I am very excited to have health food expert, nutritionist and food blogger Monique Cormack, sharing er expertise. I met Monique a little over a year ago when she booked me as makeup artist for her wedding. Her knowledge blew my mind, so I feel grateful that she took my invitation to write a guest post for my blog.
Having radiant, clear skin makes you feel great and is really a beauty feature in itself. While I take care of my skin externally by using simple, natural skin care products, I also make sure to nourish my skin from within by eating an abundance of foods that support skin health and regeneration.
So, what foods are good for healthy skin? A fun and helpful way to look at this answer is to think of the qualities we would like in our skin, and see them reflected in what we choose to consume.
Clear. This one is a bit of a no-brainer; I am talking about water! It is so important to stay hydrated, this will keep your skin looking brighter and fuller. Dehydration will be reflected in sallow, dry skin and tired-looking eyes. You can help to hydrate with liquids such as water, coconut water, herbal tea and vegetable juices. Also try to consume water-rich, hydrating whole fruits and vegetables e.g. watermelon, grapefruit, oranges, berries, cucumber, tomatoes, celery and lettuce varieties.
Clean. It’s a bit of an overused term at the moment, but by eating “clean” I simply mean to cut back on processed foods and focus on eating as many foods as close to nature as possible. Fresh produce, lean meat, fish, eggs, raw nuts and seeds, smart carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat can be flavoured with herbs, spices, homemade sauces and dips without any chemical additives. By removing processed foods you will also eliminate a lot of excess sugar from your diet, which can be a key trigger for bad skin.
Fresh. Making sure that the majority of the food you eat is actually fresh food, as opposed to pre-packaged convenience food, will help you on your way to having great skin. Add a handful of fresh spinach to your scrambled eggs or breakfast smoothie. Enjoy an orange or an apple together with a handful of raw nuts for afternoon tea. Make sure that your lunch and dinner includes your favourite veggies, trying to include 2-3 different varieties (aim for 2 cups of veg) for a colourful plate; by eating the rainbow, you canvass a larger number of nutrients.
Vibrant. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain various micro nutrients which help to support healthy skin. Citrus, kiwi and berries are rich in Vitamin C, essential for collagen production (collagen is a major structural protein of the skin). Dark leafy greens are packed with fibre, minerals and antioxidant compounds which will improve digestion and help eliminate toxins from the body. Orange foods like carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, an antioxidant which is also essential for skin health.
Glowing. What helps you glisten and glow? Healthy, shiny FATS. I cannot stress enough the importance of including good quality fats if you want great skin. A number of nutrients needed for skin health, including Vitamins A, E and K, are all “fat-soluble”. This means that our digestive system absorbs them via a molecule of fat. Include quality fats such as a few tablespoons of cold-pressed coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil and/or organic butter. Chia seeds, raw nuts and seeds, oily fish, whole eggs, avocado and tahini are also excellent healthy-fat items to regularly include in your meals.
Toned. Protein! This is used in the construction of every tissue in your body. Skin cells are constantly regenerating, so we need to make sure we regularly consume adequate protein. This might be 2 whole eggs or approximately a 150 gram serve of meat or fish; plant-based sources include nuts and seeds, legumes and protein-rich “grains” such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. If you wish to use a protein powder, choose an additive-free one (I like Sunwarrior for a vegan protein, and the Bare Blends range is also very good).
This meal is so easy to throw together very quickly and makes a great breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner if you get home late and want to eat something that’s not too heavy before you go to sleep. I have chosen to blend together a selection of ingredients that are especially great for skin health. Avocado and chia seeds for essential healthy fats and a little protein boost. Hydrating cucumber. Cleansing, antioxidant-rich spinach for some essential leafy greens. Pear for sweetness and an excellent fibre hit. Top it with berries for your Vitamin C and also a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, which are rich in zinc (great for skin and nails) and also magnesium (great for stress management - brides-to-be this is an important mineral for you!)
You need: 1 small pear (ripe or even overripe will work best) ¾ cup cucumber chunks 1 big handful baby spinach ½ avocado 2 tsp chia seeds 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 scoop vanilla protein (I use Sunwarrior Vanilla in this) ½ cup almond/rice/coconut/oat milk ½ cup coconut water or water ½ cup berries (fresh or frozen) 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
What to do: Core and chop the pear up into chunks. Place the pear chunks and all the other ingredients, except the berries and pumpkin seeds, into your blender and process until nice and smooth. You can thin it out with a little more liquid if you prefer. Top with berries and pumpkin seeds. (For a more indulgent smoothie you can also add some coconut flakes and cacao nibs as shown in the picture!)
You can find Monique for even more great recipes and services over here at Nourish Everyday
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