Great skin products are a wonderful tool, but if you want truly radiant skin, it’s time to do some inside work. With just a little bit of Culinary Alchemy®, you can make a big difference in the appearance of your skin and starting with your gut health is the key to glowing, youthful skin.
Skin aging consists of two biological processes. The first is chronological aging, which occurs in conjunction with the aging of your organs. The second is extrinsic skin aging, which is a result of toxins in your environment, sun and UV exposure, poor diet, poor sleep, high stress, lack of exercise, and smoking. One thing is for sure, prevention is more effective than reversing, so starting today is the best idea when it comes to putting together a skincare regimen and anti-aging diet!
My clients who have made even small changes to their diet and lifestyle have reported clearer and more hydrated skin, more radiance, and fewer wrinkles amongst other benefits. Anti-aging protocol is much cheaper than you would think. Being proactive with your health by focusing on consuming superfood ingredients and nutrients, like the ones I list below, can be much less expensive than dealing with products that claim to reverse damage from aging or even age-related diseases.
Here are 13 tips that I have found to be key to experiencing radiant, glowing skin from the inside out:
If you could do one thing for your skin, it would be to hydrate. I recommend that people drink their body weight in ounces of water each day, especially if you are looking to achieve luminous skin. I choose alkaline natural mountain spring water, when possible, but please don’t forgo proper hydration in exchange for seeking out the perfect H2O. You can add some excitement to your hydration with different flavors and textures, such as those found in fruit or herb infused water, herbal teas and hydrating foods such as cucumber, watermelon and celery. It’s also important to moderate dehydrating beverages such as those that contain caffeine and alcohol. Drinking water will help your skin appear hydrated and healthy.
2. Get Omega-3s (EFA’s)
These fatty acids can help decrease the signs of aging, and increase skin hydration and smoothness. I love adding plant-based omega-3 containing flaxseed oil to my smoothies or even eating it in a daily spoonful. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease inflammation, which can be a root cause of many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Sources – supplements, flaxseeds, chia seeds, wild Atlantic salmon
3. Vitamin C
This beauty secret is found in many plant-based foods and is even a feature in skincare products. One important function is maintaining the structure and natural use of collagen proteins in your body. It also helps to heal damage from toxins and UV exposure, repair dry skin, and reduce wrinkles. You may know that Vitamin C is important for supporting your immune system, but did you know your skin also has its own immune system? Your skin is an important line of defense against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful foreign bodies. There are over 20 billion immune cells existing on your skin, alerting your immune system and triggering inflammation. You may notice that when you’re sick, your skin tends to break out.
Sources – high quality supplements (such as Serena Loves All Is Well and Berry Well), citrus fruits, papayas, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, blackcurrant, rosehip, guava, chili pepper, and parsley.
4. Vitamin E
Increasing your vitamin E intake helps protect the skin from photoaging effects and inflammation. This fat-soluble antioxidant partners up with Vitamin C to protect your skin from sun damage and UV rays. It is also important in collagen production, maintaining retinol levels, and supporting the immune system.
Sources – wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower seeds, corn, soy, and meats.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is nearly a crisis in our country. Did you know that Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin? It acts as a hormone in your body, and your skin is one of the key tissues in the Vitamin D endocrine system. It protects against UVB damage and the cancers that can cause, aging caused by stress, and even acts as an antimicrobial for your skin’s immune system. Supplementing may be necessary if you are not getting adequate daily sunlight. To learn more about how to get a healthy amount of Vitamin D all year long, read this.
Sources – sunlight, supplement (Ultimate D), fish high in oils, red meat, egg yolks, and mushrooms
The carotenoids Vitamin A, B-Carotene, Lycopene, and Retinol have been shown to contain phytoprotective antioxidant properties. These antioxidants act as natural sunblock, protecting from sun damage and UV rays. They also contain skin firming, skin toning, and skin brightening benefits. Vitamin A is often used in conjunction with other skin treatments for skin pigmentation and reducing wrinkles. A diet high in orange foods, like those listed below, can actually give you a tan-like glow.
Sources – Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, papaya, watermelon, tomatoes, milk, egg yolk, cheese, liver, fatty fish,
This powerful subcategory of antioxidants is full of substances that reduce and fight oxidative stress, which accelerates aging. Polyphenols also help reduce inflammation and repair damage done to your DNA. These antioxidants have been shown to protect the skin against UV damage and skin cancers as well as the ability to absorb the entire UVB spectrum. The other health benefits of polyphenols, like maintaining blood sugar levels, contribute to your gut health and hormonal health, which is also beneficial in preventing skin aging. Foods containing polyphenols have long been considered anti-aging foods.
