Kale, spinach, chard ... you name it, eat it! "Extremely nutrient-dense, they're loaded with beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A, essential for smoothing the skin and balancing sebum production," says Jolene Hart health coach and author of the Eat Pretty series. They're also rich in minerals and loaded with essential amino acids your body needs to repair and regenerate skin cells, adds Jessica Rosen, certified holistic health coach and president of Raw Generation. While they're all great, Hart advises switching up the ones you eat because all of them have slightly different and unique benefits.
Start your day with a cup of lemon water and your skin will thank you. The citrus supports liver health. When your liver is properly detoxifing and cleansing the body, your skin won't have to, points out Hart. And it's not just the juice that has beauty benefits: The pith (the white part under the peel) contains a phytochemical that strengthens blood vessels and boosts microcirculation for increased radiance. Throw a strip of the skin into your daily smoothie or steep it in hot water. (Though this is best reserved for organic lemons, Hart says.)
Long-live avocado toast. "Avocados are one of the most healthy-fat packed foods in existence, the majority of which is oleic acid," Rosen says. This reduces inflammation associated with a whole slew of skin conditions, including eczema and acne. Plus, they're also full of antioxidants to combat skin-aging free radical damage.
Hart calls protein the "building-block of beauty," essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails, and these tiny seeds are packed with it. By strengthening the membrane of the skin cells, it helps ensure that moisture stays locked in so your complexion never looks or feels dried out. Not to mention that protein also helps stabilize your blood sugar and keep you full longer, making these the perfect topping for your morning bowl of oatmeal.
Like lemons, these support liver health and are also oxygenating to the body, giving your skin a healthy glow, Hart says. Plus, because they're naturally sweet, they can be easily worked into baked goods for anyone who isn't a fan of eating them on their own.
"It's been known for years that mint has a calming effect on inflamed skin, and spearmint has the most anti-inflammatory activity," explains Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, a dermatologist in Fruitland, ID, and founder of Epionce. So much so that a study showed that drinking two cups of organic spearmint tea a day reduced inflammatory acne by 51% after three months. How? Not only does spearmint tea reduce the inflammation associated with acne it also contains antibacterial properties. Time to get sipping on the spearmint.
Not only is the spice high in antioxidants it also contains an amazing amount of phytochemicals that help fight inflammation, Hart says. As mentioned, inflammation is the root of so many skin issues, such as premature wrinkles, redness and sensitivity, and blemishes. The bottom line: No matter your skin concern, turmeric will likely help. Sprinkle it over roasted veggies, into a smoothie, or on top of your favorite protein.
One of the favorite fish for beauty benefits, you get a double dose of both essential fats that keep skin healthy and supple, along with a heavy hit of protein. But the wild part is nonnegotiable, because farmed varieties contain antibiotics and hormones, both of which can increase the likelihood of breakouts.
Packed with vitamin A, which promotes skin cell turnover so that pores don't get clogged, carrots have lots of beauty benefits. Vitamin A also helps combat wrinkles and balance oil production, basically making it a one-stop shop for better, healthier-looking skin. Naturally sweet, carrots are ideal for blending into a veggie juice for sweetness without lots of fruit.
We're talking things like kimchi, kombucha, miso, pickles, sauerkraut. Pick your favorite! "Any of these fermented foods contain a higher quantity and wider diversity of probiotics than you'd find in any supplement," Hart says. You likely know that this bacteria is beneficial for your gut. But did you know that reflects in your skin? "When your digestive system is better able to cleanse and eliminate, you'll have clearer, more radiant skin," she says.