One often overlooked strategy to achieving healthy skin is the power of specific food ingredients. Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and by paying attention to the nutrients your skin needs to perform optimally, you can literally eat your way to healthy and glowing skin.
Below are some of my favourite ingredients and the science behind what makes them so good for you. I’ve suggested two delicious recipes that are easy to prepare and the perfect nutritional prescription for glowing skin.
Kale is rich in ‘luteins’ a compound that boosts the production of collagen. It’s also packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients. Besides boosting collagen, they protect the skin from free radicals, UV damage, and improve skin's elasticity.
Walnuts are a rich source of essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 and omega-6. These healthy fats are vital for maintaining the skin's natural barrier, which locks in moisture and keeps irritants out. A well-maintained skin barrier helps prevent dryness, flakiness, and irritation, leaving the skin soft and supple. Additionally, walnuts contain zinc, a mineral that helps regulate sebum production, keeping oily skin under control and reducing the occurrence of acne breakouts.
Soy and Tofu
Both contain isoflavones, a category of plant compounds that can either mimic or block estrogen in your body and are beneficial for skin.
One small study involving middle-aged women found that eating soy isoflavones every day for 8–12 weeks reduced fine wrinkles and improved skin elasticity.
In postmenopausal women, soy may also improve skin dryness and increase collagen, which helps keep your skin smooth and strong.
Additionally, soy-based foods contain genistein, which has been shown to improve skin's elasticity and boost collagen production.
They're loaded with Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis. Vitamin C also protects the skin from harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of sun-induced skin damage.
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries all boast an array of skin-loving nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidants and flavonoids. Vitamin A aids in skin cell turnover, helping to reveal fresh, radiant skin. Vitamin C, as previously mentioned, stimulates collagen production. Vitamin E protects the skin from oxidative stress and UV damage, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. Lastly, the antioxidants and flavonoids found in berries work together to fight off free radicals, supporting healthy and glowing skin.
Probiotics, often referred to as "good bacteria," are beneficial microorganisms that support a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced gut microbiome is linked to improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, which in turn can positively impact skin health. When digestion is optimized, the body can better absorb essential vitamins and minerals crucial for skin nourishment. Probiotics also help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can help with calmer and less irritated skin. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi will deliver a healthy dose of probiotics.
Spicy Tofu and Red Pepper Stir-Fry
1 bunch of kale
1 pack of firm tofu (sliced into 1cm/1/4 inch slices)
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of sherry or rice wine
¼ c vegetable stock
1 tsp cornstarch/cornflour
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
¼ tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 serrano pepper seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1. Chop and blanch the kale (blanching is optional since it will cook slightly when you add it into the stir fry). Slice tofu and blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
2. Combine soy sauce, rice wine and cornstarch/cornflour and sesame oil. Set aside.
3. In a hot skillet or wok add the oil and then the tofu. After a few minutes the tofu will start to brown, add the ginger, garlic and chili until you get a nice fragrant aroma.
4. Add the red pepper, then the kale, salt and pepper and pour the soy sauce mixture on top. Serve on it's own or with rice or noodles.
Skin Booster Breakfast
This is my favourite mid-morning snack.
A handful of fresh berries
A few dollops/cup of probiotic rich plain yogurt
A handful of chopped roasted walnuts
1 tsp of chia seeds
Add it all together and enjoy.
When it comes to achieving healthy skin, the adage "you are what you eat" holds true. Embrace a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods like soy, tofu, red peppers, berries, walnuts, and probiotic-rich foods, and watch as your skin transforms into a glowing reflection of your overall well-being.
Remember, healthy skin is not just about external treatments; it starts from within. So, nourish your body with these skin-loving foods, and let your natural radiance shine through!