We all long for smooth, healthy skin. In fact, on the quest for a flawless complexion, many of us have probably tried dozens of serums and lotions and potions claiming to be the end-all solution to our needs. While a regular skin care routine can certainly help, a proper diet is what will provide better and true, lasting results. Whether it’s acne, dry or oily skin, premature aging or anything in between, there are vegan foods for healthy skin that can be found in your kitchen and are sure to outdo the promises of whatever “miracle cream” you slathered on this morning.
For starters, one of the easiest and healthiest things you can do is to increase your consumption of plant-based foods and decrease your consumption of refined sugar and processed items (read: garbage). You’ll feel better and your skin will reflect that, too. Why? Unlike most meat and dairy products, plant-based foods contain a plethora of skin enhancing nutrients. Additionally, high doses of sugar tend to trigger inflammation in the body, which breaks down collagen and decreases elasticity (read: wrinkles).
It’s more than a matter of simply ditching the pork and ice cream, however, as the benefits from doing so will all be dependent upon how you to choose to replace those calories. Let this serve as a basic guideline on how to eat your way to radiant skin.
Eat Your Way To Glowing Skin
Protein is a key component to collagen production and maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion. Often, the biggest concern when cutting back on animal-based foods or removing them from the diet completely is how to still get enough protein. However, your daily requirement can easily be met without the consumption of meat. Aside from well-known sources such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and corn are also excellent sources.
Fresh Vegetables & Fruits
Your fruit and vegetable choices can affect your overall skin health based on the type of vitamins they contain. The key to receiving the most benefits is to eat a variety (think colors), as they often contain different, yet equally important, nutrients. Choose at least one serving of fruit that’s high in vitamin C such as melons, strawberries or oranges, and opt for dark leafy greens, which are an excellent source of calcium and iron.
Healthy Fats & Oils
Healthy fats and oils are an essential part of any good diet. While there are many unhealthy counterparts, plant-based ones such as olive oils, nuts, seeds and avocados (how about that new emoji, eh?) are among excellent, wholesome sources! We know that Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for a healthy brain and heart, but they also help to improve the quality of our skin. While most omnivores look to fish for Omega-3, it’s also abundant in sources such as walnuts and flaxseed.
There’s nothing better than water for your overall health. If your body isn’t getting enough H2O, the lack of hydration will present itself through dry, tight skin. Water is lost in large quantities, so be sure you’re adequately replacing it throughout the day. If chugging down the recommended amount of water seems impossible, you can substitute by adding water-rich foods to your diet.
…and some of our favorites from these groups:
Kiwi is packed with Vitamin C, which helps to maintain the skin’s collagen, keeping it firm and supple. Throw them into smoothies or eat them on their own!
Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants, which help to improve blood flow and fight free radicals. Drink a glass of pomegranate juice daily or even apply the juice of the seeds directly to your skin to moisturize and smooth out wrinkles.
Pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of protein and also help to encourage the skin renewal process. (Check out our Simple Pumpkin Seed Protein)
Add more quinoa to your diet and you’ll be feeding your skin with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids + protein.
Spinach is rich in folate, which aids in the repair of DNA and may reduce the risk of skin cancer. This leafy green is also rich in vitamin A, iron and vitamin K. Hide handfuls in smoothie bowls or whip up a simple salad!
Each tiny sunflower seed is jam-packed with lots of Vitamin E, which helps to slow down the aging of our skin. It’s also extremely effective at protecting the skin against UV rays from the sun. Sprinkle them on top of salads and soups or enjoy them as a snack.
Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant, Lycopene, that helps to eliminate aging free radicals and also helps to color our skin with a beautiful glow!
Whole Grain Barley
Barley has a good amount of zinc and selenium, which helps to improve the elasticity of the skin. An easy grain to prepare, make a barley soup, barley risotto or prepare it like you would oatmeal for a hearty breakfast.
Try to incorporate several of these foods into your daily diet, as well as pull out some of the unhealthier ones you often surrender to. Beyond food, wear sunscreen, be mindful of sun exposure and be sure to get enough exercise and quality sleep.