We all want glowing dewy looking skin without having to use copious amounts of liquid highlighter mixed into foundation to fake ‘that dewy glow’. Sadly, I am not one of those people who is blessed with beautiful acne free clear skin and for me personally what I eat and drink has a profound effect upon the appearance of my skin and my breakouts.
You know exactly who you are if you are one of those stupendously lucky people who have super clear skin even if you eat crap and drink loads of prosecco and wine, so avert your eyes now because this blog post aint for you. Or you might want to get even better skin than you already do so in that case stick around to read my top foods and drinks to promote healthy looking skin.
*Disclaimer- I am not trying to advertise these foods or the brands, these are just the products I use personally because I like them and I notice a difference in my skin when I use them. I know that we are all unique and individuals so what works for me may not work for you but these are foods that are recognized for their skin clearing properties. This is all anecdotal too and I am just relaying what helps my skin improve, and with many of the things i suggest there just is not enough research to prove or disprove anything so don’t take my word as bible!!!
1) WATER- I know, I know BORING *yawn* we have heard it all before blah blah change the record, But, seriously it is uber important (plus it means you aren’t dehydrated which can be mistaken for hunger and then means you reach for the biscuit tin). We are about 50% water, we are basically water and nitrogen, carbon etc with emotions, meaning we need to keep replenishing our water supply. Herbal teas count and so does green tea which is a great source of antioxidants and also has appetite suppressing compounds meaning it will keep your hunger pangs in check. Antioxidants are essential for glowing skin because they fight free radicals within the body which slows down the aging process making you look youthful and beautiful. I try and aim for 2L minimum per day and i’m so used to drinking so much water now that I feel as thought I cant function properly without it.
2) Avocado’s- I have been obsessed with these bad boys for years now, sadly I over ate them and seemed to give myself an intolerance to them; they made my belly really sore and triggered my IBS. But, I cut them out for a while and then reintroduced them into my diet slowly (I was eating mammoth sized avo’s every day) and I can eat them again now without getting awful belly ache for the few days after. YAY. I love avo’s for a number of reasons – they’re a great source of healthy fats which helps keep you full, satiated & satisfied for longer after eating. Healthy fats are essential for skin health if your after that youthful glow.
3) Cinnamon: it’s such an underrated superfood! It’s also very cheap and accessible for everyone. And it tastes delicious. Cinnamon is great at balancing blood sugar levels which is extremely important to prevent spikes as we really do not want to wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels; we want them nice and steady. It is also antibacterial which is ideal if you suffer from acne, it promotes blood flow and brings blood flow further towards the surface of the skin making it plump and youthful. Personally, I just feel like cinnamon improves the appearance of my skin and gives it a great glow, and it is something that if you like the taste of is so easy to get into your diet- I sprinkle it on apples with nut butter, or roast my sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon or add it to turmeric lattes or my a.m. coffee.
4) Apple cider vinegar (ACV) make sure you get the one with ‘the mother’ because it has all the beneficial enzymes and bacteria to promote good gut health. I’m not quite sure as to why this helps my skin so much but I consume it every day- in dressings or as a shot with cayenne pepper, lemon & fresh ginger (this really helps if your constipated- you’ll be sorted in no time). I also love it because I love strong flavors, I absolutely douse my salad in it. The use of ACV for health goes back years and years and it’s long been recognized as a remedy for random ailments. I find that it improves my digestion but do not consume it on an empty stomach and if you really for some odd reason want to start your day with it (probs because you have read thats what the VS models do) then dilute it with some warm water and lemon and it won’t make you want to vomit.
5) Coconut oil- I know there’s not enough research been done on coconut oil as it is relatively new in our diets and it is kind of a fad. Personally, I really like it; I like the taste of it and I cook in it quite a lot, I use it on salads or put a little bit in a turmeric latte (I love the Kiki health turmeric and I order it online from Dolphin Fitness, it is the nicest tasting turmeric!!!) because I find that adding some source of fat to my food and drinks keeps me feeling fuller for longer and really keeps my appetite in check, this in turn prevents me from snacking too much or getting ravenous between meals. When I eat more ‘good’ fat (and I’m not saying I eat lots of fat because I don’t consume lots of one food group I make sure to keep a very balanced diet because that is the key to a good diet IMO) I find my skin really really improves and I see a direct improvement in my skins appearance- this may be because my overall diet is healthy and low in processed and sugary foods which will promote not only skin health but overall health.
6) Anything fermented- yoghurt, kefir, ACV, sauerkraut, miso, probiotics (again I love the Kiki health ‘bodybiotics’, Kiki Health are one of my fave brands for health foods). Gut health is everywhere atm it’s massive and people won’t stop banging on about it… for good reason. There’s so much emerging evidence that a healthy gut= a healthy you and I think we will all be surprised at upcoming research with regard to just how vital a healthy gut with a really diverse microbiome is (i’m not going to go into it now but I might do a post on it because its such a fascinating topic). I feel that when my gut is happy and healthy and my ibs is in check (gross but.. if your having regular bowel movements and checking it against bristol stool scale and it’s looking what it should look like then your probably good) that my skins better and I feel better overall (most importantly) better within myself (i.e. better energy levels, not getting poorly or catching colds, and sleeping better).
