We know January is usually the time to start looking at resetting our diets, fitness routines, you name it, but it doesn’t hurt to incorporate some of those changes earlier, making for a smoother transition in the new year. And with all the holiday cookies, office parties, and couch time we’re about to indulge in, one of the easiest ways to fight that sluggish feeling is by mixing in some beauty-boosting foods into your meals. They can help reduce inflammation, boost your natural glow, improve your hair quality, and more.
Here are five skin superfoods we’re putting on our grocery list:
Fiber, healthy fats, vitamins E, and K—avocados are chock full of nutrients. What’s more, people who eat avocados are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables and have a healthier diet overall. Those elements translate to boosted health both inside and out. Avocados keep skin plump, moisturize dry scalp, ease sunburn, and promote hair growth. Guacamole and avocado toast are our go-to methods, but you can even create simple DIY face and hair masks using the fruit.
The word “antioxidant” gets thrown around a lot these days, but pound for pound, few compare to blueberries. Flavonoids—the main antioxidant compound in blueberries—help fight free radicals, the culprit behind cardiovascular disease, cancers, and other serious illnesses. Pomegranates and other berries are also packed with antioxidants. (Bananas and melons, on the other hand, lack in this department.) While blueberries might not be in season right now, we like buying frozen varieties, which are typically picked in their prime.
Salmon is the common one that comes to mind, but anchovies, mackerel, and herring are other seafood options with a similar fat profile. The omega-3 fatty acids in these fish help combat acne and skin redness, but also have zinc and vitamin E to keep your skin in tip-top shape. And since these varieties are a lean source of protein, it’s a great way to balance your diet between indulgent holiday dinners.
Hear the word “vitamin C” and you probably think of oranges. And while it’s true that the citrus is rich in that collagen-boosting nutrient—one medium orange offers 70 milligrams of vitamin C—if you prefer a lower-sugar option, look to sweet or bell peppers. One-half cup (75 grams) of yellow peppers has 137 milligrams of Vitamin C, which you can consume in a pinch in a stir-fry, pasta sauce, or burrito. The vitamin is key to maintaining skin integrity and helping with skin turnover for hyperpigmentation. And there are plenty of other ways to consume more. For a full list, click here.
It’s tough to get docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA)—two forms of omega-3 fatty acids—from plant sources, but walnuts are rich in alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), an omega-3 that can help prevent cell damage and restore vitamin C and E levels in the body. In fact, walnuts offer more omega-3s than any other nut, tout anti-inflammatory properties, and promote healthy gut bacteria. What does that mean for your face? The moisture and oil content in walnuts keep skin plump and hydrated, while its polyphenols protect against UV rays and environmental pollution.
And while it may be one of the most difficult times of the year to eat healthy 24/7, incorporating at least some of these vitamin-rich foods into your days will not only bring out the best in your skin, but ease digestion, promote better sleep, and improve your mood. That’s some food for thought.