Skincare goes way beyond topical creams and cleansers. What you eat plays a key role when it comes to the health of your skin, and is a determining factor in how you’ll age. Inflammation shows up in the skin in the form of acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, rashes, and sunburns. Calming inflammation is central to preventing or eliminating these annoying and unsightly conditions. Here are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods for beautiful skin that are easy to incorporate into your diet.
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Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Beautiful Skin
Inflammation can be both chronic and acute. Acute inflammation presents as sunburns, acne flares and allergic reactions. This type of inflammation usually doesn’t last longer than a month or so. Chronic inflammation can last much longer, however, and sometimes indefinitely.
Psoriasis, rosacea, dermatitis, and eczema are examples of chronic skin conditions that can, unfortunately, last for years. The good news is – the painful itch, swelling, cracking, and redness of inflammation can be reduced by paying close attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. Food can be either medicinal or toxic when it comes to your skin.
Inflammation of the skin stems from a variety of sources, including imbalanced hormones, stress, the weather, genetics, illness, and yes, diet. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet will help exponentially to prevent and decrease skin inflammation. It will also help reduce stress, prevent illness, and balance hormones.
While you can’t choose your genetics, you do have innumerable choices when it comes to what you eat. Pick foods that are nutrient-dense, unprocessed, and free of irritating chemicals, preservatives, and food colorings.
1. Coconut Milk
Dairy is pervasive in the American food supply, and is a common trigger for inflammation. It can be an underlying factor in the development of acne, skin rashes, and other inflammatory conditions.
Dairy is inflammatory because it comes from cows who are eating a diet that doesn’t support their physiology. Instead of consuming grass, they are ingesting grains, pesticides, and GMOs. Ditch the dairy and see if your acne doesn’t significantly improve.
Coconut milk is a fantastic dairy alternative, is anti-inflammatory, contains an impressive line up of nourishing fatty acids, and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It’s easy on the digestive system, is delicious, and the medium chain triglycerides are a great source of energy.
[Read More: Can A Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Acne?]
2. Fatty Fish
Foods that are good for your body are also good for your skin. Beauty really does start from the inside out. Fatty and oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna contain omega 3s, antioxidants, and minerals, all of which are essential for healthy skin.
Fish is one of those foods that people either love or hate. If you’re in the latter camp, consider supplementing with fish oil to assure you’re getting enough of the fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Alternatively, you can also eat flaxseeds, which are a plant-based source of omega 3s.
Salmon, and other fatty fish, are loaded with health-promoting monounsaturated and saturated fat. Healthy fats protect the skin from UV radiation, hydrate cell membranes, and repair damage from sun exposure.
Berries come in all shapes and sizes – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, boysenberries, and currants are all good choice.
Berries are extremely low glycemic, and won’t lead to blood-sugar spikes like some fruit. Blood-sugar swings are the number one cause of inflammation in the body so if you want a radiant complexion, control your blood sugar.
These colorful little morsels are also low in calories, are an exceptional source of fiber, polyphenols, and the antioxidants vitamins C and E. The skin uses vital nutrients to produce collagen, which is the main building block for smooth, supple, and youthful-looking skin.
Vegetables have the renown distinction of being some of the most nourishing foods on the planet. Full of life-giving minerals and fiber, nothing quite cleanses and nourishes as well as the vegetable family. There is a dizzying array of colorful vegetables to choose from, coming in a myriad of shapes and sizes.
The plethora of vegetables at our disposal is staggering. Did you know there are dozens of varieties of lettuce alone? This nutritious food group contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Green vegetables also contain chlorophyll, a plant pigment, containing magnesium and other minerals.
Red, yellow, and orange vegetables are replete with carotenoids that protect the skin from free-radical damage, giving it strength and elasticity. Carotenoids also prevent acne and aid in detoxification. Whip up a crisp, colorful, antioxidant-rich salad every single day for vibrant health and extraordinary skin.
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5. Dark Chocolate
Don’t you just love it when one of your favorite foods is densely packed with nutrition? Dark chocolate, which boasts a high cocoa content, contains soluble fiber, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and potassium. No wonder it makes us feel so good.
If you buy dark chocolate that is 75% cocoa, the sugar content will be extremely low, with an impressive antioxidant level. The polyphenols, catechins, and flavanols inherent in dark chocolate have antioxidant properties, surpassing even acai and blueberries.
The fatty acid profile is also pretty remarkable. Flavanols produce nitric oxide, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. This bio-active compound also protects the skin from sun damage and boosts hydration. You don’t need to gorge yourself on dark chocolate, small amounts are enough to deliver the amazing benefits this delectable delight has to offer.
Because of their high fat content, avocados are great for reducing inflammation. Chock full of fatty acids, including oleic and palmitic acid, they’re low-glycemic, and a great source of fiber. They also contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamins, including the fat-soluble vitamins A and K.
Lutein, zexanthin, and cryptoxanthin are carotenoids, that not only calm inflammation, but also prevent wrinkles. Rich in vitamin E and lecithin, avocados are great for preventing dry skin, boosting collagen, and repairing damage caused by UV radiation.
If you’re one of the few that don’t like the texture of avocados, you can receive the benefits by consuming avocado oil. It’s highly nourishing and moisturizing, which is excellent for conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. You can also apply avocado oil topically to decrease inflammation, promote wound healing, and stimulate collagen.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is fabulous for the skin thanks to its high concentrations of catechins, a type of flavonoid with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are effective at reducing free-radical damage, which is linked to premature aging, glycation, and chronic disease.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are linked to oxidative stress, which damages the cells, causing wrinkles. This is why antioxidant-rich foods are effective at preventing and mitigating oxidative stress. The main catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), it’s what makes green tea such a superb antioxidant. EGCG is helpful in treating acne, and may even balance hormones.
Turmeric is an Indian spice heralded for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant profile. A member of the ginger family, turmeric contains high amounts of curcumin, the active ingredient responsible for its therapeutic properties. It is also what gives turmeric its vibrant yellow-orange hue.
Curcumin reduces inflammation by halting the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes, namely COX-2 and 5-LOX. This is why it’s so beneficial for preventing and treating inflammation. Turmeric can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can buy raw turmeric root, it kind of looks like ginger, and make turmeric milk or turmeric tea.
Turmeric can also be diced and used in stews and soups. Or you can buy the powdered spice to use in curries, smoothies, and rice dishes. The peppery flavor of turmeric is especially tasty in scrambled eggs. I like to buy turmeric in powder form because it’s more economical. This brand is organic, 100% raw, and comes from India.
We all know how important a regular skincare routine is, but what many people don’t realize is the role nutrition plays in having a radiant, youthful complexion. This critical piece is often overlooked.
A whole foods diet is vital if you want to look good and age well. It’s just not possible to circumvent this fact. Take your skincare routine up a notch by including these 8 nutrient-rich foods in your diet.
Do you have an inflammatory skin condition that’s been difficult to treat? Let me know in the comments:)