Foods for a Radiant Glow from the Inside Out: Adding these ingredients to your diet can help create healthy, glowing skin, says Dr. Adrienne Stewart
Sep 02, 2013 12:16PM
By Adrienne Stewart, NMD
Radiant skin starts from the inside out. The skin needs proper nutrition to repair damage caused by the sun and pollution, to maintain its moisture and elasticity and to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay. Some basics for radiant skin include eating a whole foods diet, getting enough sleep, exercise and proper skin care. To really power up for healthy, glowing skin, try adding these four things into any diet:
Avocado: Avocado is a power-packed skin food. As a good source of omega-3 and omega-6, it provides the nutrients necessary to maintain moisture and elasticity. These essential fatty acids also help reduce inflammation, which can minimize puffiness around the eyes. They also unlock the antioxidant properties in other vegetables when eaten in combination. Research shows that adding avocado to a salad of spinach, tomatoes, romaine and carrots will increase the absorption of carotenoids and lycopene by more than 200 percent. Even on their own, avocados are a rich source of unique antioxidants that help support the body in many ways. Avocados are also rich in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C and the B vitamins. The most nutrient-dense part of the avocado is in the dark green flesh right under the skin, so the best way to peel one is with the fingers. Try adding avocado to salads, thicken up soups with avocado puree, add it to smoothies for a creamy texture or make a veggie-packed guacamole.
Blueberries: Blueberries are antioxidant-packed, helping skin recover from environmental damage caused by free radicals. Blueberries have a wide variety of antioxidants and phytonutrients like anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids and flavonols. These nutrients help the body repair damage caused by over exposure to sun, pollution, toxins and other environmental stressors that rob our skin of its radiance. While many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, blueberries shine because they have such a wide variety of nutrients, they do not lose potency when frozen, and they do not negatively affect blood sugar levels, despite being sweet. This makes them not only nutritious, but also convenient for modern lifestyles. To add more blueberries to the diet, try adding them to oatmeal, cereal or pancakes in the morning, eat them as a midday snack, top salads and yogurts, or even blend them into a smoothie.
Papaya: Papaya provides one of the highest sources of vitamin C, with 300 percent of the daily allowance in a single fruit. Vitamin C is critical for radiant skin because of its ability to repair collagen, which protects us from premature aging and sun damage. Papaya also contains vitamin E, another critical skin nutrient. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals, and also have cancer-fighting properties. To get the most antioxidant benefits, it's best to eat papayas when they are completely ripe with a red-to-orange tinge on their skin and are moderately soft to the touch. Add papaya to the diet by including it in salads, smoothies and desserts or eating it fresh as a snack. One caution is that people with a severe latex allergy should avoid eating papayas, along with avocados, bananas, chestnuts and kiwi.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed is excellent for people that experience hormonal outbreaks. Flaxseed is rich in phytonutrients called lignans, which have antioxidant properties, fiber-like benefits and can even act as safe phytoestrogens in the body. Flaxseed also is high in essential fatty acids, which help with inflammation. Among their myriad of health benefits, they also help improve inflammation due to acne by helping to regulate hormones and blood sugar levels. Flaxseed can be added to salads, muffins, soups or even smoothies. It is best to grind up small batches to keep it as fresh as possible.
Radiant Skin Smoothie
1 cup cubed papaya (can be frozen)
1 cup frozen blueberries
10 oz water
2 tsp ground flaxseed
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy.
Dr. Adrienne Stewart is a naturopathic physician practicing at Integrative Health, in Scottsdale, concentrating on fertility, preconception health and environmental medicine. Learn more at MyIntegrativeHealth.com.