Did you know there are plenty of foods in your local grocery store that can give your skin major glow? Now, I am as big a fan of a skin supplement as the next beauty obsessive (I even wrote about my favorite clean supplements here), but not everyone can afford to bolster their skincare regimen with supplements. Luckily, there are plenty of foods that you can factor into your diet that will work to boost that all-important luminous complexion from the inside out.
Easy to Digest
In fact, Dr. Filip Koidis, specialized nutritionist and dietician, notes that "most extracts or isolated minerals/compounds found in ingestible pills can be easier found in food, making their intake more enjoyable, safer, economic and a more realistic approach to a sustainable lifestyle targeting healthy skin."
He notes that several studies have shown improved skin health following a whole plant food-based diet. "A combination of a low glycaemic diet (food that keeps our blood sugars under control), fortified with the necessary vitamins and minerals will lead to a healthier skin from the inside and outside," he adds.
That Gut Feeling
Koidis also tells us that recent research has "suggested a strong link between a healthy gut and healthy skin.
"Whole foods, soluble and insoluble fiber, omega-3 fats, leafy vegetables can have a beneficial influence on gut health, in part by improving gut motility," he says. "Fiber can also bind to and excrete excess hormones that contribute to poor skin health."
We're all human, but if you can aim to eat a healthy, low-GI diet as often as possible (we like to aim for 80:20, 80 percent of the time being healthy and 20 percent of the time treating ourselves), then your complexion will thank you.
To help you supercharge your healthy eating regimen, we called on 4 nutrition experts to reveal the foods that can help your skin look its glowing best.
"Almonds are rich in selenium and zinc, walnuts are rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, they help purify their blood as well as nourishing the skin," explains Mira Manek, author of Prajña - Ayurvedic Rituals for Happiness ($17). "Both help keep the skin and glowing. Try to soak nuts before eating them for as long as possible to make digestion super easy,"
Eat: A small handful of nuts daily.
"Avocado is rich in vitamin E, which is related to skin health, working as an antioxidant, therefore, protecting skin cells from damage from free radicals," says Manek.
Eat: 2-4 avocados weekly.
"Anthocyanidins are a good nutrient to look out for," says nutritionist Shona Wilkinson. "Anthocyanidins are what give berries their dark purple color. Anthocyanidins belong to a group of plant compounds known as flavonoids. It is an antioxidant which is very important for supporting collagen structures in the skin."
Eat: A cup daily!
Rich in flavanoids, dark chocolate provides antioxidants that help prevent skin damage, says Lisa Borg, nutritionist at Pulse Light Clinic. She says to aim to eat dark chocolate with 80% cacao.
Eat: 1-2 small bars per week.
"A good source of vitamins A, C and E, dragon fruit also provides magnesium which is required for some 300 enzymes in the body. Enzymes speed things up, including cell regeneration!" says Borg. "Good magnesium levels improve all cellular processes, including hormone balancing. Cortisol is involved in the stress response and contributes to the aging process."
Eat: 2-3 per week.
Studies have shown consuming flaxseeds reduces skin sensitivity and improves skin barrier function. "By consuming flaxseeds, you also benefit from the whole food and its other nutritional properties (it's high in fiber, protein, minerals), you can bake it and even grind it up to maximize absorption and store it for up to a month without any spoilage," notes Koidis.
Eat: 1.5 teaspoons per day.
"This fruit assists digestion, hydrates and is a good source of vitamins A and C," says Borg. "The skin is a reflection of digestive health, and vitamin A helps to maintain the integrity of both the dermis and epidermis (both layers of skin). Vitamins A and C also play a protective role in the skin, helping with sun damage."
Eat: Once per week.
Think sardines, salmon, trout and herring. "These are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that provide anti-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins to reduce and control inflammation (most skin conditions are some form of inflammation from acne to psoriasis and between)," notes Borg. "Oily fish also supply vitamin E and zinc, which are essential for skin health."
Eat: At least 3 times per week, more if you suffer an inflammatory condition.
Oysters are one of the highest sources of zinc. This important mineral helps to maintain the structural integrity of the skin and is six times more concentrated in the upper layer as compared with the lower layer of skin. "Zinc lessens free radical damage and protects lipids in the skin (think collagen, plumpness)," explains Borg. "They are also a good source of vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium ,which are all skin nutrients."
Eat: 3-4 oysters at one sitting, and have once per week.
"Fluid intake is the most essential element for healthy hydrated skin. Every cell requires water to function, and dehydration is one of the most common causes of a dull-looking complexion," says Borg. "Sip quality water, flavored with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (to add vitamin C) throughout the day. Herbal teas also contribute to fluid intake."
Just check how you consume your water. "Drinking fluid quickly acts to flush the digestive system, but fails to hydrate adequately," explains Borg. "The reward is in the sipping!"
Next up, CBD honey is a delicious way to chill.