Can changing the way you eat mean younger skin?
Spring means “new beginnings” and that means skin should shake off the hibernation phase of winter and glow with newfound vitality…… in theory, of course. Yes, there is more sunlight as the days lengthen and this is good for Vitamin D production (the foundation of great skin) but the skin often needs a reboot after a long hard winter.
Yes, there is more sunlight as the days lengthen and this is good for Vitamin D production (the foundation of great skin) but the skin often needs a reboot after a long hard winter.
Spring can, with the sun, also bring irritation, inflammation, and breakouts. Eczema can flare due to seasonal allergies and these can cause the skin to be extra sensitive.
Winter can make the skin lackluster, dry and dull so the skin needs a change in the skincare routine. One of my favorite shifts is the change from de Mamiel Winter oil to Spring oil. Everyone that knows me comments on my lustrous skin and those that are closest to me knows that Annee de Mamiel is not only my friend but my secret weapon. Her entire line is to die for but her seasonal oils keep my skin in tune with the seasons.
Spring is the time to ramp up your exercise routine which will boost circulation. That’s always an amazing help for the skin as it clears stagnant toxins left over from winter. I recommend getting out in the fresh air as much as possible.
Spring also is when I lighten up my diet. I do this naturally. My propensity for heavier stodgier foods of winter is naturally replaced by cravings for lighter foods like green spring vegetables and leaves with lighter proteins.
In order to combat seasonal allergies, I have a teaspoon of Manuka honey and, although the science behind whether this is really effective is not definitive, it seems to help me tremendously.
Food is one of the greatest healers when it comes to the changing of the seasons and below are my top foods to help give you glowing Spring skin!
Top 10 Foods for Glowing Skin!
- Almond Milk (hazelnut and coconut milk as well!) While I don’t like copious amounts of this being used in any one sitting, let’s face it. Our dairy, unless you have access to raw grass-fed milk from either a sheep or a REALLY happy cow, is filthy. It can be a huge factor in poor gut health (which will show all over your face!) and it can be mucous producing. Nut milk like almond and hazelnut milk (with hazelnut milk having fewer PUFAs and coconut being high in MCTs) is a great substitute because it helps you avoid the inflammatory reactions of factory farmed, pasteurized dairy. One caveat…. make your own nut milk, buy it from someone who does or leave it alone! The carton milks are often full of fillers and gums that can clog up the liver exacerbating skin issues. Homemade nut milk is high in dietary fiber, fatty acids, and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and more, and vitamins such as A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, D, and, of course, skin loving E.
- Arugula. You really can’t help but love when spring leaves start coming into season. They are high in vitamins and nutrients and argula is generally lower in cellulose so can be added to a salad with little fear of affecting digestion. Its bitter properties are a key factor in making sure you get all the tastes, an important Ayurvedic principle. It goes with many dishes, can be wilted into polenta (non-gmo, of course), and added to lighter salads. It’s a great mood booster and contain properties that cleanse the blood and detoxify the system. It is high in Vitamin C which helps boost immunity and form collagen, Vitamin K, essential in healthy bone formation, and potassium, great for cardiovascular health. Arugula is also high in phytochemicals, Vitamin B9 and manganese.
- Asparagus. My heart soars when I see the first beautiful spears of asparagus. First, I can’t think of a more beautiful dish than fresh buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, and asparagus but because I also know that asparagus is a detox heavy hitter. It is high in dietary fiber (the kind that won’t tear up the gut), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, silica and zinc. It is a carotenoid heavy hitter with beta-carotene and lycopene, is high in protein and a host of vitamins but it is a super diuretic, helping flush toxins from the liver, supports brain function (brain fog anyone??) and deeply nourishes the skin from within. A bonus is its high protein content and low carb count so it is perfect for diabetics and those with blood sugar handling issues and is one of the best veggies I know to incorporate into an estrogen dominance balancing diet.
- Basil. Dried basil has nothing on the fresh leaves and in the winter it is the one herb I miss more than anything. (I cannot keep it alive in the winter where I live.) As soon as it is warm enough to plan, out it comes and it stays with me for as long as I can possibly keep it alive into the fall. There are many varieties of this plant that may conjure dreams of Italy but actually originated in India. My favorite is Genovese basil which I put in everything from light sautees to pesto EVERYTHING. I use Thai basil for my green curries. This little gem is an anti-aging jewel with its antioxidant flavanoids and vitamins. Basil fights free-radicals which is a good thing because free-radicals are the major cause of aging skin. Basil is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial which means it helps maintain a healthy gut by keeping ‘beasties’ at bay in the gut that may contribute to rosacea and acne.
