Aren’t we all looking for the fountain of youth? Well, what if I told you that by tweaking your diet and including super nutrient-dense foods, you could actually change your appearance and look younger! In addition to your regular cleansing regimen, add the following foods to your diet to clear the way for a beautiful complexion. “The nutrients found in these foods benefit the skin because they nourish us from the inside out,” says Sue Moores, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. According to Moores, glowing skin starts at the supermarket.
The pumpkin-colored hue of sweet potatoes not only looks pretty on your dinner plate, but its shade also works wonders on your complexion. Sweet potatoes boast large amounts of beta carotene — an antioxidant whose red, yellow, and orange pigments dress many vegetables in their vibrant colors. Beta carotene’s protective qualities also protect against sunburn. Serving size: 1 medium size potato Calories: 117
Add luster and softness to your complexion by feasting on salmon, a fish with one of the richest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and averting fine lines and wrinkles. Serving size: 3-4 ounces Calories: about 150
Quick tip: Buy extra fillets at the market and freeze them; having salmon on hand is the best way to ensure you’ll keep up your skin’s nutritious regimen.
An uncelebrated hero of supple skin is kiwi. This tangy-sweet treat packs more vitamin C per ounce than practically any other fruit. Vitamin C helps maintain the collagen in our skin, keeping it firm. But this nutrient can quickly evaporate through exposure to air, water, or heat. Kiwi is an ideal carrier since it locks in the juicy benefits firmly beneath its furry skin.
Serving size: 1 medium fruit Calories: 46
Quick tip: For a quick and easy way to peel kiwi, cut the ends off first. The rest should be a cinch.
Foods rich in antioxidant properties such as blueberries, which have the most antioxidants per serving compared to other commonly consumed fruits and berries, will have a significant impact on your skin. Eat them raw, in a smoothie, in a salad…the possibilities are endless for the blueberry! Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 50
Slow down the development of saggy, wrinkled skin by spooning sunflower seeds over salad. These seeds are replete with vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that decelerates the aging of skin cells, keeping us looking younger longer, also known for its ability to diminish the appearance of scars. Serving size: 2 tbsp. Calories: 324
Quick tip: Unsalted sunflower seeds also make an easy and convenient mid-afternoon snack!
This dark leafy green, like the sweet potato, also contains beta-carotene, a super-charged antioxidant that helps repair skin cells and slows down skin cancer cells. It helps give skin a youthful glow while preventing aging. Spinach is also full of lutein, potassium, fiber and folate, which also help with DNA repair that restores skin cells damaged by the sun and helps keep them cancer-free. Serving size: 1-2 cups Calories: 50
In addition to your 3 liters of water daily, alternate glasses of water with hot or cold unsweetened green tea or herbal tea. These beverages boast their own supply of acne-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients (healthy substances from plants). Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 2 Quick tip: To avoid diluting your delicious cold brew with plain ice, fill ice trays with tea. Add a few cubes just before you drink!
Fundamentally, we need to remember that our skin will look its best when we are healthy. Including the above foods will provide your skin with an extra boost of some of the most effective beautifying micronutrients nature has to offer, however, we need to also be mindful to avoid the following skin sabotagers!
1. Restrict your intake of sugar, trans fats and high-glycemic carbohydrates: High glycemic foods such as pasta, white bread and cakes have recently been linked to an increase in acne according to a recent Australian study. Whole grains such as brown rice and oats are packed full of antioxidants and have been found to be anti-inflammatory.
2. Don’t smoke or if you do smoke stop now.
3. Consume alcohol in moderation only: Over indulgence of booze can wreak havoc on your skin. It is extremely dehydrating to cells within the body including your skin cells. It also causes vasodilatation which can be an aggressor for rosacea.
4. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.
5. Avoid beauty products which contain the following ingredients:
- Parabens – can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes and has been linked to breast cancer
- Diethanolamine – This foaming agent can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dry out skin. Is known to be toxic if consumed over long period of time.
- Diazolidinyl Urea – American Academy of Dermatology found this chemical to be primary contributor to dermatitis and can release formaldehyde, which is toxic.
- Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate – Derived from petroleum and causes irritation, dry scalp, skin rash and other allergic reactions.
- Petroleum Jelly – Mineral oil derivative that can clog pores and disrupt the body’s natural ability to moisturize its own skin.
- Propylene Glycol – Been known to cause hives and eczema.
- PVP/VA Copolymer – Considered toxic if inhaled and used in a number of hair-styling products.
- Stearalkonium Chloride – developed by the fabric industry for use as a fabric softener, beauty companies now use in conditioners and lotions.
- Synthetic Colors & Fragrances – These chemicals are known carcinogens and can also cause dizziness, headaches, rashes and respiratory problems.