Summer is just around the corner, which means you may be venturing outdoors to socialize and soak up some sun. With your jackets and sweaters in winter storage, you’ll surely be showing some skin at your next backyard barbecue or beach outing. For a truly radiant glow, indulge in these nine nutrient-filled foods.
Is a plant-based diet good for your skin?
First up, let’s be clear, the very best thing you can do for your skin while you’re out and about during warm, sunny weather is to wear SPF. Sunscreen helps protect against the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause burning, premature aging, and skin cancer. (Find our guide here for the best vegan sunscreens.)
But another great way to support your skin’s health is through diet. Plant-based foods are particularly beneficial for skin because they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, and boast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Want to learn more about which ones are best? Find our list below!
Vegan foods for healthy beautiful skin
Slice them, dice them, put them on a sandwich, or include them in your next kale salad. Tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which helps protect your skin from age-inducing free radicals. This Heirloom Tomato Salad is a tasty way to load up on tomatoes during your lunch break.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and help keep the skin hydrated, making them one of your greatest allies in the battle against wrinkles. Flax also keeps your heart strong by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing inflammation; you can get your flax fix with these vegan blueberry-coconut oat bars.
3 Dark chocolate
Keeping a clear complexion can be pretty sweet—the cocoa powder in dark chocolate is filled with anti-aging antioxidants known as flavonoids. To satiate your sweet tooth and maintain your healthy glow, we recommend keeping some dark chocolate cups on hand for mid-morning or afternoon snacking.
4 Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin C, a nutrient that may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles by bolstering collagen in the skin. For a full serving of this youth-boosting veggie, try our stuffed sweet potatoes, or these tasty smoky vegan sweet potato tacos.
Spinach is packed with nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which are associated with maintaining good skin health. Vitamin C, in particular, is key for collagen production, which is the protein responsible for strengthening skin and helping to keep it looking firm and supple. To get more spinach into your diet, try making this delicious creamy vegan spinach ravioli.
6 Citrus fruit
Citrus fruits pack a powerful punch of vitamins and nutrients that help keep your skin smooth and silky. Under their thick skin, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes present a plethora of flavonoids and a huge helping of vitamin C. Citrus fruits have also been linked with lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Eat them solo, incorporate them in your favorite poolside drinks, or enjoy them in this grapefruit and fennel salad.
7 Safflower oil
While safflower oil may come in handy in preparing tofu scrambles or crisping your favorite vegan bacon, it also helps to protect and moisturize skin when applied topically. Besides external use, incorporating safflower, which has anti-inflammatory properties, in your cooking also promotes dermatological health, and may be useful in treating skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
Walnuts are another superfood laden with omega-3 fatty acids. They will also help you feel as young as you look, as they are linked with good heart health and low cholesterol. Serve walnuts as an entrée in this plum and radicchio salad or incorporate them into your dessert menu with this no-bake, stewed berry coconut cake.
Carrots’ high levels of beta-carotene will provide you with vitamin A and antioxidants that are crucial for healthy skin. Go simple and pair some carrot sticks with your favorite brand of hummus, or infuse a Moroccan influence into your evening meals with this spicy carrot salad.
While these foods will make you shine, shimmer, and glow, remember that healthy skin is an extension of your overall well-being. The better you treat yourself, the better your complexion and appearance will reflect it. So, hit the beach (don’t forget the all-important SPF!), pack some carrots, citrus fruits, and treat yourself.