Glow Up Grocery List: The Best Foods and Nutrients for Healthy Skin
Feeling comfortable in our own skin is something we all strive for - both figuratively and literally. So when blemishes, discoloration, or inflammation pop up, it can be an unfortunate halt in the self-love process.
Personally, while I have a great lineup of natural skincare products that I adore, I’ve always found that my skin is at its best when I’m dedicated to both my topical regimen AND my diet.
I’ve written before about the importance of a colorful, inclusive diet for clear skin, and I want to dive even deeper into what that truly means.
Here’s a list of some of the best skin-friendly nutrients, along with which foods they’re found in so you can support your skin from the inside out:
Note: I kept the list vegetarian for the sake of our planet.
Why you need it: Vitamin A might be the holy grail of skin nutrients. Get a load of these benefits: it protects against sun damage, slows signs of aging, stimulates skin cell turnover, protects against infection, smoothes wrinkles, slows oil production, evens skin tone, and boosts radiance...whew! You definitely want this on your plate.
What to eat: Carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe, spinach, kale, apricots, grapefruit, pistachio, goji berries
Why you need it: Vitamin C is essential for a montage of skin benefits including collagen production, sun protection, improved skin texture, and protection against skin discoloration - so it’s no doubt that this is a must for a healthy complexion.
What to eat: Oranges, lemons, bell peppers, avocado, broccoli, kale, papaya, strawberries, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, pineapple, mango, kiwi
Why you need it: Zinc is not just for sunscreen my friends! Zinc is an important nutrient that aids in clear, healthy skin by fighting bacteria and reducing the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes clogged pores and increases inflammation.
What to eat: Seeds (especially hemp, pumpkin and sesame), legumes, nuts, eggs, dark chocolate
Why you need them: Everyday, our skin is exposed to free radicals from things like tobacco smoke, UV radiation, and even just from our bodies breaking down food - which all cause premature aging. Antioxidants act as a great defence mechanism in fighting premature aging by protecting against free radicals and keeping skin youthful.
What to eat: Dark chocolate (yes please!), berries, artichokes, red cabbage, beans, beets, spinach
Omega-3 fatty acids
Why you need them: Like antioxidants, omega-3s help in the anti-aging department. These good fats are responsible for the health of the skin cell membrane - the barrier that keeps the bad stuff out and lets the good stuff in. Omega-3s aid in hydration, elasticity, and sun protection.
What to eat: Chia seeds, tofu, eggs, walnuts, flax seed
Why you need them: If the microbiomes in our guts are out of whack, there’s a good chance it’s showing elsewhere in our bodies as well - many times in the form of skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. Probiotics are crucial in introducing more “good bugs” into our systems to bring our bodies back into balance.
What to eat: Kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, yogurt, pickles, green olives, miso
Low Glycemic Index foods
Why you need them: Last but certainly not least, a large part of maintaining healthy skin is linked to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. High glycemic carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, and sugar for example) cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, provoking your body to release a hormone called insulin. High insulin levels, in turn, cause your oil glands to produce excess oil, and cause inflammation - making your skin a nice little breeding ground for acne.
What to eat: 100% whole grain bread, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown or basmati rice, legumes and lentils, most fruits and vegetables
Remember that skin concerns can often be a result of a variety of different factors including stress, hormone imbalance, sleep deprivation, food intolerance and more - but giving your skin the support it needs from the inside is one of the easiest things you can control for achieving a healthy, radiant complexion.
Here’s to becoming comfortable in our own skin!