aging process!). Just two nuts supply your daily dose! Selenium also protects against sunburn and skin cancer.
- Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids (nuts, chia seeds, salmon, flaxseed and walnuts) AKA- essential fatty acids-aren’t made by the body; you must eat them. They’re essential because they’re the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. These incredible polyunsaturated fats aid in creating the skin’s natural oil barrier, one of the components of plump, hydrated and younger looking skin. They also help diminish inflammation associated with acne.
- Coconut oil is anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal. Many people with acne also suffer from Candida overgrowth and can benefit from using coconut oil internally and topically. It’s a great moisturizer and contains a sunscreen protection of 4 (but please, still use your SPF!)
- Bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, kale, spinach and broccoli are collagen-boosting foods because they’re high in Vitamin C, which is a pre-cursor to collagen production. Fun fact: a red bell pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange.
- Eggs, Brussels sprouts and onions are sulfur-containing foods, and sulfur is necessary for the production of collagen and keratin (so the bonus here is gorgeous hair on top of glowing skin)!
- Garlic will scare vampires away (which will keep your skin radiant for sure!) but it’s quite magical and we should all be eating it daily! Garlic can prevent breakouts and maintain clear skin. According to Best Health Magazine, “it’s best to crush or chop garlic and leave it on the cutting board for a few minutes before cooking,” in order to maximize its antibiotic compounds.
- Almond butter, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe are high in antioxidant-rich vitamins A and E (have you noticed a lot of fancy skin serums and creams contain those vitamins too?) Vitamin A is critical for moisture retention to the epidermis, which helps stave off wrinkles and remove dead skin.
- Turmeric is one of the most powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. Popular in Indian cuisine, this herb packs a more powerful punch than fruits and veggies. You can blend a piece of fresh turmeric into shakes, cook with the powder, or take a capsule daily.
- Pineapple is super high in vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain, which is known to be a great skin softener.
- Pomegranates contain Polyphenols which fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow. This gives skin a rosy glow.
- Tomatoes are antioxidant superstars. If you can, have them cooked with a little olive oil for the biggest nutrient punch. When eaten in the right doses, the skin’s ability to protect itself against UV damage increases significantly.
- Kidney beans contain zinc, which has healing properties. “Studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels,” Dr. Wu explains. Just 4 ounces daily seems to do the trick.
- Leafy greens contain amazing nutrients, and also increase nitric oxide in your blood, giving skin a healthy glow.
“USE IT LIST”
Food feeds us on a cellular level, but it’s also helpful topically. If an emergency arises, look no further than your kitchen cabinets.
- Tea bags: Brew a cup of green tea and sip on it for the antioxidant benefits (namely EGCG which reduces redness) while you chill the tea bag. Once cold, apply it to blemishes for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Lemons: Just a little bit on a cotton ball pressed on a blemish can calm inflammation. They’re a good source of vitamin C and they act as an astringent.
- Honey: Make sure it’s raw, because raw honey is a powerful super-food, while the regular store-bought stuff is not! Rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and live enzymes, a small dab on a breakout before bed can relieve blemishes and soften skin.
“DITCH IT LIST”
I hate to say it, but sugar is a big no-no if you want clear and radiant skin. Dr. Perricone, a famous skin doctor, author and creator of a skincare line says, simple carbohydrates cause your insulin levels to spike, causing “a burst of inflammation throughout the body.” Avoid high-glycemic foods and those high in saturated fats such as: white bread, candy, fried food, ice cream, juice, pasta, pizza, and packaged snacks. If you’re wondering what inflammation has to do with acne, here it is: It’s the body’s natural response to attackers (bacteria, chemicals, or certain foods). “When inflammation works like it’s supposed to, it helps your body fight off an attack by bringing in white blood cells and all the warriors of your immune system. When it’s done fighting the infection, it stops. The swelling goes down, the redness disappears, the wound heals,” says author of Clear Skin Forever, Devin Mooers.
Hope that helped guys! Comment below what your skin care regimen is!