7)Wash your pillow cases/ change them regularly: this is not to do with food but is so important, your pillow case gets gross and dirty and you rub your face all over it so if it’s not super clean it won’t be doing your skin any favours. (Lazy gal laundry hack- flip it over then you don’t have to do as much washing)
8)Make sure you wash your face properly and have a good consistent skin care routine. I love origins products and have recently got into a good habit with skin care and make sure i wash my face really thoroughly because i defo wasn’t before and since I have been doing that I have also seen an improvement in the texture of my skin and far less blackheads.
9)Use a sunscreen…I cannot stress this one enough! I use origins spf35 everyday under my make up or on its own because it gives a lovely finish to the skin. This tip is so important and I don’t think people really understand how much damage the sun does to our skin; the UVB rays are responsible for sun burn and the UVA rays are responsible for aging the skin (B for burning, A for aging) and the UVA rays penetrate through clouds so in the winter you still get sun damage to skin!! If we were never exposed to the sun we probably wouldn’t wouldn’t show wrinkles till about 80 years old! Having said that, we need a little sunlight so that our bodies can make vitamin D- so it is about finding that balance (as with everything); so for example…on holiday maybe have 10 mins of sun exposure in the a.m. before you slap on your sun block- this way you can ensure your body’s getting the precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol to make vit D (cholecalciferol).
10) Accept that some days your skin doesn’t look as radiant as others- this could be due to a myriad of factors; you are due on your period and your hormones are all over the shop (this makes a huge difference and usually within like 2 days my skin improves after a flare up), you’ve had a bad diet for the last few weeks and its caught up with you, you’ve drank too much alcohol etc. For me anyway, these antics always show in my skin and I feel it looks almost dull in appearance if i’ve fallen off the wagon a bit and had one too many dominos (yes i eat dominos and takeways sometimes and don’t deprivie myself of them because i’d be miserable eating my kale salad whilst i really was craving pizza).
11) If you suffer from dark eye bags or slightly grey looking undereyes I find that eating lots of green leafy veggies help massively; they literally disappear and you don’t look knackered all the time anymore. Green leafy veg are a source of vitamin K which is involved with blood coagulation and circulation, and poor circulation can be a reason for dark under eye areas therefore consuming vit k foods can actually help to brighten under eye areas. You don’t need fancy eye creams or touche eclat when you can just eat your greens instead, plus you’ll get a whole host of other benefits by upping your green veggie intake so it’s a no brainer!
12) Omega 3’s are your new best mate. Omega 3’s are a family of unsaturated fatty acids that we need to obtain from our diet, hence why they are called essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Omega 3’s have the first double bond at the third carbon in the hydrocarbon chain, we must get these from our diet as the human body cannot create a bond before the 9th carbon in the hydrocarbon chain. You can get omega 3 from plant sources such as walnuts, flax seeds (linseeds) and chia seeds but your body needs to convert them from alpha linolenic acid (ALA) to Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the conversion rate is thought to be more efficient in women than in men but the rate of conversion is still not known exactly. You can get EPA & DHA from fish and fish oils (cod liver oil and salmon), also from algae (seaweed- sprirulina and chlorella). As a rule of thumb I don’t like to rely on plant sources for my omega 3’s because i’m not sure how efficient my body is at converting them so I focus on cod liver oil (i use the eskimo supplement and I get it on amazon) or salmon. Omega 3 is known as ‘the beauty fat’; it helps make the skin glow and is anti inflammatory so helps reduce redness too. One known factor to affect the conversion rate is eating too much omega 6 which is another EFA that we do need but in small amounts- in the western diet we tend to eat too much omega 6 which can be inflammatory and reduce the conversion rate of ALA –> EPA & DHA.
13)Don’t presume that you have to cut out lots of foods in order to get great skin. I like to focus on what you can add into your diet as opposed to thinking negatively about all the things you ‘can’t have anymore’. Instead, focus on the abundance of wholefoods that you can include in your diet and all the amazing ways you can experiment with them e.g. focus on adding more colour into your diet- red, green, purple, orange: this will make your food more aesthetically enticing because we eat with our eyes so our food has got to be colorful and appetizing!
Please remember- these are all in the context of a healthy overall diet paired with moderate exercise so if you suddenly consume an avo a day but still eat crap the rest of the time you are unlikely to reap the benefits. It’s not just one thing that gives you great skin- it’s loads of aspects of a healthy, balanced lifestyle interacting to give rise to the happiest, healthy & sexiest you!
ps, remember: if you do suffer from oily acne prone skin here’s a silver lining: you won’t get wrinkles as early as someone without oily skin because your skins not dry so you will look youthful for way longer!!
Until next time,