Sources – fruit juice, tea, coffee, red wine, chocolate, grapes, pomegranates, plums, apricot, soy, olives, sesame seed, dry legumes, cereals, vegetables, onions – Important note: the way in which these foods are prepared can greatly reduce the amount of polyphenols available.
Resveratrol is another natural polyphenol used for anti-aging treatments. Acting as a shield for your cells, it protects them from oxidative damage. Resveratrol not only boosts the resiliency of your skin, it is also known as a longevity supplement for heart health, protecting your brain health against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and helping to prevent insulin-resistance. This anti-aging ingredient is found on the skin of grapes and can be taken as a supplement.
Sources – skin of grapes, red wine, peanuts, pistachios, supplements
9. Green Tea Polyphenols
Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG, which helps to repair your DNA from UV ray damage and pollution. It is also beneficial when it comes to fighting skin cancer. This powerful anti-inflammatory beverage slows down cell aging and reduces inflammatory skin disorders like psoriasis, dandruff, eczema. Due to the caffeine and tannins in green tea, you may find that drinking green tea reduces puffiness in your face. Green tea even helps maintain natural levels of collagen in your body for healthy cellular regeneration. A few external ways to use green tea include applying green tea bags to your under eyes to help tighten the skin, and using green tea containing skin care or face masks to lighten dark spots, sunburns, redness, or blemishes.
Sources – organic green tea, green tea supplements – Important notes: Consult your doctor before taking a green tea supplement, as there are medications that can lead to health issues when taken together. Store green tea in a cool dry place as ambient light reduces the benefits.
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory found in the spice called turmeric. Adding this spice to your meals, juices, or as a supplement, will provide antioxidant benefits, protection for your skin cells from damage and stimulating the growth of new cells. It also helps keep moisture in your skin, preventing environmentally caused wrinkles. Interestingly, it mimics the beneficial effects of fasting and light exercise in your body, which has many longevity benefits for your overall health. Try making a homemade turmeric face mask!
Sources – turmeric, supplements – Important note: consume with black pepper to be optimally absorbed
11. Coenzyme Q10
This vitamin-like substance, stored in the fat tissues of your body, is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Retinol helps to break down CoQ10 more efficiently in your body and consuming these together can be more effective for your healthy skin regimen. As you age, the levels of CoQ10 decrease in your body, and there is research being done to find out if this drop plays a big role in skin aging. This is because CoQ10 is important to cellular energy and has powerful antioxidant benefits. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study determined that CoQ10 significantly reduced wrinkles and microrelief lines, and improved skin smoothness. It is also an effective skin-whitening or brightening agent for issues with hyperpigmentation.
Sources – salmon, tuna, liver, whole grains
12. Probiotics and Prebiotics
Did you know your skin’s microbiota is your second largest microbiome, and that it is heavily affected by your gut microbiome? Probiotics and prebiotics not only improve your gut health, they improve the important functional strengths of your skin’s microbacteria. Change in the number and diversity of your skin’s microbiome has been associated with aging along with other skin disorders. Probiotics have been recently used for the prevention and treatment of eczema, dermatitis, acne, allergic skin inflammation, hypersensitivity, wound healing, and UV skin damage. These living organisms boost the strength of the skin barrier and therefore can help prevent signs of photoaging. Overexposure to harmful UV rays has a negative effect on your immune system, but it has been found that probiotics actually help to stabilize the health of your skin’s immune system in those circumstances. The benefits can be seen by applying or ingesting probiotics and prebiotics.
Sources – Probiotics – yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, miso soup, kefir, tempeh, sourdough bread, acidophilus milk, kombucha, supplement Just Add Water®. Prebiotics – onions, garlic, leeks, chicory root, soybeans, asparagus, jerusalem artichokes, bananas, legumes, cruciferous vegetables, honey, oatmeal, supplement Just Add Water®.
13. Linoleic Acid
This beauty building block is also known as the fat, Vitamin F. Built from a combination of Omega-6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, it helps with everything from acne to dry skin by preventing both toxins and water loss through the skin barrier. Linoleic acid is high in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory, and it also provides other health benefits like controlling blood sugar, improving heart health, and brain health support.
Sources : almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, egg yolks.
Adding these nutrients to your diet whether through whole foods or supplements will make a positive difference in your skin’s appearance today and in the future. Don’t forget that reducing stress, getting sleep, exercising, and spending too much time in the sun all play a role in early aging. There is no short cut around these essential healthy habits. To start making healthy habits stick and reduce stress in your life, sign up for my program, Serena’s Ultimate Health Reset.
XO – Serena