By Kimberly SnyderNutritionist & Best-Selling Author
We all want great skin because it’s one of the first things people see! And while we rely on skin care products and makeup to some degree, I’m a firm believer in building beauty from the inside out—skin, after all, is a living, breathing organ, and nothing substitutes real beauty built from superfoods and mindful nutrition.
Your skin is the last organ to receive nutrition in the body and is among the first organ to show signs of an imbalance or deficiency. I have talked about so many different foods in my book The Beauty Detox Foods, where I go into great detail about specific foods for specific beauty issues, but here are seven that I’ve found to have an especially profound effect on the skin:
Sprouts are the “baby” plants that start to multiply its nutritive value of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids, which supply abundant plant protein and many other nutrients needed to sustain the mature plant-eating sprouts transmits these nutrients right into your body. Sprouts are one of the most powerful foods for cellular regeneration and health, containing an incredible range of nutrients to cleanse your body, nourish your cells and tissues, and contribute to a beautiful glow from the inside out.
Top Tip: Wash thoroughly, then throw them into your Glowing Green Smoothie or on salads.
2. Bee pollen.
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, bee pollen will enhance your overall skin glow, not to mention energy. Bee pollen is said to have been consumed by the Chinese for centuries to help increase energy, alleviate acne and depression, and improve digestion. These little pollen grains contain all the B vitamins (except B12), providing stress relief, improved digestion, hormonal balance, and assists in cleansing toxins from the body. They also contain rutin (an enzyme catalyst), potent antioxidants, all essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and nucleic acids such as RNA and DNA. Bee pollen contains high levels of collagen-repairing vitamin C and skin-protecting vitamin E, making it a potent anti-aging, anti-wrinkle food.
Top tip: I often eat a little bee pollen off a spoon before going to yoga or as a quick snack on the go (Note: If you have a pollen allergy you may want to avoid bee pollen. Start with a very small amount if you’re new to consuming bee pollen—approximately one-quarter of a teaspoon—and build up from there.)
Nobody loves cellulite, especially with beach season upon us. So, if you have some unwanted cellulite that you’d like to reduce the appearance of, cilantro is your herb. That’s because cilantro has the ability to chelate heavy metals, that is, bind to and help escort out of your body. What does that have to do with cellulite? you might be wondering. Well, heavy metals tend to get lodged in our fat cells, which can contract and expand. So helping to rid our body of heavy metals may help ameliorate the appearance of cellulite.
Top Tip: I recommend adding about one-third of a cup of cilantro to your daily smoothie, or throwing it into your soups and salads as a flavorsome topping.
4. Dandelion greens.
Dandelion roots and leaves are cleansing herbs that are excellent for your liver. They have natural detoxifying qualities and also help cleanse your blood, as they are also antioxidant-rich. Dandelion greens are considered an ancient form of natural plant medicine, used in traditional treatments to help balance skin disorders such as rashes, acne, psoriasis, and more.
Top Tip: Try adding a few dandelion greens to your smoothies, or stir-fry dandelion greens with coconut oil, which, shall we say, “mellows” out the taste. I also like dandelion greens on my salads with tons of lime and avocado, which seems to take an edge off the bitterness. Don’t be scared, though—the benefits are definitely worth it!
5. Hemp milk.
Hemp milk is one of my favorite nondairy milk. It’s rich in beauty fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which help build supple, beautifully smooth skin. It’s also loaded with anti-aging vitamin A that helps restore your skin’s elasticity, cell renewal, and blood-boosting circulation. You’ll also find a plethora of beauty vitamins in hemp milk, like B12, E, and calcium. Vitamin B12 helps your skin by producing blood, which delivers nutrients to your skin. Vitamin E is a defender—it shields your skin from the harmful effects of sun and free radicals.
Top Tip: Try using hemp milk as the base of smoothies, overnight oats, in your tea, or nestled into creamy chia puddings.
Acai has been a popular “superfood” for years now, but I can’t help but include it because it truly is an amazing skin food! Sky-high in antioxidants to help protect skin’s integrity from damage and preserve its overall beauty, it’s also packed with minerals and vitamins A, C, and E and is naturally sugar-free.
Top Tip: My favorite way to get it into my diet regularly is smoothies—can you tell I’m obsessed with smoothies yet? I always go for the unsweetened smoothie packets, which flash-freeze the acai berries at the moment of peak ripeness.
Spirulina is in the family of blue-green algae found in both the ocean and fresh water and provides an abundant supply of many different phytonutrients integral to health. Because it contains no cellulose in its cell walls, its nutrients are easily assimilated into the body. It’s a particularly rich source of iron, which helps to build healthy blood (translation: glowing skin). It also offers a great source of vitamins and minerals, including Bs, D, and K. Spirulina is one of the richest sources of natural beta-carotene too, those potent antioxidants that convert to vitamin A in the body, and has around 10 times the concentration that’s found in carrots.
Top Tip: Toxins and heavy metals from the environment can weigh you down, diminishing your natural glow. Some researchers have found that spirulina possesses potent detoxifying properties and can cleanse mercury and other heavy metals and toxins out of the body, making it a glow-promoting skin food! Try this tropical spirulina-rich smoothie bowl for glowing skin.