10 Best Vitamin-Rich Foods for Healthy, Glowing Skin
Do you want to know the secret to glowing skin? It’s not in your makeup bag. It’s in your kitchen. The old adage, “you are what you eat” is definitely true when it comes to the condition of your skin. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and yet it is the last to receive nutrients. If your skin is healthy and glowing on the outside, then there’s a good chance that you’re taking in a sufficient amount of nutrients. The condition of your skin relies heavily on a variety of factors such as nutrition, sleep quality, hormonal balance, stress and environmental factors. You are also limited by your genetics in that you can only alter your skin color, tone and texture up to a certain point.
To optimize the quality of your skin, look to the food you eat on a daily basis. Before you shop around for yet another skin care product, make sure that your nutrition is on point first. These 10 foods are a great place to start.
10 Best Foods for Glowing Skin
Packed with antioxidants, avocados are also high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, which offer your skin protection from the elements as well as any environmental toxins that you may be exposed to on a daily basis. The polyunsaturated fatty acids protect the skin against sun damage, while the monounsaturated fats keep the top layer of your skin moist and supple.
Avocados also contain great amounts of Vitamins A, E, D and omega-9 fatty acids needed in maintaining healthy skin. (1)
Tip: Try applying it topically to soften and hydrate. You can make a moisturizing mask by combining half an avocado with a quarter cup of uncooked oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Simply mash the ingredients together and apply it to your face. Leave this paste on for 20 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
Try adding avocado to your toast with lemon juice and pepper. Experiment with guacamole recipes or spread some avocado on your sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.
Did you know that tomatoes are packed with natural vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, C, B-6, and K? What really makes the tomato great for glowing skin is lycopene, an antioxidant which has remarkable anti-aging properties and acts as a sunscreen from within. (2)
Lycopene (the phytochemical that makes the tomato red) helps defend your skin from exposure to harmful UV radiation, a major risk factor for develping skin cancer. Lycopene has also been shown to help clear up acne.
Tip: You can apply the juice or pulp of the tomato on your skin to activate the lycopene benefits. The pulp will also help prevent pimples and tighten pores.
Mix 5 tablespoons of tomato paste with 1 tablespoon of olive oil daily to get the most protection from sunburn and premature aging. This is especially beneficial for those who are out in the sun on a daily basis.
Not only is spinach revered as one of the healthiest foods in the world, it is also a renowned anti-aging option for those who prefer to more natural and holistic approaches to their skin care and cosmetics. Spinach, when consumed regularly, is also good for preserving good vision and memory.
It is rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that is important for a healthy glow. It also contains vitamins A, E, K and C, which are antioxidants that may help prevent or delay the onset of wrinkles.
Spinach helps to strengthen skin tissue and has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in flushing out toxins, resulting in radiant, glowing skin.
Tip: Make a spinach moisturizing mask by blending a half cup of spinach with two tablespoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Spread it on your skin and rinse off after 20 minutes.
Add spinach leaves to your morning omelette, or add a few sprigs to the occasional pizza slice. Spinach is versatile enough that you can add it to pretty much anything without affecting the overall flavor of the dish. It also goes great in smoothies and dips.
Forget the blush. Load up on carrots instead for that natural glow that originates from within.
The beta-carotene found in carrots helps prevent the degeneration of cells, slowing down the aging process and making your skin glow. Carrots also have a large amount of Vitamin C, which promotes collagen growth, reduces acne, and aids in reducing dark spots.
People who consume a higher amount of carotenoid foods such as carrots have more yellow tones in their skin giving their complexion a glow that appears to make them look healthier. (4)
Tip: For your skin, take a boiled carrot and mash with 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil. Apply to your face and leave on for 20 minutes then wash off with warm water.
Drink a small glass of carrot juice daily or simply add some julienned carrots to your salads.
Pumpkin has it all. It is filled with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and zinc. Zinc is vital to the production of new skin cells, regulating oil production, improving skin tone and reducing the appearance of open pores.
The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A is also referred to as retinol, a popular ingredient found in many anti-aging creams and serums. Likewise, vitamin A is essential for the growth of skin cells. (5)
When it comes to pumpkin seeds, these little wonders are packed with zinc in addition to Vitamins A, and K and the omega-3 fatty acids, so eat up!
