Being vegan doesn’t mean you are consuming foods for glowing healthy skin. That’s because there’s a lot of processed junk out there. Doing your best to avoid these is an important first step. Generally speaking, eating a whole food plant-based diet will have tremendous benefits for your skin. However, I chose this list based on a few factors:
1. Effectiveness – Ability to maintain healthy skin
2. Availability – Shouldn’t be hard to find in your local grocery store
3. Taste – Flavors that aren’t off-putting for most
4. Cost – Affordable
5. Familiarity – People are more comfortable with things they already know. Which means you’re more likely to eat them.
6. Convenience – Factors such as preparation time
7. Variety – Plant-based foods from various groups
Antioxidants are perhaps the most important component to promote vibrant skin. They protect your skin from stress, outside pollutants, and other pro-inflammatory agents. Therefore, I will highlight some of the richest sources in each category. I didn’t include grains because there doesn’t seem to be one in particular that stands above the rest in terms of skin protection. The simple thing to remember is to eat whole grains instead of refined processed grains. Obviously, if you have an allergy to any of the below foods then avoid them because they can have an adverse effect on your skin. Without further ado let’s dive right in!
Greens & Cruciferous Vegetables
Arugula – Arugula has the highest levels of nitrates of any known food. Nitrates increase circulation which means your skin will receive more nutrients. You can often find it mixed with other salad greens in your local grocery store, or try creating your own combinations.
Broccoli – Very high in liver enhancing sulforaphane, broccoli is one of the best vegan foods for healthy skin. But, cooking destroys it, so consume it raw if you want this enzyme. Or, you can chop it up and let it sit for 45 mins before cooking to activate it. Another trick is either sprinkling a bit of mustard seed on top, after cooking or eat with raw cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, cabbage, or kale. A healthy liver may eliminate toxins so they won’t lead to acne.
Collard Greens – Rivaling kale in nutrition, collard greens are very familiar to people from the Southern states. This soul food staple has vitamins A, C, K, and chlorophyll.
Kale – Kale is one of the foods truly deserving of the title superfood. It is a good source of a host of antioxidants, sulforaphane, and chlorophyll. It’s also the highest known source of the yellow pigment lutein. Besides protecting your eyes and brain, lutein is one of the pigments that are stored in the skin. It protects the skin from sun damage and increases attractiveness by giving you a healthy glow. Steam kale to make the lutein more bioavailable.
Red Cabbage – Packed full of antioxidants for a very cheap price, there’s no excuse for not including this vegetable in your meals.
Spinach – Chlorophyll, lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin C are just some of the nutrients in spinach. It’s readily available and highly nutritious. Not to mention, it has a milder flavor than other leafy vegetables such as kale. You can toss a large amount in your smoothies without making the taste unbearable. So, add them to your salad or get blending.
Carrots – The word beta-carotene is derived from this vegetable because it’s so abundant in the orange pigment. Along with lutein, beta-carotene is one of the colorful antioxidants your body delivers to your skin. It protects you from sun exposure and gives skin a healthy appearance. You should have no problem including more of these cheap veggies to your meals. Don’t believe me? Check out the video below.
Sweet Potatoes – Another great source of beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are inexpensive and very filling. The fiber is an added bonus because it feeds your good gut bacteria. Piling sugar on top may prevent it from working its magic on your skin.
Beans & Legumes
Black Beans – They have the highest amount of antioxidants of all beans. Black beans are also highest in fiber and resistant starch of all beans and legumes! In other words, they provide your good gut bacteria with tons of food. Your good bacteria compete with candida and bad bacteria. So, helping them thrive leads to less waste that could be expelled through your skin.
Red Lentils – They are easy to cook and loaded with antioxidants. In fact, they have the highest amount of all beans and legumes. Red lentils have a creamier texture than other varieties.
Blackberries – The darker the berry the sweeter their benefits. The dark pigment in blackberries makes them the most antioxidant-rich of all fresh store-bought berries. Don’t ruin this fruit by adding tons of sugar and other processed ingredients. Eat it raw for the most benefit. Luckily, wild blackberries grow in multiple regions throughout the United States. Make sure you know how to properly identify them before you go all man/woman vs. wild…
Blueberries – Most of what applies to blackberries applies to blueberries. Although it may not be as high in overall antioxidants, anthocyanins are abundant, and they are more widely available. Not to mention, they may be more palatable due to being less tart.
Papaya – The fact that papaya has a wide range of vitamins and minerals is not what makes it unique as one of the best vegan foods for healthy skin. Instead, its unique enzyme, papain, is what sets it apart. Papain aids in digestion which prevents undigested food from ravaging your body and it’s antimicrobial. Pathogens can cause your skin to become inflamed, so killing the invaders before inflammation occurs is best.
Oranges – We all associate oranges with the antioxidant vitamin C and rightfully so. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production. So, eat the white fleshy part because it’s where the majority of it is concentrated.
Avocados – Avocados have vitamins C, E, and lutein which are just a few reasons I included them in the vegan foods for healthy skin list. Their healthy fats also make fat-soluble nutrients like the vitamin A precursor, beta-carotene, more absorbable for your body. Most of the nutrition is in the dark green flesh right next to the outer flesh, so scrape well. Add them to your salads to get the best skin enhancing benefits.
Flax Seeds – Omega 3 fatty acids help control and halt inflammation throughout your body including your skin. It may play a role in making skin soft and youthful. And guess what? Flax seeds are one of the best sources available. Their fiber content also makes them great for improving constipation, therefore reducing and/or preventing floating toxins that could lead to acne flare-ups. You must grind them into flax meal to reap the benefits. Otherwise, they will not digest properly.
Pumpkin Seeds – They are one of the best vegan sources of zinc. This mineral is often recommended for acne sufferers who tend to have low levels.
Walnuts – They seem to be the only high source of omega 3 of all popular nuts. Walnuts are great snacks to keep on hand.
Herbs & Spices
Cloves – The most antioxidants in a pinch belongs to cloves. If you’re not used to it give it a try and add it to wherever you see fit. Add it to oatmeal and tea for a subtle yet pleasant flavor.
Turmeric – The magic anti-inflammatory spice also protects your largest organ. Add a little black pepper with your turmeric to boost its compound curcumin and have clear skin.
Vegan Foods For Healthy Skin Bonus: Beverages
Green Tea – Besides being packed with antioxidants, there is ongoing research about the positive effects of green tea on mood. As we all know, depression and stress lead to aging and acne. Sip on this powerhouse to help maintain adequate levels of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.
Hibiscus Tea – There are more antioxidants in steeped hibiscus than whole green tea leaves of the same amount. As of now, it doesn’t appear to have the mood benefits of green tea, so it’s not either or. Simply, enjoy both and your skin will be pleased.
Water – I doubt you need me to explain why H2O is essential for healthy skin. I don’t know what else to say, but stay hydrated!
Eating plant-based doesn’t guarantee you will have that sought after youthful glow. It all depends on what you include and exclude. Our bodies store antioxidants and use them to protect us from a host of skin-damaging pollutants and free radicals. Fiber reduces harmful bacterial waste by feeding our good bacteria and keeping the bad ones at bay. In addition, fiber binds to excess hormones so you can excrete them out of your body.
Carotenoid-rich vegetables such as carrots were shown to be effective at improving attractiveness and protecting the skin from harmful UV radiation. Finally, some foods are abundant in unique compounds, such as turmeric, that helps reduce skin inflammation.
If you want to get free training on the first step to achieving better skin and hygiene click here to download the video