Are you eating your skincare? No, I don’t mean eating your beloved janegee products, although many do smell delicious enough to eat. What I mean is, are you eating to support healthy skin?
If you’re investing your energy and resources into high-quality skincare, treatments, and nailing your at-home skincare rituals, I encourage you to reinforce these efforts through the food you put on your plate.
It’s natural to see your skin and focus on what to apply topically and externally. But we must remember that healthy skin and true beauty is an inside job, as Jane reminds us. As much as our skin is influenced by the external environment, it’s also a reflection of our internal environment.
As a nutritionist and biochemist, one of my favorite things to contemplate is the way the food I eat interacts with my cells. Our skin is our largest organ made up of about 35 billion cells. Each of these cells has a cell membrane with lots of inner cellular structures and of course, all the genetic instructions we need in the form of DNA. In all cells including our skin cells, cell membranes made up of fat and protein are essential for the transport of nutrients into the cell and the transport of waste out of the cell. Within the cell, lots of enzymes and proteins help to make the various components of our skin such as our keratin and collagen. Antioxidants help to combat damage that causes wrinkles and inflammation. I could go on. All of these components and their proper function require nutrients from the food we eat!
You may be familiar with janegee’s face maps which can shed some light on which dietary triggers may be affecting your acne.
These common triggers include:
These foods increase inflammation in the body. Are you experiencing inflammation?
Inflammatory skin conditions:
Other symptoms of inflammation:
- Achey joints and pain
- Mood symptoms like depression and anxiety
- Fatigue and insomnia
Do you deal with any of these symptoms? Do you eat a lot of gluten, dairy, alcohol, and sugar? If you answered yes to both of these, you may want to try to see how you feel if you eliminate or reduce your consumption of these foods. If that sounds like bad news to you, the good news is that there are plenty of delicious foods we can eat to support our skin.
What are some of the nutrients for healthy, beautiful skin?
- Polyunsaturated fats
How does that translate to food?
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
One of the best things about nutrition and the interconnectedness of the body is that when we focus on using food and nutrition to support one aspect of health, we inevitably support other systems. Whole, delicious, nutrient-rich foods that support healthy skin and a healthy body.
Here are some recipes you can try at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to incorporate some skin-supportive foods:
Dressed up toast with egg 2 ways: Avocado OR Kale Pesto
For the toast, try a gluten-free variety or if you have access to sourdough or heirloom wheat bread, those may contain less gluten than many of your regular bread options.
To make the avocado toast topping:
- Mash half a small avocado with a squeeze of lime juice, a dash of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
- Spread on toast and top with a handful of chopped scallions and pumpkin seeds, either raw or toasted (to toast, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add raw seeds to the bottom of the pan in a single layer, stirring frequently until browned and fragrant).
- Top with an egg prepared in your preferred method (poached, fried, soft boiled, hard-boiled, scrambled)
To make kale pesto (yield a couple of cups!)
- In a food processor or high-speed blender, blend one bunch of raw kale, 1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds, 2-4 cloves of raw garlic (depending on preference), and the juice of 2 lemons until well incorporated
- Gradually add olive oil until preferred consistency is achieved (about 1/2 cup)
- Spread a generous scoop onto your toast and top with your egg of choice. Store remaining pesto in the fridge for future use.
Herby quinoa salad
- Cook enough quinoa for the number of servings you wish to prepare (here’s a link https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-quinoa-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-63344 to a comprehensive article about cooking quinoa, usually we keep it simple by heating 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water in a pot over high heat. Once boiling, cover and lower the heat to simmer until the water has evaporated, 10-20 minutes depending on the amount of quinoa you’re making and the cooktop you’re using. Making quinoa is actually very forgiving - if the water is evaporated but it’s too dry and crunchy - add more water and cook longer. If it’s too watery, just cook until evaporated).
- Allow the quinoa to cool before continuing. Speed up the process by putting in it the fridge.
- Finely chop culinary herbs of your choice (cilantro, basil, and parsley work great for this purpose) and dice some avocado
- Once the quinoa is cool, mix with chopped herbs and diced avocado. Squeeze in some lemon or lime juice and combine. This would be delicious with berries too!
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and add a little extra virgin olive oil to balance the acidity of the citrus if needed.
Grated Veg Salad
- Chop or tear leafy greens of choice (kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, or other) for the base.
- Grate raw vegetables over your bed of greens: beets, radishes, or carrots
- Top with a homemade vinaigrette or dressing of your choice. This apple cider vinaigrette from Eating Bird Food is a personal favorite! https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/apple-cider-vinegar-dressing/
- Serve with any number of toppings of your choosing such as grilled meat or fish, chickpeas, lentils or other beans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, or other nuts and seeds, avocado, blueberries, or whatever other vegetables you have on hand! Endless possibilities
Here are a few nutrition highlights from some of the ingredients in these recipes:
- Contains fiber, phytonutrients, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, and calcium
- Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
- Supports detoxification
- Rich in antioxidants
- Source of minerals such as zinc, copper, and iron
- Full of polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Polyunsaturated fat
Herbs and spices
- Rich in polyphenols
- Support immune function
Written by Alyssa Lovas, Holistic Nutritionist
About Alyssa - Alyssa is a holistic nutritionist, natural wellness enthusiast, and avid home cook. She sees food as physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment. She's passionate about sharing the idea that food is medicine and supporting others on their path towards optimal health.