Nikki Ostrower (Nutritionist)
Expert Nutritionist shares universal foods and tips we can all use to achieve glowing skin
Our society has an obsession with healthy, glowing and youthful skin. We are always searching for ways to prevent or erase wrinkles, get rid of unsightly blemishes, heal chronic skin conditions and slow down the aging process.
Your skin is an outside indicator for your internal health. When we have skin-based disorders, those are very often outside manifestations of toxicity, mineral imbalances, oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes that are taking place within the body.
Instead of reaching for that new lotion or expensive magic potion, the answer lies right in your very own refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. It’s the natural food sources rich in antioxidants and minerals that get to the root of your skin maladies and promote radiant skin. Here are 7 natural ways to achieve flawless skin.
Since we are all so different, here are some universal foods and tips we can all practice and receive tremendous benefits:
1. Watch out for Processed Foods in a box or bag, they cause inflammation and can prevent our body from absorbing important key nutrients. Therefore, tip 1 is to make sure you’re eating wholesome foods that are from Mother Earth a majority of the time. This way when we “human moments” (because no one is perfect), our body is capable of healing much faster and preventing “skin flares” and other inflammatory issues. To accomplish this, my loving commitment to myself is that I eat what nature has intended for me to eat 80% of the time. Keep in mind that the top, most common inflammatory drivers include things like gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, oils like canola, peanut oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and etc.
2. Get a Food intolerance test and a full blood panel workup. Find out what is causing you inflammation and which foods could be wreaking havoc on your gut and skin health without guessing, as well as mineral and nutrient insufficiencies on a cellular level that your skin needs to thrive. The sensitivity test may surprise you, as this procedure tests for whole foods, herbs, environmental chemicals, supplements, and even molds that aren’t as commonly tested, but could be causing you inflammation. It’s ideal to also get a full spectrum workup of your hormones, microbiome health, genetics, and more, so that there aren’t “blind spots” being overlooked. So many times, simply pulling out these triggers and giving the body the nutrients it lacks can offer tremendous results in healing the skin within weeks!
3. Incorporate nutrient-rich foods that nourish your gut and liver which will have a big impact on your skin. Plan in advance so you have these foods. I created a resources document so you can easily access all my favorite foods, some skin nourishing recipes, and shopping lists on my Instagram page. Click the link in my bio and “free food and resources”. I also made a post on my favorite skin glow routine HERE.
4. Hydration- Drink plenty of pure, filtered, mineral-rich water. About half your body weight in ounces per day is a great place to start. Our bodies are mostly made up of water, and our cells need lots of it in order to maintain balance. Water provides the medium for all chemical reactions in our body. Additionally, it helps to cleanse and purify toxic debris and wash away rancid oils from the skin. Therefore, drinking plenty of purified water throughout the day is one of the best habits to adopt for beautiful skin. I always add ConcenTrace Mineral drops to my water, since filtering takes the much-needed minerals out!
5. Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is a wonderful oil that is known to rebuild our skin tissue and it can be used both topically and internally to help eliminate wrinkles. Coconut oil is both hydrating and rebuilds our connective tissue. Damaged connective tissues are often the cause of wrinkles. The best kind to get is organic extra virgin coconut oil. My personal favorite is the brand Nutiva.
6. Silica- Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body's connective tissues - muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone – and is crucial for healthy skin elasticity. Food sources of silica include leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb. In its natural form, silica is found in the horsetail herb.
7. Supplements! While we can get many of these vital nutrients from our foods (as I’ve listed below), it also doesn’t hurt to supplement where we find we have nutrient gaps in our bloodwork. Especially since our food supply isn’t perfect and has become nutrient depleted compared to what our grandparents ate. Here are some of my faves and why they support your skin!
Zinc: is one of the most important minerals for skin health and acne sufferers. Zinc controls the production of oil and the hormones that create acne. Often acne sufferers are zinc deficient. Foods rich in zinc include pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, eggs, and oysters
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3s have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are known to quell redness and swelling associated with eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis, as well as heal those conditions for good. Some of the first signs of Omega 3 deficiency are dry flaky skin, dull hair and brittle nails. Therefore, getting enough of Omega-3s daily will leave you with lustrous, youthful, glowing skin and will even prevent wrinkles. Foods rich in omega-3 are wild salmon, sardines, halibut, pastured eggs, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
Selenium: Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that protects skin quality and elasticity, safeguarding the skin from sun damage and delaying aging. Studies have also shown it prevents some skin cancers! Foods rich in selenium include wild salmon, garlic, Brazil nuts, pastured eggs and brown rice.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is effective at reducing damage caused by overexposure to the sun and pollution. Vitamin C works its magic by combating free radicals that reduce collagen and elastin, which act to support skin structure. Food sources of Vitamin C include acerola, red and green peppers, oranges, strawberries, lemons, and broccoli.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is another antioxidant proven to benefit the skin. Vitamin A promotes proper repair and maintenance of the skin, as well as protects against sun damage. Vitamin A can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, dandelion, liver, kale and spinach.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent sun damage, heals sunburns, scars, acne and wrinkles because it speeds up cell regeneration. This creates an anti-aging effect, and the skin looks younger. Vitamin E can be found in wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, peaches, prunes, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, avocado, and can also be used topically with vitamin E oil supplements found at your local health food store.