The Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Beautiful Skin
Skin care goes way beyond topical creams and cleansers. What you eat plays a central 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 as 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, and most likely,you’re already eating some of them!
Inflammatory Skin Disorders
Inflammation can be both chronic and acute. Acute inflammation presents as sunburns, acne flares, and allergic reactions. This type of inflammation typically 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 skin conditions that are chronic in nature, and can, unfortunately, last for years. 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 is either medicine or poison for your skin.
Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation of the skin stems from a variety of sources, including imbalanced hormones, stress, the weather, genetics, illnesses, 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 – A Non-Dairy Milk Alternative
Dairy is pervasive in the American food supply, and is a common trigger for inflammation. It can be a factor in the development of acne, skin rashes, and other skin 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, which fight free-radical damage. Plus, coconut milk is 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. Healthy 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 abound in all shapes and sizes, including raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, boysenberries, and currants. Let’s throw in two superfood berries, goji and acai, for good measure. These juicy, nutrient-packed morsels are definitely my favorite fruit.
Berries are very low glycemic, and won’t lead to blood-sugar spikes as is the case with some fruit. Blood-sugar dysregulation is the number one cause of inflammation in the body. If you want a radiant complexion, control your blood sugar.
Berries are low in calories, are an exceptional source of vitamin E, vitamin C, fiber, polyphenols, and are packed with antioxidants. The skin uses nutrients to produce collagen, which is the main building block for smooth, supple, and youthful-looking skin.
4. Mineral Rich Vegetables
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? This nutritious food group contains a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, a plant pigment, that contains magnesium and other minerals. Red, yellow, and orange vegetables are replete with carotenoids that protect the skin from free-radical damage, and give 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.
5. Delicious Dark Chocolate
Don’t you just love it when one of your favorite foods is densely packed with nutrition? Dark chocolate, that 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 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 increases hydration. You don’t need to gorge yourself on dark chocolate, as small amounts are enough to deliver the amazing benefits this delectable delight has to offer.
6. Amazing Avocados
Because of their high fat content, avocados are great for reducing inflammation. Chock full of fatty acids, including oleic and palmitic acid, they are low glycemic, and a great source of fiber. Avocados also contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamins, including the fat-soluble vitamins A and K. Lutein, zexanthin, and cryptoxanthin are carotenoids, that not only reduce 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 Is Rich In Antioxidants
Green tea is amazing for the skin thanks to its high concentrations of catechins. Catechins are a type of flavonoid, with both anti-oxidant 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. Oxidative stress damages the cells of the body, and causes 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), and is what gives green tea its antioxidant properties. EGCG is helpful in treating acne, and may even balance hormones.
8. Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory
Turmeric is an Indian spice heralded for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. 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 mechanism is why it is 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. It can also be diced and used in stews and soups. Or 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. It’s organic, 100% raw, and comes from India.
We all know how imperative cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliation are for healthy skin. A nutritious diet is also critical for radiant, youthful-looking skin, and is a factor that 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 skin care routine up a notch by including these 8 nutrient-rich foods to your diet.
Do you have an inflammatory skin condition that’s been difficult to treat? Let me know in the comments:)