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Eating for Better Skin

Eating right and exercising more are probably at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions (and if they’re not, they should be!) But here’s an added bonus to fitting more leafy greens, fruits, and veggies into your diet: they’ll lead to healthier skin as well.

I’ve composed a list of the top foods for your skin (as originally read on Byrdie) and paired them with links to yummy recipes that will make adding healthier ingredients to your diet fun, not a painful chore. With this added motivation, there should be no excuse for starting your 2014 off on the wrong foot (at least in the kitchen).

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1. blueberries: their antioxidants protect skin cells from damage and will help eliminate toxins and clear up your skin. Try sneaking them into your dessert with these blueberry crumb bars and blueberry mascarpone pie bites, or sprinkle them on top of waffles for a decadent Sunday brunch.

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2. kale: is packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, that help eliminate toxins and clear up your skin. Can’t stand this leaf? Any other dark green vegetable (like spinach or broccoli) will do, but you can also try preparing it in something other than your typical salad, like a kale and three-cheese calzone, kale, strawberry, and banana smoothie, or chocolate cocoa kale chips.

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3. wild salmon: this is seriously a miracle meat. It can get pricey at times, but it’s an indulgence that your skin will thank you for in the future. It contains omega-3′s that keep your skin looking young, and the fatty acids help your dry skin retain moisture, which is a welcome benefit during these cold winter months. Preparing salmon can be tricky, but here are some recipes for a smoked salmon BLT, Mediterranean baked salmon, and tufted salmon and bruschetta, which should get you started.

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4. walnuts: like salmon, these contain omega-3′s and dietary essential fatty acids. If you don’t like fish, they’re a healthy snack that will keep your skin looking young and fresh. Allergic to nuts? flax seeds do the trick as well. Try incorporating walnuts into a yummy side dish like balsamic Brussels sprouts and red grapes, a main meal like butternut squash tortellini with brown butter sauce, or a dessert like carrot cake cupcakes.

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5. quinoa: it’s a trendy food and the most popular carb for a reason. Quinoa contains selenium, which protects your skin from damage. Prepare it almost any way you’d like, or take these bloggers’ leads and try it in a spinach, quinoa, and pear salad, quinoa tabbouli, or quinoa pasta with tomato rose sauce.

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6. green tea: I don’t have any recipes for this one. Just drink it straight! Green tea is naturally delicious, it energizes you without caffeine like soda or coffee does, and it has anti-inflammatory effects, which protect your skin from getting red and irritated by blemishes, dryness, or anything else.

There you have it! Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, avocado, almonds, and olive oil are also extremely beneficial for your skin, but I wanted to focus on foods that are in season, easy to obtain, and easily lend themselves to yummy recipes that will keep you cooking for yourself in the kitchen and away from that takeout hotline.

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