I regularly see articles floating around the internet on foods to eat for clear, glowing, vibrant skin. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t quite accurate.
Apples! Chia seeds! Watermelon! Almonds!
While these are undoubtedly healthy foods, the reality is that they actually don’t do much for the skin. They might sound good, but there’s little science to back up their claims of these foods being beneficial for skin health (and before you suggest it – chia seeds and almonds are high in the omega-3 ALA, not EPA or DHA, which are the omegas beneficial for skin, brain and heart health).
Below are five foods that should be incorporated into the diet regularly not just for clear, vibrant skin – but for overall health. They’re amazing for the skin! I actually started my own truly non-toxic, organic skincare line, Ancestral Organics. You can check out the products here, I have everything from products for acne prone skin to aging skin to regular skin to wrinkles and scars. With every $50 purchase, I’ll send you a week of meal plans to incorporate the foods below and get the most beautiful, vibrant, glowing skin of your life!
Fish + Fish Oil
Both fish and fish oil are nutrient dense powerhouses. They’re loaded with vitamins A and D as well as the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. This is what makes them so great for brain and heart health; these nutrients are strong anti-inflammatory agents. And what is acne? An inflammatory issue! Eating adequate amounts of fish and fish oil quells this inflammation.
We can’t produce these omega-3 fatty acids on our own, which is why we need to obtain them from food. While omega-3s have a long list of benefits functions within the body, one primary function is it helps makeup cell membranes. It reinforces the structure, which is why when we lack omegas, our skin can look sallow, uneven and discolored.
Fish and fish oils are also high in vitamin A, a nutrient that directly impacts skin health. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant, it9 helps the skin repair itself and it boosts skin cell growth.
For this, I eat fish regularly, mainly wild salmon. I also supplement daily with this brand of cod liver oil.
You might think that this is the same category as above, but trust me, this is a category all on its own. People have been so afraid of fat, worrying it will cause weight gain, worrying it will cause heart disease – the truth is quite the opposite. Eating the right fats aids in weight loss, eating the right fats prevents heart disease (among other issues).
What we want to specifically avoid here is eating the wrong fats while eating an adequate amount of healthy fats. Bad fats are high in omega-6 fatty acid, which causes inflammation, which causes acne. These include:
- fake butter (think Smart Balance)
- soy oil
- cottonseed oil
- canola oil
- corn oil
These are fats you want to avoid in all forms, at all times. Here’s a list of fats that are anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense and all around great for skin:
- grass-fed butter
- pastured egg yolks
- wild seafood
- pastured lard
- olive oil
- avocados and avocado oil
- sustainable and organic palm oil
- coconut oil
Coconut oil is particularly beneficial for acne, uneven, inflamed because it’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial, making it very beneficial for the gut. Most people who have skin issues also have gut issues, and coconut oil is great for the gut. Heal the gut, heal the skin! Which leads me to my next point…
Fermented Foods + Probiotics
Fermented foods are loaded with probiotics, which are dangerously lacking in modern day diets. These probiotics keep the gut in check, fight harmful bugs, support the immune system, maintain a healthy mood and so much more. We need a healthy microbiome to break down food and absorb nutrients, and most people with skin issues have an impaired gut microbiome. Incorporating fermented foods boosts the microbiome, aids in digestions and assists with nutrient assimilation. This of it this way, what’s the point of eating all that wild salmon if you can’t digest and absorb it?
From the American Academy of Dermatology,
- A recent Korean study of 56 acne patients found that drinking a Lactobacillus-fermented dairy beverage effectively reduced their total acne lesion count and decreased oil production over 12 weeks.
- In an Italian study, half of patients were administered an oral probiotic supplement in addition to their standard acne and rosacea treatment. The other half of patients did not receive the probiotic supplement. The probiotic group experienced better clearing of acne and rosacea symptoms.
I recommend eating fermented foods daily like kombucha, pickle, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir. I also supplement with this probiotic.
No, I’m not talking about expensive collagen creams. Collagen is much too large for the skin to absorb anyway. I’m talking about eating collagen. Our ancestors ate a large amount of collagen via bones, tendons and cartilage. They wasted no part of the animal. Unfortunately, we no longer eat like our ancestors.
Our bodies produce less and less collagen after the age of 25, which often shows up not just in our weaker bones and joins, but on our face. Because we start producing less collagen in our mid-twenties, this is when we start to see fine lines beginning to form. Without collagen supplementation, we’re headed straight for wrinkle town. A lack of collagen leads to sagging, sallow, wrinkled skin. But consuming collagen daily firms and tones the skin, leaving you with a bright, youthful glow.
I highly recommend this collagen supplement. It’s flavors and absorbs easily in cold or warm liquids. I drink 2 tbsp in my tea throughout the day.
Vitamin C Rich Citrus
The body uses vitamin C to form collagen, so it’s important to eat an adequate amount of it. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, protecting the body and skin from free radical damage. Vitamin C is found in both the dermis and epidermis of the skin. Like collagen, as we age, our skin depleted of vitamin C. Factor like smoking cause our skin to deplete of vitamin C.
The skin undergoes a lot of damage, from the sun, from smoking (even second hand), from pollution. Because vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, it helps reverse this damage. Topical vitamin C has also been shown to improve the texture and tone of skin.
To make sure I’m getting my daily amount of citrus, I squeeze lemon into my water every morning and also add some to my water throughout the day. Doing this first thing in the morning not only provides vitamin C, it detoxifies the liver and enhances digestion – two things that are also amazing for healthy, beautiful skin!