I find hundreds of dollar skin creams to be kinda silly. If your skin is at the point where you’re willing to drop 2-300 bucks on a cream, it might be worth considering your lifestyle factors that could be breaking down your skin and making it look like it needs a cream like that. One of the biggest things I’ve become way more crazy about in the last 3 years or so is sun protection. I honestly just didn’t used to care at all. I even did tanning beds in high school with my friends. TANNING BEDS! Uggghhh I’m so mad at my 15 year old self when I think about that. But, there’s nothing I can do to erase those poor decisions except make better ones now and do everything I can do give my skin everything it needs to repair, renew, and regenerate. And a huge part of nourishing the skin is diet.
Beyond sun protection, I think the most important thing we can do for our skin is eat well. I really do think the skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside the body. Notice how you break out when you eat a lot of sugar or get puffy when you eat sodium and chemical laden processed or fast foods? Or how bad you look the morning after you’ve been eating well and decide to splurge on junk just once? That correlation is no joke. When I was a kid, I suffered from severe eczema. We’re talking so itchy that I would start bleeding at school from scratching so hard. In the weeks after cutting out gluten, my skin cleared up entirely and that was really the first time for me that this major lightbulb went off in my head. What you put in your body is directly correlated to how you look and feel. To have a lifelong problem I had dealt with since I could remember and used steroid creams every night to manage just entirely disappear by not eating one thing was mind boggling to me! I became obsessed with nutrition and understanding the benefits of certain foods better so I could look and feel my best. The following foods are my favorite skin saving eats and always staples on my grocery list. I consume most of them daily and definitely all of them several times a week. I’ve noticed when I’m eating these foods, my skin looks really great and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Here’s what they do:
WILD SALMON – This guy is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats avert fine lines and wrinkles by keeping your skin looking youthful, supple, and moisturized. They are also highly anti-inflammatory which reduces the body’s stress hormones and decreases clogged pores. Salmon also has selenium which is a mineral that protects from sun damage.
How I Like It: Baked and eaten on top of an avocado salad! Mmmmmm! I like the warm fish/cold salad contrast. If you guys want a tutorial on how to simply cook salmon, holler in the comments and I’ll do it!
ALMONDS – These babies are one of the best food sources of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that is incredibly nourishing to the skin and protects it from damaging UV rays. It also contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which moisturize the skin and keep it hydrated and soft. They also pack a good amount of protein which is the building block of skin so vegetarians and vegans do well incorporating them into their diets.
How I Like Them: Smooth and creamy! I am all about the almond buttah! I find it easier to digest than whole nuts and I love throwing it in smoothies, smearing it on a sweet potato, or making my all time fave almond butter fudge. I also LOVE almond flour and I pretty much use it exclusively in my baking. It has a delicious nutty flavor, is full of protein and fiber, and cuts out so much of the carb and crap content in baked goods.
COCONUT OIL – This stuff is like treasure. Coconut oil is so beneficial for so many things I could do a whole post on it, but I’ll focus on the skin for now. Coco oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which help promote a healthy intestinal tract AKA it kills bad bacteria in the gut. When our intestines are happy and healthy, we are properly eliminating waste and not releasing toxins through the skin instead. This helps prevent acne and other skin disruptions. Additionally, it’s medium chain fatty acids are a great emollient for the skin and keep it supple. Its antioxidant properties also prevent the formation of free radicals that cause early aging.
How I Like It: Anytime I’m roasting, sautéing, or cooking anything, coconut oil is my fat of choice. I am obsessed with it! I could drink it, bathe in it, and rub it all over myself and still not have enough. I also love making my own sugar scrubs with it and I use it as an eye-makeup remover on a cotton pad.
GREEN TEA – We all know green tea is great for us, but it’s also amazing for anti-aging. It contains flavonoid phytochemicals called polyphenols, mostly of a subtype called catechins. These have been shown to help minimize redness and inflammation as well as quench free radicals and enhance sun protection. Green tea has also been shown to improve elastic tissue in the skin.
How I Like It: In the morning in lieu of coffee and at night after dinner! I love adding a little full fat coconut milk for a creamy tea latte.
AVOCADOS – These kind of have everything. They’re super rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins A and C, and fiber. They help brighten dull skin, smooth tone, and moisturize on a deep cellular level to prevent dryness which can lead to wrinkling. They help protect from sun damage and environmental pollutants and their fiber and lubricating oils help digestion which keeps your intestinal tract healthy and able to efficiently remove waste so your skin glows.
How I Like Them: Ummm on EVERYTHING. I have been known to have a couple in my purse just in case…
WALNUTS – Walnuts are awesome. Like salmon, walnuts have omega-3 fats that strengthen the membranes of your skin cells, increase moisture, and boost suppleness. They also reduce inflammation that causes acne or skin redness.
How I Like Them: In salads! These are my salad “gems” (ya know, the thing you dig around for because it’s your fave). I love their crunch and buttery flav.
BERRIES – Berries are about as antioxidant rich as it gets for a plant food. Their pigment comes from a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin which helps buffer and prevent damage from toxins and free radicals on the skin. They also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that fights the break down of elastin and collagen and protects from sun damage. They also provide a boatload of vitamin C which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
How I Like Them: Straight up. I usually eat these plain from a bowl and it makes me really happy.
SWEET POTATOES (ORANGE) – Orange sweet potatoes get their color from beta carotene (Vitamin A) which has major protective qualities from sun damage. Many popular anti-aging creams contain retinol which beta carotene is converted to. By eating foods rich in Vitamin A, you’re getting your retinol the best way possible. They’re also full of vitamin C which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
How I Like It: Baked and spread with almond butter and cinnamon. Mouthgasm.
Beyond these foods, I drink TONS of green juices and water throughout the day. I love green juices because they have tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients, but are also extremely hydrating and help flush toxins from the body so they don’t end up being release through your skin.
I hope you enjoyed reading about these beneficial foods for your skin and if you have any questions leave them below!