It’s a well-established fact that nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are good for your skin. But some foods are better for our skin than others. Which nutrients, in particular, should you be on the lookout for? Here, we take a look at some of the most skin-friendly vegan foods for you to get the healthy, beautiful skin you’ve always wanted.
Antioxidants — such as beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and E — are some of the most important nutrients for your skin’s health. These nutrients prevent damage caused by free radicals, which can wreak havoc on your skin by accelerating skin aging. Oxidative stress also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Though completely avoiding free radicals is impossible, eating foods rich in antioxidants can stop or slow down the damage to our cells.
According to experts, eating colorful fruits and vegetables is the best way to make sure that your body is getting the antioxidants it needs to fight free radicals. Yellow and orange vegetables (like carrots and pumpkins) tend to be rich in carotenoids, which your body converts to vitamin A. Red fruits and vegetables (like grapes and tomatoes) can contain lycopene and anthocyanins, while blue and purple vegetables (like eggplant and purple onions) have anti-inflammatory compounds such as phenolic flavonoids. Lastly, vividly green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are usually rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which delay the signs of aging.
Other vegan-friendly sources for antioxidants include dark chocolate, which doesn’t just improve your skin health but also reduces the risk of heart disease. Switching to brown rice instead of white can also benefit your skin, as it’s rich in the antioxidant selenium. And because it’s a complex carbohydrate, it also helps regulate blood sugar, keeping premature aging at bay.
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your skin, as they keep the outer layer of the skin strong and supple, keeping toxins out. They also minimize inflammation, which means they can prevent heart disease, cancer, and other inflammation-related conditions. However, when most people think of fatty acids, they usually think of fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Thankfully, there are plenty of vegan sources for omega-3 — you just have to make it a point to include them in your diet.
Seaweed and algae, for example, are one of the few plant-based foods that contain DHA and EPA. They also happen to be rich in antioxidants, which makes them extra good for the skin. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in ALA, as well as other nutrients. Other vegan-friendly foods that have fatty acids include walnuts, soybeans, and kidney beans.
There is no shortage of vegan-friendly foods for healthy skin. Consuming healthy whole foods is your best bet to getting the nutrients your skin loves. However, before making drastic changes to your diet, consult a doctor or registered dietitian to learn about the best ways the nutrition you need.
Eva Hurst is a holistic enthusiast that is always on the lookout for clean-eating recipes and a spot to meditate. Her mission is to advocate the importance of self-care through health and wellness.