One thing I wish I had learned earlier was how important our diet is to having healthy skin. We’re told all the time about how a healthy diet can improve our health, manage weight and give us more energy, but there’s less emphasis on how it can impact our skin. I even had a dermatologist tell me that what I was eating had no impact on my skin—I’m calling BS. That was definitely some of the worst medical advice I’d heard.
Why? Because I’ve witnessed the huge impacts that diet has on my own skin. Greatly reducing the amount of dairy and gluten, and upping the amount of the foods below, has made a huge difference in my gut health and my skin and that’s not coincidence! Our skin is our body’s largest organ, so really, it should be no surprise that what we put in, might show up on our face—good and bad!
A big part of that is because our gut health is so closely tied to our immunity and when our gut is off because we haven’t been nourishing it with the good stuff, your skin can reflect that poor health. Healing your gut with healthy, nourishing foods is not only good for your overall health, but will greatly impact your skin. That’s why it’s so important to start within for clear skin.
What you put on your skin matters a great deal too, but if you’re not nourishing your body from the inside, it won’t have as much of an impact. Moral of this post, if you want to improve skin conditions, start with what you eat!
This article is another great one to read—it explains how certain foods or beverages are linked to breakouts and why! It’s a great one to help pinpoint what’s causing your breakouts.
What To Eat For Clear Skin
I’ve heard of so many clear skin diets over the years, but the only one that I’ve ever been able to stick with is a simple whole foods diet. We rarely buy processed foods in our home, and since cutting out a lot of that junk, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my skin, as well as my digestion—double win! Here are a few foods that are amazing for clearing skin.
Green Leafy Vegetables
This is an obvious one! Leafy greens help reduce inflammation and detox our liver, our body’s natural detoxification system, which makes it function even better. Aim to get in 3 servings a day—that’s just one per meal—easy! Try different ones to keep things fresh too: kale, spinach, chard, collards, bok choy, arugula, watercress and romaine are all great.
I add 2 big handfuls of spinach to my smoothie every morning (by the way, green smoothies alone have seriously transformed my skin!), wilt in a handful of spinach or kale to egg scrambles, make a big veggie and greens salad for lunch (topped with nuts and seeds, another good-for-your skin food!) and finish off the day with green veggies as a big part of my dinner.
Adding lemon is one of my favorite ways to serve sautéed greens!
There’s no doubt that the more vegetables I eat, the better your skin looks. Greens have high levels of so many vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function. Without them, you’re literally depriving yourself!
A diet rich in leafy green vegetables can also help with cognitive decline (so cool!), lower your risk of heart attack and stroke and improve your digestion. All the fiber helps with digestion and keeping your body and gut functioning optimally.
When I learned that berries were really great for your skin, I was thrilled. Why?! Because, they taste delicious! Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are rich in antioxidants that give us natural protection from pollution and sun damage.
They can also decrease redness and aid in keeping skin smooth because their high content of vitamin C. Aim for one serving a day.
Green tea is one of those magical drinks that can do wonders for your skin. It’s full of powerful antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory, so it’s really great for overall health. Since it’s tea, you also get an extra dose of hydration when you drink it. Personally, I opt for decaf because I can’t handle the caffeine, but do whatever works for you.
Green tea also is high in polyphenols which help fight against oxidative stress. Sip 1-2 cups of green tea throughout the day—iced or hot—for clearer, less red and more glowy skin.
I’m new to enjoying sweet potatoes (they’re still a little sweet for me), but they’re so good for you high! They’re high in beta carotene, which also found in carrots, and it can help prevent skin damage.
I love kombucha and drink it at least 3-4x a week. When I’m trying to drink less alcohol, it’s a great substitute because it’s something different than water, tastes good and best of all—is good for you. Kombucha is fermented tea so it naturally has probiotics which aids in gut health and digestion. It can also help detoxify our bodies, and can promote elasticity, improves skin tone and texture and fights fine lines and wrinkles according to this article—cheers to that!
My favorite brands are Health-Ade & Dr. Brew. Ideally, when picking kombucha, you want to pick one that’s low in sugar, and I find that those two brands are lower than a lot of others.
I love adding turmeric to soups, smoothies or in a turmeric latte. It’s such a good spice for reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. Plus, it’s packed full of antioxidants. It doesn’t have a really strong flavor, but it has a strong color and can easily stain. In soups, I like to add 1-2 tsp to a chicken noodle or detox soup. You can also use turmeric topically in a DIY face mask.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are not only great, filling snacks, but they can help make our skin glow too! They’re a good source of vitamin A, C & E, vitamins and minerals like copper and zinc (which is known to help acne), and healthy fats that keep our skin looking youthful and skin cells looking plump and healthy.
My favorites to snack on are almonds, pecans, brazil nuts (which are high in selenium), chia, flax and hemp. Aim for a handful a day! Don’t overdo it though because they are very high in good fats.
I love that avocados are so great for skin because I love avocado! We go through a ton of them each week. They’re packed with vitamin E which our bodies need to create collagen. It’s also got lots of fiber and healthy fats.
I love it sliced next to next in the morning, on top of salads and in soups! It’s such a great way to add a creamy, rich taste to anything while still being healthy. I’d recommend sticking to 1/2 an avocado a day, especially if you’re getting healthy fats from other sources like nuts and seeds.
Another perk of avocado is that the fat, paired with the fiber helps maintain a healthy blood sugar throughout the day! Same goes with nuts and seeds!
This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but wild-caught salmon is very high in omega-3 fatty acids which calm inflammation and helps retain moisture in your skin. All things you need for a healthy, youthful glow!
There’s mixed reviews on how often you should salmon because of mercury. Personally, we eat it once a week, sometimes twice if I order it at a restaurant and I think that’s well within a healthy range. Always buy high-quality seafood when you can and opt for wild-caught vs. farmed whenever possible!
My favorite ways to make salmon are to broil it for about 8 minutes with salt, pepper and lemon juice, or to do an asian style dish and make a glaze with ginger, soy sauce (or coconut aminos), sesame oil and sesame seeds.
A whole foods diet that includes these foods above, will also help fight free radicals, which can damage cells and cause aging. If you don’t already have these things in your diet, definitely consider adding a few! So many of these can be combined in a single meal for a serious health and skin-boosting dish!
What other tips do you have for clearing skin?