Sticking to a balanced diet helps us feel good and stay healthy, but one added benefit of eating superfoods is that it shows. It’s true – taking care of our insides is one of the best ways to care for our outsides. While “superfood” isn’t technically a scientific term, it’s a common way to describe those foods that have both a low caloric content and high nutritional value. Superfoods are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which offer a big boost to our skin’s overall health.
Like with exercise, I believe that eating well can be easy once you find a few healthy whole food go-to’s that you like enough to enjoy regularly. In case you’re in need of some inspiration, I’m going to share with you my personal superfood staples – a trio of powerhouse superfoods that I consume almost daily to nourish my skin from the inside out:
I have made a ritual of starting every morning with a cup of green tea. It wakes me up and livens my skin at the same time. The caffeine found in green tea has vasoconstrictive properties, meaning it de-puffs, tightens and reduces redness in the skin. Recent studies have shown caffeine to be an antioxidant that even has benefits when applied topically. Researchers have also found that caffeine may actually reduce the chances of developing sun-related skin damage, so drink up, buttercup!
Try not to be intimidated by chia – it is the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fiber and protein. Alongside a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, chia offers essential wholefood nutrition. Its rich nutrient profile plays an important role in keeping hair shiny, nails strong, and skin glowing. The rich fiber in chia acts as a natural detox for your skin by removing toxins from the body and aiding the absorption of antioxidants and vitamins. Omega-3 can help your skin retain moisture, while antioxidants protect the skin cells from oxidization and aging. Chia has a remarkable absorption quality (up to 16x its weight in liquid!) that acts as a natural anti-inﬂammatory for the skin. The protein in chia contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a ‘complete’ protein, essential for cell regeneration. Vitamin B promotes general skin health, while copper and iron help prevent hair loss, and calcium and magnesium encourage healthy hair growth. With all those benefits, what’s not to love?
Chia seeds make a healthy and filling addition to smoothies and baked goods, but my favorite way to prepare them is a berry-topped chia superfood pudding I make ahead of time and eat for brekkie. Give it a try:
2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup coconut water
½ cup of almond milk (I make my own homemade almond milk)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 or 2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup (or to your taste).
– Mix the chia seeds with the coconut water and almond milk. Continuously stir for 5 minutes or so until the liquid becomes a gel.
– Combine the chia gel with the other ingredients, and whisk well.
– Refrigerate overnight, or for at least a couple of hours. Serve topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut or add your antioxidant fix with fresh berries.
Avocados are nature’s own nutrient-packed multi-tasker and they do wonders for the skin! These superfood fruits contain omega-3 fatty acids (the good type of monounsaturated fat), beta-carotene, lutein, vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, folate, glutathione, and biotin. Biotin helps with collagen production to keep skin elasticity at its best. Copper is a key component necessary for melanin production (the molecule that gives skin, hair and irises their colors). Iron helps to defend against free radicals produced by radiation and toxic chemicals. The natural oils found in avocados moisturize skin, combating dryness and allowing skin’s barrier to replenish itself. Vitamins E and A (found in the oil) help cellular regeneration, while sterolin reduces acne, sun, and scar damage.
My favorite way to eat avocados is on toast. Aussies are the masters of avocado toast. Any self-respecting café in Australia will have it on their menu, so my love of this quick and simple meal also serves as a little taste of home.
Sourdough bread (or gluten-free alternative. I LOVE Le Pain Quotidien’s new gluten-free bread!)
1 ripe avocado, smashed
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
a dash of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes
a few sprigs of cilantro
-Simply toast the bread, spread with smashed avocado, squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the spices. Season to your taste.
-Serve with fresh coriander or scatter with organic microgreens.