When mother told us that beauty comes from the inside, she was right. But when she said beauty is only skin deep – she was so wrong! Although genetics definitely play a part in fostering healthy, beautiful skin, the lifestyle choices and foods we consume also have a significant effect. What many of us fail to realize is that what we put inside our body is reflected on the outside. The right foods can help us fight wrinkles, reduce acne, combat dehydration and enhance our skin’s natural beauty. Beauty really does come from the inside.
In today’s cosmetic market, there are tons of products promising to change our skin. As women, we are constantly looking for a way to fight wrinkles, minimize pores and keep our skin looking healthy. While these products may make our skin look better, they are really only temporary fixes. The hard truth is, there is no beauty product out there that will actually change the health of our skin. That is because we cannot change our skin from the outside – it has to come from within. Having consistently healthy skin begins with the foods we eat and drink. The main properties we want to look for in skin-improving foods is the antioxidants that fight inflammation and free radicals. Check out the list below for foods that provide maximum beauty benefits:
Water – Water is vital to flush out toxins and keep the skin hydrated. True hydration comes from pure, clean water – not fruit juice or soda. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day will help your body flush out toxins and replenish the water in the cells.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C fights the free radicals that damage your skin cells and break down collagen. Lack of vitamin C in the body can lead to fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. Fruits such as oranges and grapefruits are excellent sources of vitamin C. Strawberries are even more beneficial as they contain more anti-aging vitamin C per serving than both oranges and grapefruits.
Green Tea – Green tea is one of the best foods for your skin. Filled with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, drinking green tea can ward off wrinkles and saggy skin. The EGCG compounds that are found in green tea reactivate skin cells that are dying from environmental causes such as too much sunlight or pollution. You can actually boost the staying power of these antioxidants by simply adding a generous squeeze of lemon juice to your tea, this will help antioxidants stay in the body longer.
Pumpkin and Pomegranate – These two fruits are packed with powerful enzymes that help to cleanse the skin from the inside out. Pumpkin pulp contains wrinkle-fighting carotene, which neutralizes free radicals and keeps them from damaging cells that prevent aging. Pomegranate is known for being one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits. This fruit’s juice actually contains more inflammation fighting properties than green tea. It also regulates your skin’s blood flow giving it a rosy and healthy appearance.
Nuts – Nuts high in omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, cashews and almonds, greatly improve skin’s elasticity. They also contain a good amount of mineral copper, which boosts collagen production.
Olive Oil – Olive oil is ideal for rubbing directly on the skin to help soften it, but consuming it also very beneficial. Olive oil contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and disarms free radicals and reduces inflammation. These helpful benefits are why olive oil is the base of most DIY facial recipes and is commonly used in formulas that help your skin to stretch.
Fish – When consumed regularly, oily fish such as mackerel and salmon will give you glowing and spot-free skin. With a rich concentration of omega 3’s, these healthy fats reduce the production inflammatory substances. The nutrients found in these two fish also help to speed up the skin’s natural healing process, reducing clogged pores, fine lines and wrinkles.
Avocado – Avocado fruit is one of the best foods for your skin. It is the perfect source of vitamin E, which will effectively boost the skin’s vitality and luminosity. The vitamin C found in avocado also reduces inflammation and stimulates collagen production. Eating at least half an avocado a day will greatly improve the skin’s moisture, tone and texture.
Cocoa – Cocoa hydrates your skin to make it more firm and supple. The antioxidants found in cocoa work to repair dry, damaged skin. You can eat dark chocolate directly, it is a great way to boost your mood and benefit your skin at the same time. You can also use cocoa powder to make hot chocolate or add it to your favorite smoothie. A great way to boost the skin benefits of cocoa is by paring it with honey or yogurt.
Dark greens – Spinach, kale, green apples, watercress and collard greens are all infused with antioxidants and important minerals that nourish and cleanse the skin. These greens naturally flush out toxins and excess fluids that cause dryness and wrinkles in the skin.
Just as there are foods that will improve your skin, there are also some foods that are damaging to the skin. Foods like diary, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, alcohol and drinks that are high in sugar should be avoided or consumed in moderation. Now go ahead and get your glow on!
By Nichole Dawkins
Images by Stephanie Pino