So, what are the best foods for supple and glowing skin? If you have had a look at our e-book, some suggestions are waiting for you there (along with a great deal of other valuable information). But to recap, here is a list of many of the best foods for supple and glowing skin.
- Aloe Vera Leaf
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Bone Broth
- Flax Seeds
- Horsetail & Nettle Tea
- Oily Fish
- Organ Meats
So let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail to find out why they are good for your skin.
Though avocados are usually considered a fruit from a nutritional standpoint, they are better classified as a vegetable. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and several other compounds such as lutein, zeaxanthin (both powerful antioxidants), phytosterols (these help lower cholesterol levels to a limited extent), vitamin E, vitamin A, niacin, and folate. Research has shown a topical application of saffron extract and avocado oil cream for 12 weeks led to improved skin elasticity and a reduction in the area and volume of nasolabial folds. This led others to ponder if just eating avocado would be beneficial. Sure enough, a recent trial in healthy women found that daily avocado consumption resulted in enhanced elasticity and firmness of their facial skin.
What about aloe vera leaf? Well, we have already discussed the abundance of benefits of aloe vera for your skin when used topically. But the benefits can be reaped by ingesting it as well (see the recipe in our e-book!). Aloe gel administered orally was found to significantly improve wrinkles and elasticity in photoaged skin, with a noted increase in collagen production and a decrease in the expression of a gene that is responsible for degrading collagen.
Apple cider vinegar? You can easily incorporate it into salad dressings, sauces and marinades. The main active ingredients of apple cider vinegar are acetic acid and polyphenolic compounds but additional organic acid compounds include ascorbic, citric, formic, oxalic and succinic acids. It also contains pectin, vitamins B and C, and small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Apple cider vinegar as a health elixir has a long history, dating as far back as 3300 BC to assist with infections, wound disinfection, insect bites, warts, scurvy and many other ailments. More recent applications include treatment for dermatological conditions such as acne, eczema and dandruff, as well as intestinal conditions such as dyspepsia, gastroparesis (to which a link exists to the dermatological conditions), and kidney stones, and osteoporosis.
And berries of pretty much any variety will also be helpful. They are all rich in vitamin C which is vital for the production of collagen, and also contain other anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that protect our skin against free-radicals and help prevent premature aging. Furthermore, berries are lower in sugar than many other fruits and sugar, as we know, can accelerate the skin’s aging process.
Bone broth is easy to prepare and a recipe is in our e-book that can be used as a guide. The nutritional value will vary depending on which particular bones are used, the length of time they are cooked and if any other additions are made to the broth. Consider using joint bones such as knuckles and feet if you can find them and cook slowly at low temperatures with an acidic ingredient (such as apple cider vinegar!) to enhance nutrient extraction. Other vegetables, herbs and spices can be added during the final hour to further improve flavour and nutrition. When boiled, the collagen in connective tissue in the bones is broken down into gelatin and amino acids such as glycine and glutamine. Consuming bone broth has been shown to increase the levels of proline and glycine in plasma, both of which are required to form collagen and from clinical trials, we know that supplemental collagen improves the elasticity, hydration, and appearance of wrinkles in your skin.
Eggs are a rich source of protein and amino acids which are the building blocks of collagen production required for healthy looking skin. In this sense eating eggs is not too different from consuming bone broth in terms of assisting with collagen production. They are also an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, those compounds in avocados that are excellent anti-oxidants and help fend off the damaging effects of the sun on our skin. Eggs also contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, D, E, K, the B vitamins, and calcium, potassium, selenium and zinc that are beneficial to our skin and general health.
Pretty much all the benefits of flax seeds to your skin can be basically traced back to their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory properties imparted by these fatty acids help in reducing issues caused by diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and heart related problems. And only when issues such as these are under control can we expect our skin to appear its healthiest and most supple. The fatty acids themselves also help in preventing your skin from becoming too dry by locking in moisture. As an additional benefit, flax seeds also contain lignans that can help repair broken blood vessels and skin cells and antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radicals and the damaging UV rays from the sun.
Horsetail and Nettle tea may not be the most common item on the list, but they have also been used for eons as a medicinal elixir where the nutritional properties of both of these herbs combine for a doubly beneficial effect for your skin, bones and nails. Nettle is a nutrient-dense herb, containing B complex vitamins, iron, calcium, and a host of antioxidants that, like many other foods on this list, can protect your skin from damaging UV rays and help prevent premature skin aging. Horsetail roots grow very deep, enabling it to absorb large amounts of minerals. It is extremely high in silica, calcium, and iron content, making it very effective for nail and bone strength.
The wonderful thing about nuts is that there are so many different varieties, all packing a nutritional punch and able to satisfy that craving for a snack in a healthy way. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, and antioxidants and are a good source of fibre, phosphorus and protein as well. They are also rich in monosaturated acids and with their high vitamin E content, can help keep skin moisturised. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium (which form compounds that are powerful antioxidants). Similar to almonds, Brazil nuts improve the elasticity of skin by keeping it hydrated. Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids and have high levels of vitamin B complexes, all helping to moisturise the skin and reducing the look of fine wrinkle lines.
Oily fishes such as mackerel, bluefin tuna, swordfish, salmon, sardines, herring, and anchovies are all rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help replenish your skin's natural oil barrier to lock in moisture and help combat against dry skin and dull complexion. And like we discussed for flax seeds, these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve our skins appearance working from the inside out. Some of these fish also contain trace amounts of selenium, and thus provide another source for antioxidant formation.
And finally, to complete our list of the best foods to eat for supple and glowing skin… organ meats. Not everyone’s favorite (though Louisiana style dirty rice recipes use chopped up chicken livers and are amazing and taste great – even your kids won’t know the livers are there!). But they are packed with nutrition, the nature of which is a bit different from organ to organ. In general, they are all excellent providers of protein, vitamins A, B, D, E and K and the minerals copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Liver is the most densely packed with nutrients and is an excellent source of vitamin A for reducing the effects of inflammatory diseases. Kidney contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Heart is rich in folate, iron, zinc, and selenium and is a great source of the B-complex vitamins. It is also an excellent source of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 also known as ubiquinone), an antioxidant that has been shown to improve energy levels and slow the aging process.
Take away message
There are a variety of foods that we can eat for supple and glowing skin and we have outlined many of the best here. Keep in mind that while some of them have a direct effect on your skin, such as the ability to increase collagen production, others have the effect of improving your complexion from the inside out and so this may be a good place to remind you that your skin, hair and nail health is a two-way street.