Slather on as much miracle product as you want, it will only get you so far if you’re not feeding your skin a balanced diet. Beauty truly does come from within, here’s a smattering of internet wisdom outlining 10 verified superhero foods to support a healthy, vibrant complexion:
Figs are high in minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, E and K. The rich mineral and antioxidant content of figs contribute to healthy, balanced skin while combatting the signs of aging. BONUS The Omega-6 that they contain helps to nourish and plump the skin, diminishing wrinkles and restoring skin’s natural fat reserves.
2. BERRIES: BLUEBERRIES AND STRAWBERRIES
Blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidization (aging) of other molecules. Oxidization is the loss of electrons in a molecule, which results in the production of free radicals that can damage, or even destroy, cells completely. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found in blueberries help to neutralize the free radicals, which prevents further damage. They are also helpful in strengthening blood vessels and healing broken capillaries. A cup of wild blueberries has up to 13,427 antioxidants, including Vitamin A and C, as well as flavonoids.
FOR THE NERDS: On the color wheel, the purple-blue-red-orange spectrum is home to the most antioxidant-rich fruits. Blackberries (7,701), raspberries (6,058), strawberries (5,938), black plums (4,873), sweet cherries (4,873), and red grapes (2,016) are also brimming with vitamins A and C and flavonoids (antioxidants) like catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, and anthocyanidin.
Boost your skin glow with a daily serving of beets. Beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide—a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, turning them into superhighways for your nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood. That means better circulation, and possibly lower blood pressure. The betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver– that means HEALTHY SKIN.
4. SWEET POTATOES
They're full of vitamin C, which is an absolute skin-must! Vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen, plumping skin and reducing wrinkles. The rich orange color of sweet potatoes also indicates that they are high in carotenoids, like beta carotene, which are the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids are essential to strengthening skin and boosting the immune system, which helps to protect against the effects of aging.
Acne for days? Try adding kefir to your breakfast for a healthy gut. Digestion-related issues are one of the main causes for acne upset, and every digestive track is different. But a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut is universally beneficial and easy as pie to achieve by drinking kefir. Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product that is one of the most probiotic-rich foods on the planet- it's super rich in friendly bacteria, will reduce inflammation and will help support and protect the lining of the gut. This helps you to absorb more nutrients from your food and increases the efficacy of toxin removal.
Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem counterintuitive, as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized. This is key to optimum bodily function. Another great reason to eat lemons, they're silly-high in Vitamin C (your skin's best friend). This vitamin neutralizes free radicals both inside and outside of cells. Lemons help to push toxins from the body and support healthy liver function, which also keeps skin clear and supple.
Besides its massive amounts of vitamin C, lemons contain riboflavin, thiamin, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, calcium and folate- all essential to a bright and healthy complexion.
Flavonals, the antioxidants in dark chocolate, reduce roughness in the skin and protect against sun damage. Want a tasty way to get enough flavonals? Make your own cocoa drink with honey, sea salt, and cocoa powder- add a dash of cayenne if you’re feeling spicy. Mix the three into a paste before mixing in your milk of choice. Yum.
Walnuts sharpen the mind? That too, but walnuts are also rich in awesome fats that support your envy-worthy skin. Fats like Omega 3 that strengthen the membranes of your skin cells, keep moisture locked in, and toxins locked out. Healthy fats are said to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help curb breakouts and maintain healthy glow of the skin.
Here’s an awesome snapshot from The Organic Garden Blog:
Reduces puffy and saggy skin: The puffy face can make you look tired or sleepy. Walnuts contain roughly 11% or your daily potassium which is a vital mineral to maintain mineral balance and facilitate nerve function. It also obstructs fluid retention, bloating, puffiness and saggy skin caused by sodium.
Maintains healthy circulation: Poor blood circulation leads to less efficient transport of essential nutrients to your skin cells. Nuts are a rich source of fiber which reduces the excess fat and cholesterol which is a major cause of plaque development and poor blood supply. Increasing blood circulation to your scalp and roots can help maintain healthy and well-nourished skin and hair.
Skin healing: Walnuts are a protein power foods. Proteins are the major building blocks which play a vital role in skin repair. It helps your body produce new cells and repair the damaged ones. Consuming proper protein rich diet can improve your wound healing and reduce the appearance of scars on the skin, hence beautifies your skin.
9. CANNED TUNA
Want healthy skin on a budget? Add canned tuna to your lunch or dinner routine. Canned tuna is packed with selenium—a nutrient that preserves elastin, which keeps skin smooth and tight. Selenium also guards against harmful free radicals produced by UV rays, keeping your skin safe from sun damage.
10. BITTER GREENS: KALE, SPINACH, RIDDICHIO
From the Mind Body Green Blog:
Bitter greens are packed with vitamins A, C and K, and minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium. Filled with folate and fiber, and low in fat and sodium, these greens are a nutritional powerhouse! They promote great skin (beta-carotene), a strong nervous system (folate), healthy blood clotting (vitamin K) and contain phytonutrients shown to support eye health. Eating bitter food also activates taste buds that simultaneously stimulate enzyme production and bile flow, which promotes digestion. The better your food is digested, the more nutrients you'll absorb from your food.
Photo: Ellen von Unwerth, "Peaches" Courtesy of Taschen