A lot of people have problem skin; either dry and flaky, inflamed and rash-prone, too oily, acne-prone, etc. Mainly in my twenties, while eating a “normal” diet largely made up of animal products, I had frequent bouts of cystic acne on my back of neck and back, sometimes on my face…it was pretty gross and embarrassing and I thought I’d never be rid of those nasty painful bumps. But eventually it all cleared up and now I only very occasionally get a pimple which goes away pretty quickly.
It’s my belief that pimples, etc., are the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins using the skin to expel them, but what do I know? There are all sorts of theories and advice regarding skin issues. One thing’s true though, I believe, and that’s that eating right and taking proper care of yourself can give you healthy, smooth skin. So below are ten foods that are great for your skin, which should go a long way towards solving any nasty skin issues.
Firstly, for a head start, avoid excess sugar, alcohol, and junk foods (like deep fried and loaded with salt). Drink plenty of water, and lead a healthy lifestyle; plenty of exercise, good sleep habits, gentle but thorough cleansing methods, etc.. Never leave makeup on overnight while sleeping, and use makeup sparingly, preferring the more natural products.
10 Skin-Healthy Foods (in random order)
For omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, selenium, protein, zinc, etc. Vitamin E and selenium are antioxidants, and omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in the body, leading to healthier skin. Other omega-3 vegan foods are: flaxseed meal, chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, and hemp seeds, among others.
For healthy, unsaturated fat which promotes healthy, supple, smooth skin. Avocados are a good source of vitamin E which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from damage. Vitamin E is said to be more effective when combined with vitamin C, so a green salad including avocados and red bell peppers, etc., is always a great idea.
A great source of skin-healthy vitamin C, tomatoes also contain all of the main carotenoids including lycopene, which all protect the skin against sun damage, thus preventing wrinkles. Since the carotenoids are fat soluble, it’s best to eat them with a good fat like that from avocados, etc.
4. Organic Soy Foods
Organic, because conventional soy foods are heavily genetically modified. Soy foods like tofu, soy milk and tempeh contain isoflavones which either mimic or block estrogen in the human body, and are said to benefit the skin. A small study of women showed that their wrinkles and skin elasticity improved after eating soy isoflavones for 2–3 months. After menopause, soy can improve skin moisture and increase collagen. Soy isoflavones are also said to protect the skin from UV damage and skin cancers.
5. Organic Strawberries
For vitamin C and other nutrients, organic strawberries are especially good. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can prevent wrinkles by promoting elasticity. Other foods rich in vitamin C and other skin-healthy nutrients are oranges, kiwi, other berries, etc. Organic strawberries are much preferred over conventional due to strawberries being so absorbent, meaning they absorb and hold pesticides and other undesirable substances used in conventional farming.
6. Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds
For vitamin E, selenium, zinc and protein, all vital for healthy skin and good health in general. Preferably raw, but for better taste, lightly toasted is okay, just not as perfect as raw. All nuts and seeds are also good for the skin, but it’s good to put a limit on them as they’re quite high in calories.
Chock full of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamins A and C, lutein, vitamin K, and sulforaphane. Vitamins A and C are covered elsewhere here, while lutein is a carotenoid similar to beta-carotene which protects your skin from oxidation. Sulforaphane is said to have anti-cancer effects, including some types of skin cancer, and to protect against sun damage and maintain your skin’s collagen levels.
8. Sweet Potatoes
For beta-carotene which functions as provitamin A, which is converted into vitamin A in a normal, healthy body. Sweet potatoes are the richest vegetable source of beta-carotene. Carotenoids keep the skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock, preventing sunburn and cell death which lead to dry, wrinkled skin.
9. Organic Red and Yellow Bell Peppers
A great source of beta-carotene/vitamin A, bell peppers also are a good source of vitamin C which is necessary for creating collagen which is a firming and strengthening protein for the skin. It’s best to get only organic bell peppers, as these, like strawberries, are on the “dirty dozen” list for containing the most unwanted substances when conventionally farmed.
10. Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate, but only dark (dairy free) chocolate and only in moderation, since it’s high in sugar and calories. (Sugar is one substance that is unhealthy for the skin if overly indulged in.) Cocoa powder, of course, is sugar free and much healthier than sweetened chocolate bars. In a study of cocoa powder, after 6–12 weeks of consuming it, participants had “thicker,” moister skin, also less inflamed. In another study, dark chocolate was shown to protect against sun damage.