We live in a world that revolves around treating + medicating + beautifying from the outside-in.
It’s all about cover-upping, retouching, injecting, filling, lifting, perfecting, fixing…not exactly confidence boosting.
As I get older and inch towards wedding day (a little over one year to go!) I’ve become more and more interested in beauty nutrition, but not so much in the traditional way. I want to work from the inside out.
In today’s post, I’m giving you tips to do the same. I want you to shift your focus inwards on how to nourish + heal the body from the inside out to radiate natural beauty. Because wouldn’t your rather look and feel like the most beautiful version of YOU instead of someone else’s definition of it?
Six tips for healthy skin
The look of our skin is in a big way genetically programmed which means you have Mom and Dad to thank. Nevertheless, it’s also affected by everyday stressors:
- Sun exposure
- Environmental toxins
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor nutrition
Without a doubt, prevention is THE best way to care for your skin’s appearance. The idea is to shield the skin from the damaging effects of these stressors that would otherwise lead to premature aging, wrinkles, photo-aging and uneven skin tone.
Here are my tips for you:
1. Eat green and orange foods daily
Green foods like spinach, kale, chard, romaine, watercress and arugula
Orange foods like sweet potato, pumpkin, mango, squash, carrots, bell pepper, cantaloupe, papaya
It isn’t exactly breaking news that colourful produce should play a starring role at every meal and snack. But what you may not know, is that for an extra glow, green and orange are the way to go.
Antioxidant phytochemicals found in these foods weaponize the body against free radical damage. Because you should know, free radicals are anything but rad. These unstable molecules make their way through the body initiating chain reactions of destruction that damage the integrity of our cells, including skin cells. Over time, this can lead to wrinkles and other signs of premature aging. This is why neutralizing free radicals via antioxidant-rich produce is key for skin health.
Vitamin C is another reason to eat your greens and oranges. Besides also being an antioxidant, vitamin C is needed for collagen production, that structural component of the skin responsible for elasticity, firmness, bounce and smoothness. But remember, vitamin C is water soluble which means your body doesn’t keep any on reserve. So keep consistent with vitamin C-rich foods every day.
Carotenoids on the other hand, which are natural pigments found in green and orange plant foods, do concentrate in the outer layer of our skin. As it turns out, the concentration of these pigments in the skin depends on diet, which is why eating carotenoid-rich foods has shown to improve skin tone. So before turning to tanner from a tube, crunch on a couple carrots for a more, natural glow.
2. Meet Your matcha
EGCg (epicgallocatechin gallate) is a cancer-fighting polyphenol found in green tea that has photo-protective properties which means it has the ability to prevent sun-induced damage to the skin (think sunscreen from the inside-out). Matcha, or green tea powder, is made by milling high-quality green tea leaves and is prepared by whisking the powder into warm water. So why matcha? Because when drinking matcha, you’re ingesting the entire leaf and are reaping matcha’ more benefits then you would from traditionally brewed tea.
3. Get friendly with fermented foods
Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, komboucha, miso, fermented vegetables
Probiotics which are the friendly bacteria found in fermented foods have well-documented benefits for gut health, but it seems that these benefits make their way extend to the skin as well by boosting the skin’s immune system. While research is still investigating the gut-skin connection, one thing is for sure: a healthy gut is necessary to promote absorption of the nutrients needed for healthy skin. Aim for one fermented food daily.
4. Healthy fats at meals and snacks
Healthy fats like avocado, salmon, almonds, chia seeds, salmon, sardines
Remember how our cell membranes are made of fat? Well, getting your daily dose of healthy fats keeps cells flexible, which results in skin that looks smooth, supple and hydrated. Essential fatty acids, like omega-3 fats found in fatty fish and chia seeds also serve to manage inflammation caused by sun exposure and other environmental stressors. And of course let’s not forget that healthy fats are required to absorb key beauty nutrients (like our glowing carotenoids) while also making for good blood flow, which you’re going to want to deliver all these goods to your skin.
5. Enjoy eggs
Zinc found in eggs (which, as a side note, is found mainly in the yolks so be sure to keep em’!) is a key mineral for skin health as it’s important for immune function and skin healing. Plus, eggs are a great way to get quality protein in the diet, which we want to include at regular intervals throughout the to keep blood sugar levels balanced and avoid hormonal cascades that may lead to excessive oil production in the skin.
6. Work on your Ss
The Ss: Stress, Sleep, Sweat and Sips
Factors like too much stress, lack of sleep, inactivity and alcohol consumption all increase levels of oxidative stress in the body, which leaves your skin prone to damage and premature aging while also decreasing concentrations of carotenoids in the skin, which affects your natural glow. So although proper nutrition has preventive power, to reap maximum benefits of all your beauty foods, you want to stress less, get 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night, move your body every day and make water your beverage of choice.
Oh and since I know you love two-bird-one-stone-type-deals, here’s a smoothie recipe that provides all the beauty-boosting foods discussed today. Enjoy it after a sweat session and prepare it while performing a stress-reducing happy dance and you’ll have covered all the beauty bases.