Whenever I have a personal issue to deal with—be it psychological, physical, internal or external—my first question is always, “How can I eat my way out of this?”
That may sound absurd, but I’m totally serious. With all the systems in our bodies being so interdependent, the best way to affect a change is by carefully considering what we’re ingesting. Food, air, and water are the biggest variables in our bodies, and have a major impact on our mood, digestion, immune system, and even our skin.
Since the amount we can impact the air we breathe is pretty minimal, and there’s not much to say about water (the answer is always DRINK MORE), I’m gonna focus on my favorite topic: Food.
I love cooking food, I love growing it, reading about it, or just ogling it on Instagram and Food Gawker. Today I’m writing about it, and more specifically, sharing some of my favorite meals and talking about the benefits each ingredient has to offer your skin.
Let’s start with a nutrient-packed smoothie this morning, and switch out the coffee for a cup of green tea.
Berries: Berries are a great source of antioxidants that fight free radicals that prematurely age skin. They’re rich in Vitamins C, B-complex, and amino acids that boost collagen and elastin for supple skin. Berries are also high in fiber, which will help stave off hunger, keep your digestion moving, and regulate insulin production.
Avocado: Avocados are rich in Vitamins E and C, which boost collagen and improve skin texture.
Oats: I love the texture that a little raw oatmeal adds to a smoothie, but it’s also a great anti-inflammatory ingredient for sensitive skin.
Almond Milk: Skip the regular milk (which can exacerbate acne in some people) and opt for almond instead, which is high in vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and the minerals copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, and selenium—which boosts white blood cells to help fight off infections (internally, as well as on your skin).
Chia Seeds: Will give your smoothie a protein-rich crunch, while the omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and dryness, and increase circulation.
Moringa Powder: Want an extra boost? Add a spoonful of moringa powder that has, per gram, more Vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more protein than eggs, and more iron than spinach (grab some from our sister brand Minga Foods here)!
Green Tea: Green Tea is rich in polyphenols, which are an incredible group of antioxidants that can increase skin cell growth and moisture retention and help the skin protect itself against UV rays.
I prefer a salad for lunch over something heavy so I can get back to work after without feeling weighed down and sluggish. That said, I want my salad piled high with the kind of goodies that won’t leave me staring longingly at the greasy burger at the next table over.
Have a mix of leafy greens and what I call “grassy greens” (like barley grass, wheatgrass, alfalfa and chlorella), as well as some nuts, colorful vegetables, and a good garlicky vinaigrette.
Kale: Leafy greens have a high water and fiber content, both of which help with digestion. They’re also high in vitamins and minerals across the board.
Alfalfa: Alfalfa is a great source of calcium and magnesium, which are good for tissue repair. Adding as much green to your diet as possible will also boost your chlorophyll, which increases oxygen flow to the skin and can cleanse it of toxins like pesticides and heavy metals!
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which stimulates circulation and can reduce the appearance of dark circles below your eyes.
Carrots: Carrots are a common ingredient in soaps and topical skincare treatments, but you can get the same benefits by eating them, including lots of the antioxidant Vitamin A.
Beets: Beets not only add that unique purple hue to your salad, but are full of antioxidants and minerals that make it a great detoxifier for the skin.
Pine nuts: I happen to love pine nuts on a salad, but really any nut that's high in selenium will boost your white blood cells, helping to fight off acne causing bacteria.
Garlic: Garlic is naturally full of a compound called allicin, which reacts with the blood to create a powerful antibacterial and antiviral, capable of attacking the culprits causing acne to form. Allicin is most potent in raw garlic, so it’s perfect when consumed in a salad dressing.
Finish off the day with a strong, protein-heavy dinner. I recommend a pan-seared salmon with sides of roasted sweet potato and sautéed spinach with garlic.
Fish: Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA, which fight acne and help speed up the skin’s natural repairing process.
Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes are high in betacarotene, which converts to Vitamin A in your system, and helps improve circulation, bringing more oxygen to the skin.
Spinach: Spinach, another leafy green, adds chlorophyll, Vitamin A, and iron to round this meal out.