Tip: Apply this pumpkin mask by combining 3 teaspoons of pumpkin with ½ teaspoon of milk and ½ teaspoon of honey. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse.
Grab a handful of pumpkin seeds and eat them raw as a light snack, or throw them into your curries, salads or sandwiches for an added crunch. They also pair well with a warm bowl of oats.
These nuts are a powerhouse of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are great for your skin because they help the body retain moisture.
Walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E works to block free radicals from the body which play a major part in the aging process. By consuming more vitamin E, you can reduce wrinkles and keep your skin young-looking.
Tip: Take a quarter cup of walnuts and blend with a half cup of olive oil and two tablespoons of honey, until it becomes paste like. Gently rub on your skin and leave it for 2-3 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Walnuts are great with desserts and savory fishes. Simply sprinkle them on once you’re done cooking to add texture and healthy fats. Walnuts are spoil more quickly than other nuts though, so be sure to store them properly to avoid unnecessary spoilage.
7. Sweet Potato
This pumpkin-colored vegetable works wonders for your complexion. Sweet potatoes also possess great amounts of beta carotene. Beta carotenes defend your skin against the damaging UV rays of the sun.
This sweet treat is high in vitamin C and vitamin A, which has been shown to smooth wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. It also aids in improving skin tone and healing acne scars. Additionally, sweet potatoes are a surprising source of minerals such as copper and selenium which aid in promoting cell regeneration. (6)
Tip: For your skin, poke holes in the sweet potato and microwave for about 3-5 minutes or until it is tender. Let cool and peel off the skin. Mash with a quarter cup of Greek yogurt. Gently rub it into your skin. The yogurt and sweet potato will exfoliate and moisturize your skin.
Replace refined carbohydrates with a sweet potato or two and you will notice a significant difference in not just your skin but your physique as well. While refined sugar causes inflammation in the body, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato help alleviate any inflammation related to processed foods and are also more satiating due to the fiber content.
Boiling sweet potatoes changes it’s glycemic load a bit, but it is still a much more nutrient-dense option than say, candy or sugary cereals.
Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and K, calcium, manganese, folic acid, fiber, and potassium, all of which are needed for the regeneration and the production of new cells. They also contain generous amounts of flavonoids and phytonutrients giving them that bright, red color.
Additionally, strawberries contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid which aids in preventing the destruction of collagen. Ellagic acid also works in preventing UV damage. (7)
Strawberries are also rich in alpha-hydroxy acid which aid in moisturizing and getting rid of dead skin cells.
Tip: For a refreshing facial, smash 2-3 strawberries with 1 tablespoon of honey. Massage onto your face for 2-3 minutes and rinse.
Add sliced strawberries to your oats, pastries or with some light cream on the side for a low-calorie dessert. Strawberries also go well with toast and salad.
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids add luster and softness to your skin. These healthy fats nourish your skin by reducing inflammation and decreasing clogged pores.
Salmon is one of the best fish to obtain not only these fatty acids but selenium as well. Selenium is a mineral that protects the skin from sun exposure. An added benefit, the vitamin D in salmon is great for your teeth and bones.
Tip: Buy extra fillets and freeze them to ensure you have them on hand to consume on a regular basis.
Salmon is great as a baked dish to ensure that it stays moist through the cooking process. Also, baking is one of the best cooking methods you can utilize to avoid adding unnecessary oils or butter.
Up to 75% of the human body is composed of water, so if you aren’t drinking enough, your cells can’t regenerate and remove toxins. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water per day. You could also try incorporating green tea or detox water into your regimen to further hydrate and increase your liquid intake. Just be aware that tea contains natural caffeine, which is a diuretic.
Green tea has B vitamins, folate, manganese, magnesium, potassium and caffeine. It also contains high amounts of anti-oxidants as well as amino acids, enzymes, and phytochemicals such as polyphenols. (8)
This beverage has its own supply of acne-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Tip: Use the green tea leaves as an exfoliator by opening 1-2 bags of green tea and mixing the leaves with 3 teaspoons of yogurt. Slowly massage onto your skin and let it rest for 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Freeze green tea in ice cube trays and add a few cubes to your water or in your glass of green tea.