- Beets. I get beets throughout the winter where I live but I love Spring beets because they are a lot more tender. Beets are amazing liver and blood detoxifiers. Have you ever had a few too many drinks the night before and woken up to the hangover from hell? The humble beet can be your savior. Beets contain a nutrient called betalains (which are responsible for that deep red color) and these compounds boost the function of the liver. We all know that a sluggish liver leads to sluggish skin and since both the skin and the liver help detoxify the body we want a good relationship between the two. Think about it this way…. if the liver is sluggish and it can’t get the toxins ready to eliminate where they need to eliminate then it will show on your skin because your skin is the dumping ground for whatever wrong is going on with you. Beets are high in pectin; a dietary fiber that can be prebiotic, many minerals including iron, manganese, and potassium, phytochemicals such as betalain, carotenoids such as lycopene, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin, and is glutathione boosting.
- Blueberries. Do I need to go any further in my explanation? Everyone knows these little beauties are packed with flavanoids which are powerful antioxidants, Vitamin C which boosts collagen (hello elasticity!), but they are also known to help treat the skin by strengthening damaged blood vessels. If you have broken capillaries you want to eat more blueberries. Wild blueberries are better than cultivated but get these in at all costs!
- Cilantro. Next to basil, and, perhaps, parsley, cilantro is a staple in my kitchen. It is useful in keeping blood sugar stable and, if you didn’t know, blood sugar spikes are a common reason for breakouts. (If you remember from EstroBalance, blood sugar stability helps control hormones!!) It is a fantastic chelator for heavy metals which we ALL need no matter how clean you think you eat. It is rich in antioxidants and is a potent antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. It can be a boon in treating conditions like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It keeps the gut in check as a digestive aid as it is high in enzymes which can help in preventing excess gas, bloating and nausea caused by poor digestion. Because it is so gut friendly it naturally leads to healthier skin because a healthy gut is imperative to creating a canvas for glowing skin. As a bonus, it supports the liver as well because it possesses a potent antioxidant called quercetin which is imperative in detoxing the body. Guacamole anyone?
- Eggs. The incredible edible (free-range, foraging, if you please) egg is a nutrient powerhouse. First, you can cook them in so many different ways. They are good for breakfast, snacks, lunches and dinners. (Hello frittatas!) For those of you who worry about cholesterol, so long as you aren’t eating factory farmed grain-fed eggs, you are fine with these superstars! (And yes, these days, you can find good quality eggs nearly everywhere!). Eat WHOLE eggs because the whites and the yolks work synergistically and the yolks are packed with Vitamins A and D, which help regulate cell turnover in the skin. The whites work to repair and brighten the skin. They are a complete protein and contain all nine essential amino acids, important building blocks for muscle tone (good muscle tone equals younger looking skin!) and a host of other bodily functions. Eggs are high in Omega-3, minerals such as copper, iron, lecithin (important in keeping the liver healthy), selenium, and zinc and are high in Vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, D, E, and K.
- Leafy greens. Provided you don’t have severely impaired digestion (and even if you do, we can fix that and have you eating these little beauties in no time!) leafy greens are miraculous for the skin as they are rich in vitamins, minerals and age-fighting phytochemicals. Leafy greens include chard, arugula, kale, and spinach. The nutrients in these greens help support new growth, cell repair, hormone balance, and detoxification in the body. They also support the health of the hair, nails and teeth due to silica content. Leafy greens are loaded with Vitamin A which can help treat acne by limiting the production of sebum. They are high in Vitamin E which helps protect skin from free-radical damange and folate helps the skin to repair itef. Leafy greens also contain omega 3-fatty acids, which helps maintain healthy cell membranes and keep the skin soft and supple. Dark leafy greens should be lightly sauteed or prepared in a soup to protect the thyroid while arugula and baby spinach can be eaten raw (the latter in smaller amounts.). Leafy greens are high in fiber, fatty acids, minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium, and phytochemicals like lutein and beta-carotene.
- Pomegranates. Living in the Middle East you get really acquainted with pomegranates; the sweet ones and the sour ones (seasonal) that grow on the shrubs in my back yard. Now, I know Pom has illuminated us to the wonders of pomegranate juice (although too much of a good thing like juice can be just as damaging as none at all) but pomegranates are so much more than their juice. They are packed with Vitamin C and are well-known by Middle Eastern beauties for their collagen boosting capabilities. Collagen, lovelies, is the single most important factor in radiant skin as it boosts elasticity which helps fight sagging skin. Pomegranates are known to help repair damaged skin and combat inflammation which means they are necessities in acne fighting regimes. Their little seeds pack a powerful fiber punch too which aid detoxification as it helps the gut to eliminate waste for a clearer colon (which means less used estrogen hanging around). Because you must chew them to eat them, they stimulate enzymes in the mouth and stomach so you can break down food easier. These skin loving jewels are filled with dietary fiber, high in minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc. They are phytochemical powerhouses with flavanoids such as ellagic acid and polyphenols such as punicalagin. They are high in Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, choline, C, E, and K.
These are my top 10 Spring foods for creating vibrant, glowing, youthful skin. Incorporate as many as possible and watch your wow factor soar!