Get Glowing Skin from the Inside Out
When it comes to the age-old question “how to achieve healthy, glowing skin”, the first thing that pops into our mind is usually topical treatments. Let it be a comprehensive ten-step skincare routine day and night, a weekly facial treated by a specialist, or even injectables to improve the appearance temporarily, these seem to be the obvious options to improve skin conditions.
However, the skin is more than just a thin surface layer, it acts as a protective barrier between the outside and the inside of the human body. As the largest vital organ in the human body, it works alongside all the other organs to keep your body function properly. Pertaining to holistic skincare, the rising star in various skincare approaches, it is believed that skin mustn’t be treated separately from the body. If your body is malnourished, your skin will suffer too. You are what you eat - the cliché saying that has been passed down for generations couldn’t get it more right.
Processed foods, oily foods, sugar, alcohol, or general poor eating habits often lead to chronic acne, rough texture, and premature aging, while foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats help to strengthen and protect skin cells and improve overall skin health. Paula Simpson, nutritionist and founder of ZSS Skincare suggests “a diet focused on high-quality lean proteins, fiber, healthy oils, raw fruits and vegetables, and spices” to achieve the perfect skin goal. Let’s break down these superfoods that all nutritionists are talking about to further understand how they help make your skin radiant.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are naturally found in the human body and certain food groups, they are compounds that protect body cells from damages caused by free radicals - unstable molecules also occur naturally in the human body and the outside environment such as solar radiation, pollution, and other toxins due to oxidation. These antioxidants usually include vitamins A, C, and E, minerals copper, zinc, and selenium. In addition, to prevent chronic diseases, antioxidants calm skin inflammations, protect skin from UV damages, and slow down the aging process.
A widely known source of antioxidants, berries are low in calories and high in nutrients. One cup of strawberries can provide 150% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient for collagen production. One serving of blackberries can provide 32% of the recommended daily intake of manganese. Manganese is especially great for women’s health as it reduces menstrual cramps along with its anti-inflammatory and metabolism-aiding benefits. Berries have strong anti-inflammation properties, great for calming down acne and other skin irritation problems.
Pumpkin is actually a fruit. The vegetable-fruit has a whopping 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A per cup. Pumpkin also contains beta-carotene, which your body can turn into vitamin A, a special antioxidant proven to be effective against UV radiation. The high amount of vitamin C and E content in Pumpkin helps to boost collagen production, increases your skin’s ability to retain hydration, and strengthens your overall skin health.
Eat your greens. “They are loaded with fiber, which reduces the risk of heart disease,” says nutritionist Joy Bauer. “They’re also one of the top sources of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps repair and renew your skin to give it a youthful glow." Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are high in vitamin A and E - vitamins which are used to combat acne and premature aging, folate - a nutrient responsible for cell regeneration, and lutein - an antioxidant that boosts skin hydration and protects against sun damages.
Antioxidants found in red grapes are mostly concentrated in the skin and the seeds. Red grapes are rich in resveratrol, an antioxidant property that can prevent signs of aging and effectively combat acne when combined with benzoyl peroxide. You can ingest the power of resveratrol through snacking on grapes or pouring a glass of red wine from time to time.
Green tea is a fairly common ingredient in skincare products. Its medicinal usage can date back to thousands of years. Green tea’s wide range of benefits goes from increasing the brain’s cognitive function to weight loss. It also benefits the health of the skinby preventing aging issues, calming redness and inflammation, protecting against skin cancer, all due to its high concentration of antioxidants.
Healthy Fats, Omega-3
Do not wrongfully assume that all fats trigger skin problems. “Omega-3s help slow down the aging process and restore moisture to dry skin,” says Peggy Kotsopoulos, a registered holistic nutritionist. Healthy fats, or known as essential fatty acids are crucial elements in nourishing your body. Omega-3s and omega-6s build the blocks of skin cell membranes, produce the skin’s natural barrier to keep skin hydrated.
“Fatty types of fish like salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids that are linked to reducing inflammation, which may help keep skin moisturized,” says nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. “They are also a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin E, and zinc.” The fish is packed with so much omega-3, consuming it on a frequent basis is not just good for your skin but also helps to prevent certain cancer, improve joint health, and minimize menstrual symptoms.
Historically, olive oil has been used topically to moisturize, fade scars, and prevent aging. Olive oil’s high antioxidant content including fat-soluble vitamin A, D, E, and K makes it a perfect superfood to acquire plump, glowing skin. Research also shows thatthe fatty acids in olive oil prevent and heal sun-damaged skin with issues such as irritations, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Avocado is really a slab of naturally grown healthy butter. The creamy, rich, butter-like texture and the high volume of fatty acids complemented by a variety of vitamins and minerals easily make avocado one of the best superfoods for the skin. Maya Ivanjesku, chief scientific officer at LaFlore Probiotic Skincare explains that healthy fats, vitamins, and other compounds in avocado help speed up skin regeneration ability and improve chronic skin conditions such as eczema and acne. Furthermore, a 2010 study also discovered that the fats found in avocado effectively increase the skin’s elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
A trendy ingredient as it might be, Chia seeds were vital foods in ancient Aztec and Mayan diets. Did you know that the word “chia” means “strength” in ancient Mayan? These super seeds pack a powerful punch of antioxidants, fibers, omega-3 fatty acids, and are surprisingly high in protein. An Insider editordecided to test out the myth of “Chia seed glow” by eating a tablespoon a day in hope of curing her chronic dry and flaky skin, and was surprised by how moisturized her skin was after merely one week of consumption, she even had to cut back the intake so the skin wouldn’t become over-moisturized!
Many seeds and nuts are naturally high in fatty acids but walnuts have higher antioxidant content than any other nuts. Walnuts have roughly 2570mg of omega-3 per serving, besides containing an ample amount of copper, vitamins, and manganese. All these great nutrients help reduce inflammation, promote gut health, and a study published in 2016 found that most older women with healthy eating habits which include frequent consumptions of walnuts have a 13% lower risk of aging-associated impairment compare to others.
Is it time to update your grocery shopping list? Everyone’s genetic makeup is different so everyone’s approach to better skin is different too. Know your ingredients, conduct researches, consult professionals instead of following hypes and trends blindly. What superfoods have you found helpful in improving skin conditions? Share your stories with us on social media! Remember, there is no overnight miracle to better skin. You must treat your skin and your body as a whole, eat better, eat smart, eat your way to that beautiful, healthy glow.