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A healthy, glowing complexion depends just as much as what you put into your body as what you put onto your skin. That’s why eating the right foods are an essential part of any skincare regimen. “Diet provides the nutrients skin cells need to function optimally and produce collagen, supports the gut-skin connection, balances hormones, reduces inflammation, and hydrates from within,” says says Clinical Nutritionist Lizzy Swick. “Remember, everything in the body is connected to everything else!”
When you flood skin with the nutrients it needs—both by eating the most nourishing foods and applying the most efficacious skincare—you can see real changes. Certain powerhouse ingredients accelerate this beautification process by activating autophagy, the skin’s natural detoxification and renewal process. It’s so easy to make simple swaps in every meal to boost the quotient of complexion-loving ingredients. Here, to start, are some easy hacks to take a salad from drab to dynamite.
*Ditch the iceberg. When it comes to greens, the darker and leafier the better. Build a salad base out of polyphenol-rich spinach, which contains autophagy-activating and skin-hydrating ceramides, or kale, which is rich in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid that’s crucial for skin health.
*Add broccoli sprouts. These baby broccoli shoots are an excellent source of sulforaphanes, compounds in cruciferous vegetables that activate autophagy and act as potent antioxidants, blocking free radicals from damaging cells. Broccoli sprouts can have 10 to 100 times more sulforaphane than other veggies (even full-grown broccoli), making them an anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer superfood. Studies show they even protect brain health!
*Slice up an avocado. Our favorite guacamole green is one of nature’s best sources for heart-healthy monosaturated fats, as well as impactful nutrients such as blood-building Vitamins K, adrenal-supporting B5, and collagen-boosting C.
*Sprinkle with flaxseed. Flax is a great way to get detoxifying fiber into your diet, as well as an extra boost of anti-inflammatory Omega 3.
*Incorporate chicken or peas. Both of these foods provide spermidine, a naturally occuring compound that directly interacts with DNA to turn on the genes that activate autophagy. Chicken—as well as foods such as eggs, yogurt, rice, and sweet potatoes—also contains sphingolipids, which keep skin cells plump and firm.
*Swap out traditional salad dressing for Tea Seed Oil. This oil, which comes from the same plant as green tea, is packed with anti-aging actives, including antioxidant polyphenols, catechin (a flavonoid that stabilizes free radicals), Vitamin E, and immune-system-boosting micronutrients called triterpenoids. Mix with lemon for a light, zingy dressing that will bring your superfood salad to life.