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8 Foods we Love for Healthy Skin
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8 Foods we Love for Healthy Skin
Our skin is like a mirror for our health, mental and physical. So many different things we experience in our daily lives can show up on our skin, including when we’re stressed out, when we’ve gotten too much (or not enough) sun, or when we’re not eating cleanly. Since November is National Healthy Skin Month, and also the time of year when temperatures drop and the air gets dryer, we thought it would be the perfect time to share some of our favorite foods for keeping our skin in great shape.
Oily fish, such as salmon, are full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been shown to help maintain a healthy skin barrier, reducing inflammation and hyperpigmentation. They also help accelerate wound healing and can even prevent the development of skin cancer. No worries if you’re not a fish lover, though-- you can’t get your omega-3s from eating nuts and seeds as well.
Hydration is key to good skin health, especially when it comes to skin elasticity. While there are plenty of great fruits and vegetables that provide lots of hydration benefits (hello, watermelon), not all of them are available, or particularly tasty, this time of year. That’s why we’re loving oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, and all the other deliciously hydrating citrus fruits this month. Grapefruits get a special shoutout for the added benefit of lycopene-- the powerful antioxidant that gives food that red tint.
Antioxidants are molecules that prevent cellular damage by fighting against free radicals, which can cause heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. When it comes to our skin, antioxidants help prevent oxidative stress caused by environmental factors, especially UV rays, which speed up the aging process. Of all the antioxidant-rich food and drink out there, there’s almost nothing better than green tea, and matcha in particular. Because the whole tea leaf is consumed when drinking matcha, rather than infused and strained like other teas, matcha retains its super high levels of antioxidants. Read more about our matcha love here!
You already know that we’re a fan of all things coconut, another incredible source of much-needed hydration for our skin. Coconut water is packed with electrolytes, antioxidants, and all sorts of minerals that make it an even more nutritious option than plain water. Beyond coconut water for drinking, coconut oil, in addition to being a great oil for popcorn, is highly effective as a moisturizer when applied topically. We can't think of a better fruit than the coconut for hydrating you from the inside out.
Another powerhouse in the fight against aging skin is Vitamin C, which fights wrinkles and encourages collagen production. One terrific and tasty source of Vitamin C is the kiwi, which is at its peak between November and January. So, now is the time to go kiwi crazy!
For a healthy combination of Vitamin C and hydration, choose bell peppers of any color to cook with this winter. While their peak season ends in the fall, bell peppers of pretty good quality are available in supermarkets year round. They’re also extremely versatile-- enjoy them sliced up and dipped in hummus as a snack, or cooked into hearty winter chilis and stews.
Vitamin C can’t take all the glory when it comes to clear skin. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that may be effective at reducing UV damage in skin. Sunflower seeds are a great source of Vitamin E that make a great snack, shelled or unshelled, roasted or raw.
The approaching holidays means we’ve got chocolate on our minds. Luckily, dark chocolate is packed with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in certain plants. Studies suggest that polyphenols offer protection against UV radiation, and long-term consumption can offer protection against various diseases including cancers, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. A few ounces of dark chocolate per day (preferably at least 60% cocoa) can go a long way!
Because the skin’s appearance and our overall health are so closely linked, it’s no surprise that intuitively eating the foods you know are healthy (i.e. lots of fruits and veggies!) is good for your skin. But with options like oranges and chocolate, it’s good to know that healthy can be delicious too!