It has long been suspected and now it’s scientifically confirmed – there is, in fact, a link between acne, sugar, and dairy. While that may be bad news for ice cream cravings, the good news is that if you’ve tried every cream, lotion and potion in the book, research indicates you may be able to banish skin woes simply by making small dietary tweaks. To get an action plan in place, we turned to Stacy Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN and her team of expert nutritionists at Savorfull to find out the six foods we should add to our diet immediately.
Sweet potato: One sweet potato contains 561 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, which is necessary for the maintenance and repair of vital skin tissue. If you’re deficient in vitamin A, your skin may become dry and flaky. Sweet potatoes also contain a significant source of vitamin C, which protects from infection and boosts immunity. Research by the American Academy of Dermatology has shown that skin lotions containing vitamin A may help reduce acne and reduce lines and wrinkles.
Cooking Tip: A delicious and nutritious way to incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet is by experimenting with homemade baked sweet potatoes instead of a white potato! Top your potato with Greek yogurt or nondairy yogurts if you are avoiding dairy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a dash of ground Himalayan pink salt.
Almonds: Almonds are packed with biotin, which is part of the vitamin B complex. Biotin forms the basis of nails, skin, and hair cells. Deficiencies in vitamin B complex in your diet may cause dry skin, hair loss and dry, splitting or thin nails. Almonds are also a good source of vitamin D and magnesium, which can help with hair quality, and vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage.
Cooking Tip: Making your own almond butter is easier than you think. Pulse about 1.5 cups of raw almonds in a food processor until smooth, and voila, homemade almond butter! For smoother almond butter, soak the nuts for a few hours and drain before processing.
Raw Red Pepper: 1/2 cup of raw red pepper contains 158 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C aids in skin care because of its antioxidants properties and role in collagen synthesis. Foods containing vitamin C speed up protein metabolism and are necessary in the formation of collagen. By pairing foods high in protein with foods high in vitamin C, it is easy to achieve great benefits for one’s body. Not only can it help to heal damaged skin, it may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin texture. Red peppers are also packed with immunity boosting vitamin A.
Cooking Tip: Try a quinoa salad loaded with diced red pepper, spinach, goat cheese and fresh-squeezed lemon. Roasting red peppers gives them a more complex flavor and is a delicious addition to any dish.
Wheat Germ Oil: One tablespoon of wheat germ oil contains 100 percent daily value of vitamin E. Vitamin E, like vitamin C, helps to protect against sun damage and aids in the treatment of skin inflammation. Vitamin E may reduce the appearance of scars and rough, dry skin. Foods high in vitamin E, such as wheat germ oil, will not only help your skin stay supple but will contribute to your hair’s healthy luster and strength.
Cooking Tip: Wheat germ will give any dish a deeper flavor and aroma. Try adding a teaspoon of wheat germ oil on top of dark leafy green, orange vegetables or a spinach salad.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables such as collards, turnip greens, spinach, kale and broccoli are good sources of vitamin K. Vitamin K can fade dark circles, bruises and skin discoloration. This skin-nourishing vitamin may also assist with wrinkle reduction and signs of aging.
Cooking Tip: Adding leafy greens such as spinach, kale or turnip greens into a smoothie is an effective way to incorporate vitamin K into the diets of children or picky eaters avoiding veggies. Try blending them with blackberries and ginger for an energy boost!
Flaxseed: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and easy to add to any dish, flaxseeds can help keep your skin supple and reduce wrinkles.
Cooking Tip: Adding whole or ground flax seeds to your oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes or meatballs provides a healthy daily dose of omega-3s. If that seems too daunting for you, experiment with the flax flavor by adding KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds to top off your nondairy or Greek yogurt or oatmeal, or as a snack mixed with raw almonds.