The Best 16 Foods for Glowing, Healthy Skin
Nutrition affects one’s skin; incorporating nutrient-rich foods is important to improve one's appearance as well as health. Incorporate these foods into a diet daily to help improve skin.
Almond milk is often fortified and thus provides half the daily requirement of Vitamin E, nearly half the daily requirement of calcium and about a quarter of the daily requirement of Vitamin D. Unsweetened almond milk is low in both calories and sugar, and it lacks the antibiotics and hormones found in many dairy products. Almond milk can help keep skin from drying out.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may have an acidic bite, but it is actually alkaline and will thus balance acidic food like grapefruit to help keep skin healthy. It also fights off bacteria and prevents constipation. It aids digestion by increasing the acidity of stomach acid. In addition, apple cider vinegar is a good source of potassium and pectin, a detoxifying fiber. Like all vinegars, apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which slows the digestion of carbohydrates and thus keeps blood sugar levels from spiking.
Bee pollen provides many nutrients, including 22 amino acids that help the body produce keratin, the protein that forms hair, nails and the topmost layer of skin. It also stimulates the production of new skin cells and helps improve digestion. The easiest way to use bee pollen is to sprinkle it onto desserts, yogurt and salads or mix it into smoothies. It can, however, cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to bee stings or pollen.
Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients. To start with, they are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that help protect the skin from the sun. They are also a complete protein, which means they contain all nine of the essential amino acids humans need and can only get from their diet. Those amino acids help keep the nails, hair and skin healthy. Chia seeds also contain fiber that induces a feeling of fullness, reduces bloating and prevents constipation. They can be combined with almond milk to make a pudding.
Chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans, are legumes that are loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants. The phytochemicals help the body absorb minerals, and they boost the immune system. Chickpeas contain other nutrients like folate, fiber, protein and zinc. The last is a trace mineral that promotes hair growth and helps keep nails and skin healthy. Chickpeas also contain fiber and complex carbohydrates that keep the body’s hormones in balance and stabilize blood sugar levels. They can help slow down the development of wrinkles. Chickpeas contain manganese and copper, two proteins that improve cellular health.
Coconut oil’s main component is lauric acid, an antimicrobial fat that destroys yeast, viruses and bacteria. Coconut oil is also made from medium-chain fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory effects and burn quickly in the body. Since the liver doesn’t need to break coconut oil down before the body can use it, it provides quick energy and boosts the metabolism so that it can readily burn stored fat. As a saturated fat, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but it actually helps cholesterol levels by increasing HDL, which is the good cholesterol, and reducing LDL, the bad cholesterol. Coconut oil can be added to smoothies or stir-fries.
Flaxseed contains lignans, phytochemicals that aid digestion. They can also mimic the hormone estrogen and thus may be able to prevent breast cancer. Ground flaxseed is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid. The body converts alpha-linolenic acid into eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, the same fatty acid found in fish oil. EPA strengthens collagen and burns fat. Omega-3 fatty acids, in general, reduce the hormone that can cause breakouts and clogged pores. Ground flaxseed can be added to smoothies and other foods.
Goji berries are sometimes nicknamed the “longevity fruit” because they contain an amino acid called glutamine, which stimulates the productions of the human growth hormone that promotes quick healing. Glutamine also helps the body produce glutathione, an antioxidant that can slow aging. Goji berries are loaded with nutrients, including 18 amino acids, and minerals like copper, iron and zinc. Goji berries can be eaten with cereal or added to a trail mix.
Lentils are legumes, and they contain a lot of protein. They also help keep blood sugar levels stable. That stability, in turn, helps keep the skin stay healthy and wrinkle-free. Lentils contain a lot of folate, which helps repair cells. Lentils are also a good source of iron that strengthens nails.
Millet is one of the ancient grains, and its seeds are loaded with amino acids that help repair and maintain cells. One amino acid, tryptophan, gets converted into serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that keeps people calm and happy. Millet contains minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous as well as fiber that keeps blood sugar levels from spiking. Fiber also keeps people full longer and supports the good bacteria in the digestive tract.
Nuts contain minerals, protein and healthy fats. They are also filling and easy to transport. Different nuts have different benefits. For example, pistachios have a lot of Vitamin B6 that is good for the blood. Cashews contain lots of copper that helps brighten hair. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium that helps the body produce glutathione and keeps the skin elastic. Almonds contain Vitamin E that strengthens cell membranes and prevents wrinkles. It’s best to buy organic raw nuts because roasted nuts often contain oxidized oils that produce free radicals and can speed up the aging process. Raw nuts need to be soaked for at least a couple of hours to make them easier to digest.
Oats are a breakfast-time staple loaded with minerals. They contain manganese that promotes cellular health and keeps hair healthy. They also contain Vitamin B1, which is good for the nervous system. Oats are also rich in selenium and iron.
Olive oil is a well-known source of nutrients like antioxidants, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. In addition to benefiting the skin, olive oil increases the level of good cholesterol and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help sensitive skin. The Vitamin E in olive oil can protect the skin from UV rays. Olive oil can be used in salads and dips, and it can be drizzled over freshly cooked vegetables.
Quinoa is one of the ancient grains; people have been eating it for millennia. Its seeds contain all nine essential amino acids that help repair damage and keep the skin, hair and nails healthy. It is not truly a grass, however, but a relative of spinach. Like spinach, it contains no gluten and is loaded with nutrients. In addition to the amino acids, quinoa also contains minerals like zinc, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and iron. It has a low glycemic index and is loaded with complex carbohydrates that keep a person full and prevent bloating. Those complex carbohydrates also keep blood sugar levels stable. Quinoa contains fiber that aids digestion.
Sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids like EPA that help burn fat and preserve collagen. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the levels of a hormone linked to clogged pores and excess oil production. They thus help prevent acne outbreaks. Sardines also contain Vitamin D, which strengthens bones and helps keep skin from wrinkling and sagging. In addition, sardines are a good source of selenium.
Tahini is a staple food from the Middle East made from ground sesame seeds. The result is a thick and oily paste used to flavor dressings and dips. Tahini contains several B vitamins that help reduce stress. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and zinc.