*this post has been extensively updated on 08-June-2020
I'm sure you all have heard this before: having beautiful skin goes deeper than the surface! It might sound corny, but you really are what you eat. Investing in good quality products and cosmetics is useful, however feeding your skin from the inside is the first and the most necessary step of any skincare routine. Eating healthy and smart won’t only make your body look great, it’s also a key to gorgeous skin, hair and nails!
Here's a list of foods and ingredients to always keep in stock if you want to make your skin happy
- Fruits & Veggies
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Fruits and veggies - mix all the colors!
Fruits and vegetables exist in a great variety of colors, and it is not only to make your meals look more appealing. The truth is, the color of these foods comes from the phytochemicals in plants and also depends on the nutrients inside the fruits and vegetables, which means that mixing the colors increases the chance of taking many different nutrients that your body craves.
We are often told that eating green veggies is highly important, that it would make us healthy and strong. It is true, but eating all the other colors, such as red, orange and purple is just as important. Each color indicates different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and it is necessary for both our beauty and health to have enough of all. You really can’t go wrong with vegetables and fruits. Make your plate look like a rainbow!
There is probably no person in the world unaware of the importance of this vitamin. We have all been told from a young age to take this vitamin to avoid getting sick. Doctors tell us that it is an incredible boost for our immune system. What makes this vitamin irreplaceable? Well, it is such a powerful antioxidant and it protects your body from harmful molecules called free radicals. It can prevent your body from many chronic diseases and, when your body works properly, it makes your skin glow!
Another benefit of this vitamin is that it helps with the absorption of iron from food. Iron that comes from plants is difficult to absorb and vitamin C helps to convert it to its easier absorbing form. This is very important if you don’t eat enough meat (if you are vegan, vegetarian, or just don’t like to eat meat). If too little iron is absorbed, your body won’t function well, you won’t have enough energy and your skin is likely to lose some of its glow and brightness
This vitamin also helps wounds and scars to heal faster by strengthening your skin’s defense system, so if you have problems with acne and acne scars make sure that you are taking enough vitamin C every day.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin since your body can’t produce it. That’s why it is so important to take it regularly through food or supplements. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. It is not easy to take too much of vitamin C through food and your body naturally gets rid of the excessive amounts, but as with any other nutrient, don't go overboard with supplementation. One of the most famous proponents of the benefits of Vitamin C was Linus Pauling who was purportedly taking a daily dose of 3 grams! This is not a challenge so do not try to beat him in this :)
You may have heard that applying vitamin E topically can help you have brighter and healthier skin, but taking enough vitamin E orally is equally, if not even more important. Just as vitamin C, it’s an essential nutrient that acts as a very strong antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory performance, which makes it soothing and calming. This vitamin also works great at reducing UV damage to the skin and supporting the skin’s health in general.
Vitamin E is best absorbed when taken through food. Many popular foods are rich in this nutrient, like vegetable oils, broccoli, salmon, nuts and seeds. Most people don’t really need to take supplements, but if you have a reason to think that your levels of vitamin E aren’t high enough, you could consult your doctor about taking it as a supplement. You should aim for around 15 mg of vitamin E daily and the more comes from real food, the better the absorption.
Low-fat diet is such a no-no! Eating fatty foods will actually make you shine, if you know how to choose the right foods. It is proven that people who eat food rich in omega-3 have less sun damage on their skin, their nails and hair grow faster, and their skin is less wrinkled. Eating omega-3 rich fish 1-2 times a week (here's an excuse to load up on that salmon sushi), putting chia and flax seeds in your smoothies and consuming canola or walnut oil should be enough to keep your skin, hair and nails from looking dull and unhealthy. No wonder that Mediterranean women have such amazing skin!
Taking live bacteria and yeast might not sound very appealing, but it is undoubtedly beneficial for you. Many microorganisms naturally live in our gut and on skin and dictate a big part of our overall health. Probiotics actually keep your gut happy, and if your gut is happy so is your whole body! If you have 15 minutes, check out the impact of microbiome on your overall health in this inspiring TED Talk by Ruairi Robertson.
Getting back to skincare, t is so important to know that rosacea, acne and eczema are usually the sign that there is a problem inside our body and probiotics might be the way to solve these problems. Probiotic benefits for the skin are numerous and they help us absorb all the other nutrients, like copper and magnesium. Probiotics are found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar, in yogurt and kefir. However, nutritionists agree that the average diet nowadays doesn’t provide enough probiotics, so consider taking probiotic supplements.
Eating healthy is not always easy. Sometimes we just feel like heading to McDonald’s or eating a whole box of ice cream by ourselves. And that is completely fine! But we should always make sure that we are providing our body enough nutrients and limit the food that might taste awesome, but brings only damage to our health and looks (but hey, cheat days still exist). Real queens of self-care know that diet and beauty routine go hand in hand and both are necessary for that glowing, healthy look!
What are some of your favourite foods for healthy skin? We looooove having sushi. (hey, it's salmon - it counts).