One of the first things we notice about someone is their complexion. Subconsciously humans are attracted to those with clear, radiant skin because it is the number one indicator of our health.
The first thing I am always complimented on is my skin. They want to know what my secret beauty regimen is to get my healthy glow. The secret is that tell I like to eat! By eating an alphabet of Vitamins everyday, I am ensuring that my skin gets the nutritients it needs to heal itself from within. No creams, masks, scrubs or machines are going to do for you what a healthy diet can.
My mom always taught me that the secret to beauty is a healthy diet. In Middle School when all the other kids were buying face wash, she didn’t let me. I just wanted it because it was trendy and I saw commercials for it on TV and everyone else was using it. I wanted to be clean and clear and beautiful. I wasn’t even sure that that meant but I wanted it. She told me that if I start using these cleansers at this age, my skin would dry out and I would age like many older American women do. Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how true it is.
The typical American women ages very quickly because she wears makeup everyday, uses chemical-filled facial products and consumes the Standard American Diet.
Persian women are taught to take care of their skin from a young age. I was never allowed to wear makeup and my mom was always telling me to put strawberries and yogurt and eggs and random foods people eat for breakfast on my face.
Still every time we go out, I’m like “Mom, there’s honey on your face… And is that pulp I see?”
She’s like “Whatever, the longer it’s on my face, the better!”
(She never really cares what people think of her and I definitely got that from her!)
Here we are! See how awesome she looks at age 52?
Still apprehensive that you can eat your way to beauty? In my article Route to Radiant Skin, we can observe a side-by-side analysis of one girl’s complexion before eating the best foods for her skin and 3 weeks after- what a difference. So instead of depending on that concealer, make your skin beautiful from the inside out and in less than a month you can completely reverse your skin!
The Best Foods for Your Skin
- Citruses. These Vitamin-C filled treats keep our skin young and wrinkle-free so we can become cougars one day! (Just kidding.) Eating oranges, grapefruits and lemons delays the onset of pre-marture aging by preventing dry skin, keeping our skin as juicy and fresh as a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ. Many companies are now adding Vitamin-C to their formulas, however it’s not effective because the absorbic acid breaks down in the process of oxidation. Vitamin C is a sensitive molecule which breaks down when exposed to heat, therefore it will be completed when transformed into a powder. (Check out this great study about the minimal levels of Vitamin C still even left in your bottled orange juice!)
- Green tea. Get your zen on with this anti-inflammatory drink. Full of polyphenols and anti-oxidants, green tea prevents oil and bacteria from accumulating on that gorgeous skin of yours, perfect for those of us living in polluted areas. Dr. Pericone (you may have seen his products at Sephora) has even said green tea is filled with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, so you can save some money and sip on this instead! Bonus tip: squeeze some lemon in there to boost the antioxidants staying powers! If your face is feeling puffy, especially after a night of drinking, chill damp green tea bags in the fridge and put on your face for 15 minutes. Green tea contains tannins, which act as a natural astringent when placed on the skin.
- Chia seeds. I am a miracle seed addict. I put these little crunchy bites on everything, from my chia pudding to my chia water. I remember as a child my Mom would always drink chia water and I thought it was the weirdest thing.. Little did I know it would turn into a worldwide phenomenon and become bottled at health stores! Now I throw it in every from from to my smoothies to my cauliflower crust pizzas for an extra crunch. It just takes 10 minutes for them to get gelatinous in texture, perfect for an instant snack! You can even grow chia sprouts at home! Did you know Chia seeds actually have 8 times the Omega 3 as salmon?
- Flax Seeds. I know chia seeds get all the hype but don’t forget about their friend called Flax! According to researcher Wayne Coates “There’s a better conversion of Omega 3 into the pasha or into the food with flax seeds.” So try combining the two amigos together! You can often find mixed bags with all types of seeds included.
- Sweet potato. This has got to be one of my favorite skin foods, ever. It’s great for both those of us with dry skin, as it restores luster, as well as those of us with acne, as it cleanses the skin from within without drying it out like cleansers. If you are consistently drying out your skin with harsh cleansers, you are only increasing the amount of oil your body sends to your skins surface, creating more breakouts! For this reason, I only use Argan oil to cleanse my skin (I’ll write another post on my skin routine!) Pumpkins and butternut squash also have that gorgeous orange hue which shows it’s high in beta-carotene, preventing dry skin and maintaining health skin cells.
