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Eat your way to beautiful skin

nutrition

The quest for a clear, glowing complexion is an ongoing matter for many people. Hundreds – or thousands – of dollars are spent every year in the search of a flawless skin. Unfortunately, we often forget an important detail: the first step towards healthy looking skin starts from the inside out. After all, skin is the largest organ in the body and needs to be well nourished just like all other organs and systems.

Here are my suggestions for the best ingredients for the skin and what should be avoided.

1. Water. It is the single, most important item for a clear skin. Primarily, our skin needs a lot of water to be hydrated. When this doesn’t happen, skin gets dry and scaly. Remember this: if you drink water just when you are thirsty, that means you are already dehydrated. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water can improve some cases of acne in a matter of days. As an organ of elimination, the skin needs plenty of water to flush out waste. And this can be one of the factors for acne outbreaks.

water

2. Green tea. A daily cup delivers a good amount of the catechin phytonutrient which is both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. However, it should be consumed moderately because it can impair the absorption of iron. 
3. Citrus fruits. Their vitamin C content is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, vitamin C has an important role in the production of collagen, the protein that is responsible for skin firmness.
4. Spinach and other dark leafy greens. Besides being high in vitamin C, spinach is also a good source of folate, which can help even out your skin. 
5. Onion, garlic and cruciferous veggies. Rich in sulphur, which is a main component of the glutathione antioxidant. Sulfur also takes part in the synthesis of collagen.

onion & garlic

6. Purple cabbage. It has double benefits: it fights free radicals that cause skin aging and improves circulation, bringing nutrients to new cells, elastin and collagen.

7. Cucumber. Its peel contains silica, which plays a role in the formation of connective tissues, such as collagen. Its flesh helps maintain skin hydrated due to its large water content. It has been traditionally used topically to relieve puffiness under the eyes.

veggies

8. Sweet potatoes and carrots. They are packed with beta-carotene, which is the precursor of vitamin A, another antioxidant. As a bonus, they help give the skin a natural glow.
9. Avocados. They are rich in healthy fat, which makes them a natural moisturizer – and you can make them into facial masks as well! It is antioxidant due to its vitamin E content. 
10. Salmon and sardines. They are among the best sources of omega-3 that is a powerful anti-inflammatory for the whole body, including the skin. For vegetarians, walnuts and flaxseed are also excellent sources of omega-3.
11. Eggs from pastured chickens. The yolk is one of the best sources of vitamin A, an antioxidant that plays a role in skin cell growth. In addition, the yolk is an excellent source of vitamin K2, which prevents calcification of elastin, thus helping to smooth out wrinkles. Egg whites are considered the perfect protein, necessary to the maintenance of collagen and elastin.
12. Almonds: rich in vitamin E, the most abundant fat-soluble vitamin in the skin, which is an antioxidant, protecting from UV damage.
13. Brazil nuts. The richest source of selenium, which together with vitamin E rich foods, increase the action of the glutathione. When combined, they have also shown improvements in reducing acne. For better absorption of minerals, soak nuts before eating them.
14. Pumpkin seeds. One of the best plant-based sources of zinc, offers some relief for acne when consumed together with vitamin A rich foods. It is a good idea to soak them before eating to increase mineral absorption.


nuts

15. Milk kefir: the mother of all fermented foods, packed with 32 different beneficial bacteria and yeast, it is excellent to a healthy microbiome and is linked to healthy skin. If you cannot have dairy, other fermented food such as sauerkraut or kimchi can be helpful as well, when eaten on a regular basis.

The bottom line is: a whole food provides the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients necessary for healthy skin. Avoid everything that can counter all the above mentioned nutrients and foods, such as sugar, refined grains, trans-fats, refined vegetable oils, GMOs, artificial colours and flavours, additives, preservatives.

Now enjoy a salad loaded with nutrients for a glowing skin. With veggies, protein and healthy fats, it can be eaten on its own as a complete meal.

The glowing super salad

Time: 20 minutes | Yield: 2 people

Soak nuts and seeds ahead of time, preferably the day before.

Ingredients 

Dressing

  • ¼ cup effervescent plain kefir
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon or 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients. Reserve.

Salad

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup kale, chopped 
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped (peel in)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced
  • ¼ cup wild salmon (optional)
  • 2 tbsp raw almonds, soaked 
  • 4 raw Brazil nuts, soaked
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, soaked

Preparation

  1. Make a bed of leaves (spinach, kale and cabbage). Add cucumber, avocado, eggs and salmon (if using). Mix gently. 
  2. Add carrots. Stir again. 
  3. Pour the dressing. Mix. 
Sprinkle Brazil nuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds on top.

By Fernanda Cano - Cycles of Life Nutrition


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