When I was younger, I couldn’t have cared less about my skin. I figured, I can just cover it up with foundation, so like – why does it matter? I’ve started to grow out of my heavy makeup days, and I now have such an appreciation for clear, glowing skin. Kudos to you ladies who can go out without an ounce of face makeup on – I’m jealous!My skin was always clear up until a few years ago, and I know I took it for granted. Once I started to struggle with some acne breakouts, I looked to anything and everything to minimize them. Aside from my basic skincare regimen, I was pretty clueless as to other means of reducing my breakouts.
It wasn’t until I picked up Eat Pretty Every Day by Jolene Hart that I realized the relationship between my diet and my skin. This book is a 365 day guide to eating for beauty and radiance. Hart provides mantras for mealtime to promote mindful eating, healthy & beautifying recipes, and my favorite part – goes into detail about foods that directly affect the look and feel of your skin. Here are some that she recommended!
The Best Foods to Eat for Glowing Skin
1. Olive Oil
Olive Oil is considered a healthy fat, and is chock full of vitamins and antioxidant properties. Most commonly, people incorporate Olive Oil into their diet by using it in their cooking. Substituting olive oil for butter can help cut down on calories in dishes and offer some extra nutrients. But also, your favorite EVOO has some lesser-known beauty related uses. I know it may sound scary, but a thin layer of Olive Oil can actually be a substitute for your night time moisturizer. It’s known to hydrate the skin, and even help fight bacteria that causes acne. My mom even uses it to remove her makeup (especially that stubborn mascara). The chemical makeup of the oil quickly breaks down any makeup and removes it gently. Another benefit – it improves your skin’s elasticity, which can delay aging and wrinkles.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is another example of an antioxidant! Cocoa contains Flavonols, which help protect skin from UV damage and promote blood flow. UV rays are extremely damaging to skin’s elasticity and can cause premature wrinkles, so protection from them is a must! Flavonols also promote skin hydration and smoothness. The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa. More cocoa = more flavonols. More chocolate = glowing skin. Sounds like a win-win to me.
3. Yellow Bell Peppers
Once again, yellow bell peppers (and their green counterparts) are also an awesome source of antioxidants. Are we noticing a trend here? Studies show that those who eat yellow peppers and dark leafy greens experience less wrinkles than those who don’t consume any. These antioxidants are powerful, people! Try to get in around 250 grams of yellow and green veggies a day to reap the benefits.
4. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are one of my favorite snacks. I sprinkle them on top of my salads, bake them into granola, or just eat them by the handful! The skin benefits of Sunflower Seeds lies in their Vitamin E content. Vitamin E is known to reduce inflammation in the skin which can lead to acne and irritation, that’s why Vitamin E can be found in a lot of skincare products! In just one ounce, Sunflower Seeds contain 37% of your daily dose, so get crackin’!
Carrots have many wonderful benefits for your skin. For starters, Carrots have high Beta Carotene levels. Beta Carotene is an (you guessed it!) antioxidant that gets converted into Vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A contributes to a healthy skin tone, reduced inflammation, and less oily skin. Vitamin A leaves the skin softer, smoother, and firmer, allowing for less wrinkles and a more youthful complexion. Does this all sound good to you? Enjoy some carrots in your next salad or even dipped in hummus for a nutritious mid-day snack.
Foods to Avoid if Glowing Skin is your Goal
A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods that have a high glycemic index. Foods that are high on the glycemic index scale are metabolized quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar. These spikes can lead to dry skin and acne. Some examples of food with a high glycemic index include white breads and pastas, processed snacks, potato chips, desserts, and sugary breakfast cereals. All of these foods can be common in the diet, so cutting them out can drastically improve the look and feel of skin.
Diary is another culprit of acne breakouts. The reality of it is that a lot of the dairy we consume comes from cows that have either been treated with excess hormones, or are pregnant – thus creating more hormones. Those hormones are transferred to the milk we drink or cheese / yogurt we consume. All of these excess hormones cause inflammation and oil production in our body, 2 leading causes of acne. If you find yourself struggling with breakouts, try removing dairy from your diet for 2 weeks, and see if your skin thanks you for it. Chances are, it will!
I hope that by incorporating some of these foods into your diet (and removing some!) you see a change in your skin! Let me know in the comments if you have any other acne fighting foods!