The Best Foods for Glowing Skin - Part II

by Paula Vargas 324 views Nutrition

The Best Foods for Glowing Skin - Part II

Welcome back to the beauty series. In Part II, we're looking at some of the best plant foods for your inner and outer beauty! 

What you eat can either help or harm your skin; clinical research and epidemiology have confirmed that nutrition and eating habits do have an impact on skin health and aging. This is great news - you're in the driver's seat to start making better choices today!

PS: Have you checked out The Best Foods for Glowing Skin - Part I? If not, give it a read for the best healthy dietary fats that will make your skin the best it's ever been!

1. Blueberries: 

lemon water

Though berries in general are amazing for your beauty goals, I wanted to mention blueberries because of their vitamin c and anthocyanin content. These two antioxidants promote collagen synthesis, which helps to give your skin structure and suppleness. 

Anthocyanins are what give blueberries their deep colour and are potent antioxidants that fight free radicals.

They are a type of polyphenol that helps protect your skin, prevent degradation of collagen and promote collagen synthesis. Not only are they ‘nature’s candy’, they’re one of the easiest to find super foods around.

Always shop organic where you can! 

2. Broccoli (or even better- broccoli sprouts!) 

Not only is broccoli an easy and delicious way to get your fibre up, it’ll help you lose fat and also provide necessary nutrients for your skin. If you want to turbocharge the benefits, grow your own broccoli sprouts at home (or you can choose a quality supplement). It’s well studied in anti-ageing and longevity.

The caveat is that you need to chew your veg properly! The enzymes needed are released when a plant is damaged (cut, chopped or chewed). 

 

eggs

 

Why broccoli sprouts?

Part of their longevity promoting and beauty boosting benefits come from sulforaphane, which makes cruciferous veggies some of the healthiest on the planet. Though the current scientific evidence is limited to cell and animal research, the potential of broccoli sprouts in particular is huge, due to it’s concentration of sulforaphane. What’s the big deal about this organic compound? In simple terms, it actives a particular protein in your body, which then binds to a ‘switch’ that turns on antioxidants in the body. This helps to your body to make glutathione and other necessary antioxidants, needed for your beautiful skin. 

You’ll also find broccoli and broccoli sprouts are full of important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc and the skin protecting carotenoid lutein. No time to devote to growing your own broccoli sprouts? You can find concentrated sprouts at your local health food store or find them in these blends:

3. Dark Leafy greens: 

lemon water

You probably already know dark leafy greens are good for you, but did you know they contain a beauty ingredient often found in skincare?

High in Hyaluronic acid, dark leafy greens should be a staple in your beauty routine. Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient in many serums and cosmetic formulations, because of its skin plumping, smoothing and hydrating effect. 

Can you still get skin benefits by eating it rather than using it topically? Research appears to say yes: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled 12 week study concluded that oral hyaluronic acid inhibits skin wrinkles and improves the skin’s condition. 

Leafy vegetables such as kale and salads contain not only hyaluronic acid but also many other valuable active ingredients such as magnesium, which is necessary for the production of hyaluronic acid. With a green smoothie or fresh salad, you ensure a sufficient hyaluronic acid intake. 

You should aim to always include plenty of veggies in general in your diet. With a high-water content (96%), cucumber is one of the best hydrating foods out there! 

Some people are concerned about the levels of oxalates, but unless you’re chugging down tons of heavy green smoothies or have a specific medical condition, this shouldn’t be an issue. Use common sense when consuming any food – moderation is best. 

Struggling to get your greens intake up? Check out these suggestions:

4. Sweet potato: 

Carotenoids for a healthy glow! 

Fuel your body and mind with good, clean carbohydrates in the form of sweet potato, and give your skin the beauty love it needs at the same time!

Not only does the fibre in sweet potato keep you fuller for longer so you’re less likely to reach for quick sugar hits, it's full of beauty nutrition that will have your feeling luminous. 

1 cup of sweet potato gives you over 100% of your recommended daily intakes of vitamin C and vitamin A! They also give you the beauty loving vitamin B6, folate, niacin, calcium and potassium.

eggs

Sweet potatoes should be a regular in your diet, due to their high concentrations of beta-carotene. This beta-carotene is transformed by the liver into vitamin A for your skin, whi8ch helps cells to repair and renew themselves.

A delicious serving of sweet potato can also help you get more beauty sleep– it contains vitamin B6, which promotes serotonin and melatonin production.

Here’s to your ultimate glow-up: 

Remember that prevention is better than a cure for beautiful skin over the long haul. Keep working on the basics: choose the foods that have the best nutrients for your overall health and beauty, keep exercising and manage external stress. Though you should concentrate your nutrition efforts on whole foods, supplementation can be a useful tool to help you get the most out of your diet. By keeping your beauty goals front of mind, you're more likely to stick to your healthy eating plan for life!

Cao, C., Xiao, Z., Wu, Y., & Ge, C. (2020, March 24). Diet and Skin Aging-From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Retrieved October 08, 2020, from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/3/870/htm

Health benefits of extra virgin olive oils: Vitamin E and antioxidants. (2019, February 17). Retrieved October 08, 2020, from https://artisansoftaste.com/2019/02/health-benefits-of-extra-virgin-olive-oils/

Heinrich U et al. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1565-9.

Yoon HS, Kim JR, Park GY, Kim JE, Lee DH, Lee KW, Chung JH. Cocoa Flavanol Supplementation Influences Skin Conditions of Photo-Aged Women: A 24-Week Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial. J Nutr. 2016 Jan;146(1):46-50. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.217711. Epub 2015 Nov 18. PMID: 26581682.

Katta R, Desai SP. Diet and dermatology: the role of dietary intervention in skin disease. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(7):46-51.

Lanza B, Ninfali P. Antioxidants in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Table Olives: Connections between Agriculture and Processing for Health Choices. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(1):41. Published 2020 Jan 2. doi:10.3390/antiox9010041

Maeve C Cosgrove, Oscar H Franco, Stewart P Granger, Peter G Murray, Andrew E Mayes, Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 86, Issue 4, October 2007, Pages 1225–1231, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/86.4.1225

Najt, C., Khan, S., Heden, T., Witthuhn, B., Perez, M., Heier, J., . . . Mashek, D. (2019, December 31). Lipid Droplet-Derived Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Traffic via PLIN5 to Allosterically Activate SIRT1. Retrieved October 08, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1097276519308949

Oe M, Sakai S, Yoshida H, et al. Oral hyaluronan relieves wrinkles: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study over a 12-week period. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017;10:267-273. Published 2017 Jul 18. doi:10.2147/CCID.S141845

Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298-307. doi:10.4161/derm.22876

Oe M, Sakai S, Yoshida H, et al. Oral hyaluronan relieves wrinkles: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study over a 12-week period. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017;10:267-273. Published 2017 Jul 18. doi:10.2147/CCID.S141845

Singh M., Agarwal S., Agarwal M., Rachana (2020) Benefits of Theobroma cacao and Its Phytocompounds as Cosmeceuticals. In: Swamy M. (eds) Plant-derived Bioactives. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-1761-7_21

Williams S et al. Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Sep;8(3):169-73.

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! 

View Paula's Articles