It’s a bit of a cliche that we all heard a lot growing up. You are what you eat. But guess what, it’s true!
Food is the building blocks that your body is made from. Food that’s good for you builds a strong healthy structure, and food that is of poor nutritional value can be a damaging force to your system.
Your skin is a great indication if something is not doing your body good.
You can easily tell a junk food addict by their greyish pallor and a chronic alcoholic by the purplish red tone to their skin. These are extreme examples but we all have influence over our skin by what we ingest whether it be good or bad for us.
Let’s look at the top 8 super-foods for perfect skin. By the end of it, you’ll be eating your way to shiny hair, glowing skin and hopefully pulling the hand break on the production of those all those pesky little wrinkles.
First I need to tell you what to avoid… like the plague. There’s no point in putting good stuff in to your body if you’re going to chase it with crap. Defeats the purpose.
Skin Enemy #1
The worst offender (besides smoking because we’re talking about food specifically here) is sugar. Sugar can trigger inflammation and cause glycation. This is a process by which sugar attaches to the collagen in the skin, causing it to stiffen, lose it’s elasticity and causes wrinkles.
Skin Enemy #2
Processed foods. These foods are really not food at all. They have been taken away from how nature intended them to be eaten and pumped full of non-nutrients making them virtually unrecognisable to the body. They are also laden with chemicals, GMO’s, hormone mimicking substances… none of which sound very appetising at all!
The list does go on but in the interest of getting to the point of this article, let’s classify anything that is not an organic whole food into the processed foods category.
Super-foods for Beautiful Skin
So—what to eat instead. Well we all know a balanced nutrient-dense whole food diet is the way to go. But let’s go a step further and see which foods are going to give you more bang for your buck when it comes to rejuvenating your skin.
This is one of the most well known super foods containing a whole heap of vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and healthy fats. The monounsaturated fats in avocado help to give the skin a healthy glow.
Vitamin E is a big factor here. A powerful antioxidant, it works to deactivate free radicals and slow the ageing process. Sufficient levels of this vitamin may help guard against sun damage caused by UV radiation. And Vit E is a fat soluble vitamin making avocado the perfect food for Vit E absorption.
2) Collagen Protein
This can be in the form of a good old fashioned bone broth made from bones and connective tissue or in the newly popular collagen protein powders. Consuming a dose of collagen protein everyday helps to increase the integrity of the skin structure, can help increase elasticity in the skin to smooth out lines and plump up the skin. Collagen is also incredibly healing for the gut, which is super important for the absorption of other skin boosting vitamins and minerals. Combine this with a dose of Vitamin C to boost collagen synthesis. Nutra Organics Collagen Beauty is my favourite, because it contains vitamin C right there in the formula.
3) Coconut oil
This is another brilliant saturated fat. It has potent anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. Eat it and apply it to the skin and hair. Coconut oil, used both internally and externally, can help guard against sun damage. It’s no coincidence that indigenous Pacific Islanders had not only clear radiant skin but also that they were not affected by too much sun exposure. Another awesome bonus to eating coconut oil on a daily basis is that it promotes weight loss (if eaten as part of a healthy diet of course)
4) Egg Yolks
Egg yolks from pasture-raised free-range (organic if possible) chickens are an excellent source of choline, biotin and omega 3 and 6. Choline helps with the flexibility and integrity of cell membranes and it’s also a fantastic brain boost.
Biotin assists in the process that regulates the production of fatty acids in the skin thereby preventing dry skin and even giving the skin a healthy glow. Your skin is the first to suffer if you have a biotin deficiency so make sure you get those egg yolks in.
5) A good old nut and seed blend
Linseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds. My favourite combo of nuts and seeds. This is a quick kick of protein, fibre, minerals and omega 3s, which by the way have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of acne. You can buy packets of LSA or LSC at the supermarket but I prefer to make my own using a coffee grinder. It’s far more economical and always fresh. And there are extra points for activating your nuts and seeds too, to reduce anti nutrients and allow for better digestion. Warning though, don’t try to activate you chia seeds, you’ll end up with a gloopy mess! I love this sprinkled in smoothies, on salads, or on any meal.
6) Fermented Cod Liver Oil
An old fashioned but tried and tested supplement to support your health. I can say without a doubt that when I run out of my trusty bottle of Fermented Cod Liver Oil my skin notices. FCLO is one of the best sources of Vit A (retinol) which promotes cell turnover in the skin. You’re probably already aware on some level of all the beauty products out there containing synthetic forms of retinol claiming to renew your skin and give it a youthful glow.
So instead of applying a synthetic topically, wouldn’t it make more sense to get what your body needs through diet? That way, there is far less chance of Vitamin A toxicity which can occur with high levels of supplementation especially if there is a vitamin D deficiency. Luckily Vitamin D is another component of FCLO and they work hand-in-hand to benefit the health of your entire body.
7) Acerola powder
This one is more a supplement (because its a dried powder version of the Acerola cherry) than a whole food but I love it so I’m including it. It’s the best form of Vitamin C that I know of and an easy one to sneak into smoothies for the whole family. Vitamin C has an important role in the synthesis of collagen and studies have shown that a higher vitamin C intake has an effect on reducing wrinkles.
Nutra Organics Acai Blend is also a great option. This is made even more powerful with the addition on Camu Camu for it's high vitamin C content
Oligomeric polyphenols (the flavanols in cacao and tea) inhibit oxidative stress which can damage cell membranes leading to disease and the ageing process. I knew there was a good reason for consuming so much chocolate! Obviously though standard chocolate is not what you’re after, which has usually got little cacao and lots of other stuff your body doesn’t need.
Raw cacao powder or cacao nibs aren’t processed at high temperatures therefore keeping all the goodness intact. The other awesome benefit of cacao is that it contains compounds that boost the production of serotonin and endorphins. Long story short, it’s a mood booster. I’m convinced happiness reflects in your skin too. Bonus!
So of course, there are a tonnes of different foods that will boost the health of your skin and deal with specific conditions. These are my all-time-out-of-the-cupboard favourites. I barely go a day without these, knowing how amazing they are not just for the skin but my general well being. I hope you too can start to feel the amazing health benefits and anti-ageing qualities of these super foods asap.
For a quick skin boost, here are some other superfood based, skin enhancing supplements:
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