Stock a powerful beauty kitchen with the best foods for skin health and beauty. Every item in the list ahead is brimming with beauty benefits that you can make a part of your healthy skin diet, and it’ll keep well on your shelves until you find the perfect moment to pull it out to cook yourself a meal that helps you look and feel your best.
1. Quinoa: Complete Beauty Protein
A complete protein that’s not animal based? Meet quinoa, your new beauty BFF for healthy, glowing skin. Quinoa has all nine essential amino acids, which build strong, youthful skin, hair, and nails and repair daily damage. Quinoa is actually a seed, one that’s gluten-free and nutrition-packed like its relative, spinach. In addition to its powerful protein content, quinoa is full of trace beauty minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus, which help make it one of the best foods for skin. Its complex carbohydrates and low glycemic index steady your blood sugar and keep you full, yet free of bloating. Quinoa also supports healthy digestion with fiber that feeds healthy bacteria in your intestines. It’s a worthwhile beauty food to add to your diet for healthy, glowing skin.
2. Water: The Forgotten Beauty Nutrient
There is one health essential that isn’t actually a food for good skin, but still has tons of beauty power: water. Water makes up 60 to 70 percent of our body weight and 70 percent of our skin, but it’s usually pretty low on our list of health priorities. Drink water is quintessential skin secret. Plenty of people shrug off hydration as obvious, but there’s some real science to pay attention to here. Dehydration releases stress hormones, which in turn leads to an increase in aging inflammation in the body. Water is also essential for bodily functions from metabolism and nutrient absorption (key for water-soluble nutrients like vitamin B complex and vitamin C) to detoxification, circulation, and temperature regulation. The body hydrates more efficiently when we eat (rather than drink) some of our water, too, which is why water-rich skin-healthy beauty foods like watermelon, cucumber, apple, and celery that slowly hydrate as they make their way through our digestive system are some of the best foods for skin beauty and health.
3. Almond Milk: Healthy Skin Drink
Coconut and hemp non-dairy milks also nourish your skin and are good beauty foods for glowing skin, but in my book unsweetened almond milk wins for flavor and skin benefits. Plain almond milk found in your supermarket is usually fortified, so when you pour a cup or so over your oatmeal, you get about half of your daily dose of vitamin E, the beauty vitamin that keeps skin moisturized and protected from the sun, plus about 45 percent of your calcium and 25 percent of your vitamin D. As one of the best foods for skin health, unsweetened almond milk is low in both sugar and calories, and it’s free of the hormones and antibiotics found in conventional dairy.
4. Nuts: Beauty Builders
Nuts are little nuggets of healthy fats, protein, and beauty minerals that fill you up, sustain you, and travel easily, making them ideal beauty foods for our busy lives. The selection of nuts in your pantry might change with your mood or with the seasons, so let your taste buds guide you. Nuts are one of the best foods for skin for many reasons. For instance, almonds are rich in vitamin E, for strong cell membranes and wrinkle prevention. Cashews are full of copper, which contributes to radiant hair pigmentation. Pistachios pack in the B6 for healthy, oxygenated blood. Brazil nuts are major sources of selenium, which helps maintain skin elasticity and the body’s production of glutathione.
Always buy your nuts organic and raw, since roasted nuts often contain oxidized oils that create age-advancing free radicals and AGEs, while the healthy fats in raw nuts reduce inflammation in the body, making them a great food for healthy skin. Before you snack on raw nuts, it’s best to soak them for a couple of hours or up to overnight to release their enzyme inhibitors and make them more easily digestible. Store them in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer if you won’t use them quickly.
5. Goji Berries: The Youth Fruit
These little red berries are sometimes called the “longevity fruit,” and with good reason: The amino acid glutamine in goji berries stimulates the body’s production of HGH, a hormone partially responsible for the youthful appearance and fast healing ability that declines with age. Glutamine in gojis also aids in the production of glutathione, the body’s master anti-aging nutrient. Goji berries have the exceptional ability to defend mitochondrial health and protect against DNA damage, making them one of the all-time best foods for skin health and beauty. They also contain eighteen amino acids, as well as beauty minerals like iron, zinc, and copper, for gorgeous skin, hair, and nails. Try them in trail mix or hot cereal as part of the healthy skin diet.
6. Flaxseed: Omega Wonder
Flaxseed, another one of the best foods for skin is full of phytochemicals called lignans that aid digestion and may help prevent breast cancer, thanks to their ability to mimic estrogens in the body. Ground flaxseed is an excellent plant source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, especially alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that the body converts to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)—the same fat-burning, collagen-boosting omega-3 found in fish oil. Omega-3s decrease levels of a hormone that can be a factor in clogged pores and breakouts, and they ensure that your skin is healthy enough to retain moisture. Add ground flaxseed to your meals on your diet for healthy skin for extra fiber that supports healthy elimination, and protein for skin-damage repair.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar: pH Balancer
Apple cider vinegar may taste acidic on your tongue, but it’s highly alkaline, so it balances acidic foods in your body to maintain a healthy pH, which is important for healthy, glowing skin. Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful digestive tonic that prevents constipation (easing the waste-eliminating burden on your skin) and wards off bad bacteria. It also increases the acidity of the stomach, important since many of us have digestive troubles from low stomach acid. Apple cider vinegar also contains potassium and a detoxifying fiber called pectin. Vinegar of all types steadies your blood sugar by slowing the digestion of carbs, thanks to acetic acid. Buy the raw, unrefined version of apple cider vinegar to get the most potent beauty benefits of one of the best beauty foods for good skin.