The Best Foods for Glowing Skin - Part I

by Paula Vargas 332 views Nutrition

The Best Foods for Glowing Skin - Part I

Sometimes the best beauty finds are at your local grocer, not a department store’s beauty counter.

Harness the power of natural whole foods for your best complexion yet!

In this Part I, we have a look at some of the best fat-based foods that contain skin-nourishing properties:

1. Avocados: 

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Not only do avocados taste so creamy delicious, but they pack a nutrient punch too! They contain high levels of plant sterols, flavonoids, carotenoids, phytochemicals and healthy fatty acids, which gives you a healthy glow. 

Look at your skincare, no doubt you’ll find vitamin C and vitamin E mentioned in the ingredients list, as they are popular additions to cosmetic formulations. Well, don’t just think of them as just a topical solution. 

Avocados are full of beauty-boosting vitamins like vitamin E and C!

In 100g of avocado, you'll find:

  • 2.07mg of beauty-boosting Vitamin E (The current recommendation for adult women is 7mg/day, and for men is 10mg/day).
  • 10mg of Vitamin C, with the current daily intake recommendation being 45mg/day. 

Vitamin C and E are some of the best vitamins for your skin. Vitamin C has essential anti-cancer, antioxidant properties, that can also protect you from harmful UV rays, speed up wound healing and is a critical component of collagen synthesis in the skin. Vitamin E is vital to protect against sun damage and helps to keep the skin moisturised. 

Avocado is also an excellent source of other vitamins like vitamin K, folate, vitamin B5 and vitamin B6. It’s a great source of minerals like potassium too, containing more potassium than a banana! 

The monounsaturated fats in avocados (mostly oleic acid and palmitic acid) along with its plant compounds are key for beauty. They’re excellent not just for stabilising cholesterol and blood pressure, they provide anti-inflammatory benefits and help to promote insulin sensitivity, which translates to clearer skin for you! 

Smashed avo this weekend, anyone? 

Side note: want a super potent source of vitamin E? Have a tablespoon of Wheat Germ oil – it has 20.3mg! 

2. Brazil nuts: 

Crunchy yet creamy, the exotic Brazil nuts are a lesser eaten seed but are more than worthy of having a place in your beauty pantry. Originating from one of the largest and longest-living trees in the Amazon, the tree can live 500-800 years!  

Just one brazil nut contains more than the Australian recommended daily intake for selenium, currently at 50mcg for adults.

One brazil nut has 68-91mcg of selenium per nut! 

What’s the fuss about selenium?

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It’s a mineral that helps protect your skin, neutralising free radical damage and fighting oxidative stress. Selenium safeguards the cell membranes that are the protective coating around cells - this helps to prevent premature wrinkles, and protect your skin against inflammation, pigmentation and UV damage. This beauty mineral works in synergy with other antioxidants like Vitamins A and E, and minerals like zinc (which it also contains).

Selenium is also a natural mood booster, and what’s more beautiful than a genuine smile? 

Like other nuts, brazil nuts also contain ellagic acid, which helps to protect your body. Ellagic acid is an antioxidant compound that allows you to remove toxins and guards against free radicals.  
Note: They are super high in calories (33 calories for just one brazil nut), so take this into account when including them in your meal plan! 

3. Dark chocolate: 

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Eat more chocolate for beauty? Sign us up! 

You might see the terms’ cacao’ and ‘cocoa’ used interchanged, but they are two different things. Though they both come from the cacao bean, coca is heated to high temperatures and is highly processed, so it strips away a lot of the beneficial properties. 

Scientific research tells us that eating dark chocolate can improve your skin texture, help to reflect harmful UV rays to protect your skin and also hydrate your skin. The flavonoids present in cacao can promote skin health by scavenging free radicals and preventing your skin from premature ageing. 

Raw cacao is rich in vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin D and Vitamin E. Cacao also contains essential minerals like iron, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium

The delicious compounds in dark chocolate make it a natural pain reliever that can help combat the stress that makes you get premature fine lines and wrinkles! 

What makes choosing the right product difficult is the fact that sometimes the term ‘cocoa’ is used when it should say ‘cacao’. Therefore, it’s important to do your due research. Cocoa will generally be less bitter and more appealing to eat (sorry). Make sure to buy 85% dark chocolate. Unfortunately, store-bought chocolate is usually highly processed and the heat-treated cocoa types. If you go to your health food store, you’ll be able to find organic and raw chocolate. Go for brands that show you the source, and all nutritional information. 

Here’s a recipe for antioxidant-packed raw beauty chocolate that combines cacao and collagen!

4. Olive oil: 

The most significant component of olive oil is oleic acid, a beauty-boosting monounsaturated fat. Without getting too technical, when you have plenty of oleic acids, your cell membranes are more resistant to oxidation, which slows down ageing. 

It also reduces bad cholesterol and allows the blood to nourish your cells properly.

A tablespoon of olive oil also contains 1.94 milligrams of radiance-promoting Vitamin E n the form of Alpha-tocopherol. 

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At your local supermarket, you’ll probably find extra virgin olive oils with polyphenols content of 100 mg/kg, which is low (it should be 200mg/kg). You’re more likely to find these from a specialist supplier or farmer’s market. You can ask your supplier for the acidity level and polyphenol content, which aren’t displayed on labels. For a quick taste test, a better quality oil will make you cough! Sounds weird, right? The more substantial antioxidant presence means a more bitter taste and peppery effect when you try it.  

Dr David Sinclair, renowned longevity expert, touts oleic acid is a potent sirtuin activator (your longevity genes). Research on mice has also shown that olive oil taken orally can reduce skin ageing that is brought on by ongoing mental stress. 

5. Wild-caught salmon: 

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Not only will salmon provide you with necessary protein for your body’s repair, but it also contains a great source of omega 3’s for beautiful skin.

The skin, in particular, is rich in hyaluronic acid, so have skin-on salmon occasionally. The skin will also further boost your intake of omega 3s!  

Omega-3s and hyaluronic acid aren't the only reason why salmon is so loved. Salmon contains skin-loving vitamins, biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid and the all-important astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant and keto-carotenoid that gives salmon its deep pink colour. It has anti-inflammatory properties that work synergistically with the other nutrients, including omega-3 to help you glow from within. 

It's important to mention again that I’m referring to wild-caught salmon, as the commercial varieties are more likely to contain contaminants and have a less favourable ratio of omega 3 to omega 6's.

Lunch tip: A great way to get a supercharged nutritional snack is salmon roe on top of half an avocado – your skin (and energy) will love you for it! 

Not a fan of oily fish? Try some fish oil capsules instead!

You can glow-up today through beauty nutrition: 

Prevention is the best way to guard against external skin ageing. By having a healthy lifestyle (nutritious diet and exercise, stress management), you’re putting yourself in the best position to look younger than your years for a long time to come. Stay tuned for Part II of this beauty edition!

 

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Paula Vargas

Fitness & Nutrition

I studied Law and Marketing at University, but my love for fitness and nutrition lead me to become a qualified PT and Precision Nutrition certified coach. 

If I’m not at the gym, you can catch me researching nutrition, supplements and human psychology. Let’s connect on Instagram! 

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