Want naturally clear, healthy skin? The solution is on your plate! In this guest post, natural beauty expert Nadia Neumann from Body Unburdened is breaking down the best foods for your skin. No more expensive facials, no more toxic chemicals. Check it out!
It's almost the end of 2017 (whaaa? did this year even happen?!) and with that likely comes all sorts of goals and planning and resolutions. Maybe you want to lose weight (promise me you won't count calories, okay? Do this instead!).
Maybe you want to reduce stress, slow down and enjoy your life more. We've got you covered with this guide here.
Or perhaps you want to finally clear up your skin once and for all. Well, then I've got just the post for you! I’ve called in my friend Nadia Neumann, a certified nutritional therapy practitioner, founder of the popular healthy living blog Body Unburdened and author of the brand new book Glow: The Nutritional Approach to Naturally Gorgeous Skin. I’m so excited for Nadia to guide you through the best foods for your skin. Take it away, Nadia!
The best-kept secret to naturally clear, healthy skin? It’s found on your dinner plate!
The fact of the matter is: our diets have a tremendous influence on our skin. This is something I wish I had known years ago, when I first started experiencing adult acne and seeing the signs of premature aging (yes, both at once!). To think of all the money and time (and tears) that I would have saved…
After years of looking to lotions and peels and prescriptions for naturally clear, smooth, healthy skin, I finally got the results I was looking for when I started eating a nutrient-dense, real food diet, and working to remedy a number of internal imbalances — like poor digestion and gut health, hormonal imbalances, blood sugar dysregulation, and chronic inflammation — that manifest in the skin.
While the connection between nutrition and skin health is missing from most conversations regarding skincare and in Western medicine, I’m on a mission to change that with my new book Glow: The Nutritional Approach to Naturally Gorgeous Skin. It’s a practical guide to providing your skin with the nutrients it needs to build, protect, and repair itself, as well as how to remedy the internal imbalances that trigger common skin issues like acne, eczema, and premature aging.
A number of specific foods help to remedy these imbalances and support skin health. Check it out!
Best Foods For Skin: Gut-Loving Fermented Vegetables
Fermented vegetables are loaded with probiotics. These healthy bacteria aid digestion and support gut health, which are key for skin health.
- When digestion is impaired, our bodies can’t properly absorb and assimilate the nutrients in our food. Even if we’re eating the most nutrient-dense foods, many of those nutrients will go to waste!
- Digestive distress is a major cause of chronic inflammation in the body, which is a major trigger behind the inflammatory skin issues like acne and eczema, and also causes premature aging.
- Healthy gut bacteria actually synthesize a number of the key skin-supporting vitamins, like biotin and vitamin K2.
Best Foods For Skin: Omega-3 Rich Cold-Water Fish
Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are critical for the anti-inflammatory process. Inflammation is the skin’s archenemy: it not only accelerates aging, but triggers inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and dermatitis. Adding more omega-3 EFAs into your diet helps to reduce skin-irritating inflammation.
A number of studies have also demonstrated that omega-3s can decrease the redness and burning associated with UV exposure as well as decrease the risk of certain types of skin cancer.
Salmon – a great source of omega-3 EFAs – is also rich in the powerhouse antioxidant astaxanthin, which helps fight free radical damage (astaxanthin is actually said to be 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C!).
Plus, the healthy fats found in cold-water fish help keep the skin supple and moisturized. In addition to salmon, sardines and anchovies are great sources of omega-3 EFAs.
Best Foods For Skin: Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric
The curcumin in turmeric is another anti-inflammatory hard-hitter. Since turmeric is fat-soluble, pair it with some healthy fats to maximize absorption. Black pepper has also been shown to increase the bioavailability and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin.
In order to get enough curcumin to experience its anti-inflammatory benefits, I recommend taking it in supplement form. My pick is Truvani's Turmeric, which is an organic, glyphosate residue-free turmeric supplement that's also regularly tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
Best Foods For Skin: Antioxidant-Rich Berries
You’ve likely heard of free radicals before in regards to skin aging: these molecules damage cellular DNA, damage collagen, and impair collagen synthesis. Yep, they spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for the skin (and really, the body generally).
That’s where antioxidants come in: they neutralize free radicals. And berries are LOADED with them! Plus, berries are low in sugar, meaning you’re less likely to experience the pro-inflammatory spike in blood sugar and insulin that sweeter fruits can cause (yes, even natural sugars can spike your blood sugar levels!).
Best Foods For Skin: Hormone Balancing Maca
This tuber (yes, maca is actually a root veggie from the radish family!) is an endocrine adaptogen, which means it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production. Maca has been used to remedy a range of hormonal issues, from PMS to infertility.
And it’s no secret that hormones have a lot of influence over the skin – not just in teenagers but in adults as well. Elevated testosterone (such as is common among those with PCOS) or estrogen dominance are commonly behind acne, whereas elevated cortisol accelerates aging. By bringing hormones back into balance, maca can help remedy these skin conditions.
[Note from Kate: I love adding maca to my butter coffee in the morning]
Best Foods For Skin: Protein-Packed Collagen Peptides
Collagen is a fibrous protein found in the connective tissues of your body and is what keeps our skin smooth and supple. But as we age, collagen formation decreases. When we eat foods rich in collagen (such a bone broth) or supplement with collagen peptides, we provide our skin with the exact building blocks it needs to restore and produce collagen.
Thanks so much to Nadia for sharing her best natural skincare tips with us. To learn more about how to use food as medicine head over to her blog, Body Unburdened, and be sure to buy her amazing books, Glow: The Nutritional Approach to Naturally Gorgeous Skin and The Home Detox Guide. A shameless natural-beauty junkie, Nadia believes that the greatest investment you will ever make is in your health, that chocolate is a health food (and therefore a great investment), and that unhealthy chemicals have no business being inside our bodies or homes. She takes a holistic approach to health rooted in real food and nontoxic living.