- Walnuts. These buttery-tasting nuts are stacked with Omega 3, which will prevent breakouts, dullness and excess oil, in face just 1/4 cup has 95% of your daily Omega 3 requirements! The fatty acids found in walnutscan also give you a mood boost, preventing stress and depression. Plus you’ll have nothing to be stressed or depressed about because you’ll be looking so good. I always carry walnuts in my bag to reach for whenever I need a snack instead of a sugar-filled granola, energy or protein bar. Add some goji berries to sweeten it up!
- Avocado. This creamy little wonder vegetable (or should I say fruit) is rich in B-complex vitamins and essential oils, soothing red, irritated or blotchy skin as well as moisturizing dry, tight skin. We could all use some extra hydration in our skin, even if we have acne, because our pimples can actually result from internal dehydration. Next time your making Egg in an Avocado, take some avocado and rub it in your face as a mask for 20 minutes. It may sound weird but it will leave your complexion softer and smoother then ever, kind of like the inside of an avocado!
- Almonds. Almonds are full of Vitamin E, which moisturizes your skin to the deepest level. One serving has 150% of our daily requirement, so you’ll be good for the day by munching on some soaked almonds in the AM (soaking them in water overnight makes them easier to digest in a process called “activation.”) Almonds protect your skin from the sun- the number one skin damager, especially in the summer! This superfood also protects against premature wrinkling by keeping your facial tissue in shape. Just by putting makeup everyday, you are severely aging your skin, therefore you need to take extra care of it to make up for the chemicals you are coating it in everyday!
- Mangoes. Delicious and nutritious, these tropical fruits are full of Vitamin A, repairing your skin cells so they look radiant, not flaky. Ever noticed why people in tropical countries have such dewy looking skin? The tropical fruit! Try my Mango-Avocado Salsa for a skin super-food, combining mango and avocado!
- Berries. Next time you want a snack, look no further than berries! These little bursts of antioxidants are like nurses for our skin, making it go from blah to wowaweewah!! Scientists have even found that topical application of berries on your skin reverses UV skin damage that leads to wrinkles! So instead of buying an expensive mask, just pick up some berries!
- Wild Salmon, Snapper or Fish Oil. If you are a non-vegetarian, try making some fish for dinner- it’s not as difficult as you think! Fish is chock full of essential fatty acids, adding luster and softness to your skin. Just make sure it’s organic and wild-caught to prevent high levels of mercury. Omega 3 reduces clogged pores, averts fine lines and wrinkles and nourishes the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substance. You can also take Flax Seed Oil vitamins if you don’t like gettin’ fishy. I love adding it to my oatmeal!
- Yogurt. Many lactose-intolerant people are good with yogurt because it contains a small amount of lactose and large amount of probiotics, helping aid your digestion. Yogurt is great for your skin on the inside and out. One of my Mom’s go-to masks is plain yogurt and honey. That’s also one of my go-to snacks It’s packed with Vitamin A and especially good for people who have red, stressed out skin since it’s so cooling.
- Carrots. Not only for bunnies, these crunchy snacks are full of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to Vitamin A within the body. Cooked carrots actually contain more beta-carotene than raw, so try roasting them with thyme for an aromatic side dish.
- Tomatoes. It doesn’t matter how you pronounce it- tomatoes are full of lycopene, which prevent collagen damage deep in the skin tissue where wrinkles are formed. Even if your skin is smooth now, we can still reap the benefits of increasing lycopene in our diets, also found in grapefruit, guava and watermelon. Remember: the redder the tomato, the higher the lycopene count! (And the better for your Caprese salad!)
- Spinach and broccoli. Spinach is packed with Vitamin B, C, E, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids! Instead of regular spring mix, try having some spinach for a skin-boosting swap! If you feel like you have dark circles under your eyes, try steaming some spinach for dinner! In Vegetables: To Cook or Not to Cook, I explain why spinach is actually better consumed cooked for optimal absorption! Added benefit- Ever noticed how some people just have a sparkle in their eyes? Spinach can help you have that! It’s loaded with lutein, a nutrient that keeps your eyes healthy and sparkling like Lola Bunny.
- Water. Okay, it’s not food but it’s so essential to our skin I had to put it on the list. Keeping our skin hydrated with water is the number one route to keeping it beautiful. If you get bored with regular water, try adding pineapple, mint, lemon, strawberries, oranges or kiwis to flavor it up! People think that sounds super fancy, but it’s really not. Whenever I have fruit that’s starting to go bad, I throw it in my pitcher and it motivates me to drink more agua!
So these are my favorite foods to keep my complexion looking so fresh and so clean, clean. What are yours?