When we think of Thanksgiving, several things come to mind such as family, food, and a post-tryptophan nap. But we'd be remiss if we didn't also consider the beauty aspect of Thanksgiving (there are several, aside from the sheer delightful scene of creamy whipped potatoes and pie, of course).
Within the delicious menu you'll indulge in this upcoming holiday are vitamins and nutrients that actually help support your skin's overall health (surprising, but true). To learn more about the foods that double as skin boosters, we spoke with Muscle Milk’s nutrition expert, Tricia Griffin. Keep reading, and plate-map wisely this season.
As expected with meat, Griffin says turkey is full of protein, which provides structure and strength to skin, hair, nails, and teeth. It also helps forms collagen, providing firmness and suppleness to your skin. However, dark meat has more vitamins and minerals than white meat, so aim to be first in line for the drumstick.
Cranberries contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that also builds collagen, which is essentially the glue holding together the cells that make up your skin, hair, and teeth. The antioxidant nature also means that they help fight free radicals that can prematurely age the skin.
Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Pie
Sweet potatoes and the pumpkin component of pumpkin pie are rich in vitamin A, an antioxidant that supports the production and growth of new skin cells. Just be cognizant of how you prepare them—too much sugar can spike your insulin levels and break down collagen and protein in the skin, and dairy can also be a trigger for those with food sensitivities.
Almonds and Olive Oil
Almonds and olive oil are dense in vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin. The main role of vitamin E is to act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which, in essence, bodes well for a clearer, more even complexion.
Spinach is a superfood power player, so add it to dishes like salad and stuffing. It's loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K as well as antioxidants for clearer skin, anti-aging benefits, and protection against sun damage (but always be sure to wear SPF—spinach certainly won't replace that).
What about the foods Griffin would advise against? "Though dark chocolate and red wine do contain certain phytonutrients that are associated with skin benefits, too much of either can have a negative impact as well," she tells us. "Chocolate is high in fat and sugar, and alcohol can lead to health issues and can be dehydrating, so moderation is key." Dairy can also lead to inflammation and breakouts, so consider substituting the milk, cream, and cheese in your favorite dishes with vegan options, or focus on protein-rich and plant-based foods instead.