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Food for glowing skin: what to eat to look good

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One of the factors that makes us not only look healthier but feel great too is having glowing skin. Naturally radiant skin has a glow from the inside out, and it comes from what you place in to your body

Food for glowing skin should be an essential in your diet if you want to look your absolute best, with or without makeup.

Glowing skin also comes from skin hydration, increased blood flow which brings nutrients to skin cells, and protection from damaging UV rays which attack skin elasticity and cause premature ageing. 

This guide to food for glowing skin will tell you the best fruits and other sources of skin friendly compounds to eat for smooth skin with a natural radiance and glow to it. 

The best food for skin glow contains any of the following nutrients:

  • protein for helping your body make collagen
  • omega-3 fatty acids for moisture
  • antioxidants to fight free radicals and protect your skin from external elements
  • anti-inflammatories to fight redness, irritation and acne breakouts, and maintain clear skin
  • probiotics to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients

Consequently there are also foods that you should avoid if you want to maximise the benefits of these good foods.

Let’s take a look at the foods that play an important role in making your skin glow (and those that really don’t). 

vegetables and wholegrains which are good for your skin

The best food for glowing skin

This guide to getting radiant skin through food focusses on the foods that everyone, regardless of dietary preference, can eat.

Therefore it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans

You should include a wide range of nutrients in your diet by eating a large variety of these healthy foods.

Related: How to glow up overnight

This will ensure that you pack as many beneficial compounds in to your body as possible to look and feel your absolute best and get a natural glow. 

If you are hoping to get glowing skin food that you eat should be an important consideration every day. 

Protein for glowing skin

Protein provides your body with amino acids. These play a major role in the production of collagen building blocks, which provide the structure of your skin cells.

Healthy cells high in collagen are smoother and the skin is more elastic and firm with less fine lines.

Over time, collagen production decreases so that is one of the reasons wrinkles appear and skin sags with age.

Another of these is UV damage, so make sure to always wear SPF on your face to protect against UV radiation and an uneven skin tone. 

By ensuring your body has the amino acids it needs to support collagen synthesis, you can help to keep your skin smooth and glowing for as long as possible. 

The best foods to provide your body with amino acids include:

  • quinoa
  • tofu
  • edamame beans
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • oats
  • soymilk
  • nuts and nut butters like the best peanut butter
  • chia seeds
  • buckwheat
  • all kinds of beans
  • brown and wild rice

If your diet is lacking in protein you can try supplementing with healthy protein powders such as those containing pea protein or brown rice protein.

This will also help your hair to look healthier and stronger since protein also contributes to the production of keratin.

This is one of the building blocks of our hair strands and is essential for hair health as well as skin health. 

Flaxseed for glowing skin

A list of food for glowing skin would not be complete without flaxseed.

This ancient crop has been used for centuries for a variety of health benefits.

Flaxseed contains a very high amount of ALA, one of the Omega-3 fatty acids we have in our bodies.

Flaxseed (and omega-3 fats in general) benefits your skin by helping it to:

  • retain moisture so it looks plumper and smoother
  • fight free radicals which break down your skin’s collagen
  • naturally detoxify through bowel regularity due to its high fibre content

You can add flaxseed to your diet by sprinkling ground flaxseed over foods such as cereals or salads, and adding it to smoothies and protein shakes. 

Essential fatty acids found in foods like flaxseed (as well as oily fish) help with skin’s radiance and protect against future skin damage. 

Antioxidants for glowing skin

You may have heard the term antioxidant before. 

An antioxidant is a compound found in many foods which help to protect your skin (and other parts of your body) from free radicals.

You can protect against free radicals by not smoking, staying out of the sun, and avoiding alcohol and sugar intake.

You can also help fight them by increasing your ingestion of antioxidant-containing foods which will fight off the free radicals.

Free radicals are also present in your body and in your environment, and have some benefits. Too many, however, can lead to something called oxidative stress which can wreak havoc on your whole body. When it comes to skin, free radicals can accelerate the ageing process by depleting cells of lipids and contributing to dark spots, pigmentation, and wrinkles. 

Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables. They come in many forms, such as Vitamins A, C and E, certain minerals like selenium, flavonoids, and polyphenols. 

Oxidative damage (as well as sun damage) is a major contributor to premature aging. 

Skincare also contains important antioxidants that can be applied topically. These help with the maintenance of healthy skin. 

Foods with lots of antioxidants:

Here is a list of some of the different types of antioxidants, and the vegan-friendly foods in which they are most commonly found:

  • vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, apricots, canteloupe melons, pistachios, goji berries
  • manganese: tofu, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, pine nuts, brown rice, soy beans, black pepper
  • vitamin C: citrus fruits, spinach, broccoli, dark leafy greens like kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
  • vitamin E: avocado, spinach, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, sunflower oil, Brazil nuts, kiwi
  • selenium: sunflower seeds, brown rice, spinach, lentils, oats, Brazil nuts
  • lycopene: tomatoes (especially when cooked), tomato paste, watermelon, papaya, asparagus
  • anthocyanins: blueberries, aubergine, grapes, strawberries, red cabbage, plums, blackcurrants
  • flavonol: green tea, peaches, onions, parsley, berries, tomatoes, lettuce
  • catechins: apples, strawberries, green tea, blackberries, cocoa, broad beans, apricots, pears, cherries
  • zinc: lentils, chickpeas, cashew nuts, seeds, nuts, kidney beans, oats, tofu
  • beta-carotene: kale, spinach, bell peppers (red and yellow), paprika, marjoram, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and mango are all an excellent source of beta carotene
  • polyphenols: onions, grapes, berries, chilli peppers, oregano, cloves, olives
  • lutein: courgette, red grapes, kiwi, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach
  • isoflavones: soybeans, soymilk, tofu, chickpeas, fava beans, soy sauce
  • lignans: seeds, nuts, broccoli, kale, peppers, whole grains, apricots, oats
  • copper: nuts, seeds, mushrooms, chickpeas, avocado, leafy greens like cabbage and kale, sweet potatoes
  • indoles: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, pak choi, Brussels sprouts, rocket
  • cryptoxanthins: red peppers, squash, tangerines, paprika, papaya, oranges, peaches, pumpkin

A diet with a wide variety of these essential vitamins and antioxidant properties will help you protect your skin from free radical damage. They can be fresh or frozen and you can, for example, learn how to freeze peaches to prolong them. 

An interesting option for a skin glowing food is dark chocolate. This is high in flavanols as well as essential vitamins. It’s important to keep intake of dark chocolate to a minimum, however. It still contains sugar which is something that affects skin negatively (see below). 

Red wine also contains antioxidants but again it should be consumed in moderation to avoid the negative effects of the alcohol content. Alcohol can dry out skin and lead to lines, wrinkles and sagging. It also depletes the skin of important nutrients and can also contribute to broken blood vessels and skin redness. 

foods with antioxidants for glowing skin

Anti-inflammatory foods for radiant skin

Inflammation is a term used widely these days to discuss a state of unhealthiness in the body. While short-term inflammation is a reaction to injury, and helps the healing process, chronic inflammation is a long term reaction to things that are bad for the body. These include sugar, alcohol, processed meat and white bread. 

At its worst, inflammation is thought to be responsible for a host of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. When it comes to your skin health, inflammation also plays a part. Inflammation can cause puffy skin, eye bags, acne, eczema, premature aging and other unwanted skin effects. 

To reduce skin inflammation, eliminate the foods that aggravate it (see below) and incorporate more of these foods with anti-inflammatory properties that make skin glow:

  • olives and olive oil
  • avocado
  • green tea
  • peppers
  • nuts
  • green tea
  • berries
  • leafy green vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts)
  • sweet potatoes
  • lentils
  • tomatoes
  • chia seeds
  • turmeric
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • brown rice

Matcha tea is particularly well known for its benefits for skin. It contains epigallocatechin gallate which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. As an added bonus it also contributes positively to protecting against disease of the heart and brain. Lots of people also believe it helps them to lose weight. 

Many people also swear by drinking a glass of lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning. One reason for this is that it is thought the citric acid helps to flush out toxins from the body and thereby help to reduce inflammation. 

Probiotic foods that make skin glow

A healthy digestive system is vital if you want your skin to truly glow from within. Its role is to absorb the nutrients you are putting into your body. Therefore, without effective digestion your skin (and the rest of your body) will not be able to benefit fully from what you eat. 

The good kind of bacteria that is naturally present in your digestive system help you absorb nutrients. They also protect your immunity and keep bad bacteria at bay. When the digestive system doesn’t function properly, it can lead to skin problems such as eczema, dry skin and acne

For clear and radiant skin, ensure you consume probiotic foods which contain healthy bacteria that will support your digestive system. These include: 

  • miso
  • kimchi
  • tempeh
  • kombucha
  • sauerkraut
  • pickled vegetables
  • natto

There are also best vegan probiotic here if you ever want to take supplements instead. 

Foods that are bad for skin

As you might expect when it comes to a guide to food for glowing skin, there are also several foods you should avoid. Many of these are common sense really, as we all know that they’re not a healthy choice. 

These are the foods you should leave out of your glowing skin diet:

  • refined grains and sugars (for example those found in cakes, white bread, cereals, fruit juices and store-bought sauces)
  • alcohol
  • dairy products
  • deep fried food and fast food
  • coffee

These can affect your skin through dehydration, blood sugar and insulin spikes or other bodily reactions which have a detrimental effect on your skin and sap your skin’s radiance.  

They are also bad for your other organs, not just your skin, particularly when consumed in excessive amounts. By avoiding foods that don’t make your skin glow you can also potentially avoid additional health issues by staying healthy on the inside. 

Your diet for glowing skin

By incorporating the healthy foods above into your diet, and excluding those which are best avoided, you can ensure your skin will look the best it can do naturally. Following a healthy diet that includes healthy fats, lean proteins, and powerful antioxidant rich foods to fight off harmful free radicals is also a great way to improve your overall health. 

Skincare and makeup can only do so much in terms of improving your appearance and giving you a healthy glow. The best way for you to start caring for your skin is from the inside out. Eat plenty of these delicious and healthy foods for radiant skin and to look your absolute glowing best. 

Eating food for glowing skin can also be accompanied by these other tips to get glowing skin.

It’s also really important that you learn how to glow up mentally

You may also love this shower routine for glowing skin

Additional resources: 

-Connect with Viva Day Spa for more skin care treatments tailored to your skin





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Melissa Jane Lee
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