It's a common suggestion to "eat the rainbow" for good health. This is especially true when it comes to eating for healthy, glowing skin. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great place to start, but if you want to take it to the next level, these 10 recipes combine multiple healthy ingredients that nourish the skin from the inside out. From blueberry chia jam and pineapple-strawberry stackers to rosemary almonds and turmeric chicken tenders, you'll find something to carry you from breakfast to dinner and lots of healthy snacks in between.
1. Blueberry Chia Jam
Fruits with bright colors — like blueberries — contain powerful antioxidants that are essential for beautiful skin. Blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are polyphenols (a larger class of antioxidants). Eating foods high in polyphenols provides additional protection from the damaging effects of the sun, like premature aging and dull-looking skin.
A 2011 article published in Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry suggests that eating foods high in polyphenols — in addition to applying sunscreen whenever you're outdoors — is an effective strategy to protect your skin. So add this blueberry chia jam to your daily diet to keep your skin protected and looking younger.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Blueberry Chia Jam
2. Rosemary and Olive Oil Almonds
Vitamin E is important for maintaining healthy skin. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light causes a rapid reduction in vitamin E, according to a 2015 article in Biomolecules and Therapeutics. So it's important to replenish it with the foods you eat. Vitamin E can also help stop collagen breakdown. Collagen is the structural protein found in skin that can be broken down by UV light and causes the skin to age. One ounce, or 23 almonds, contains 37 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin E. These rosemary and olive oil almonds are a perfect vitamin E-packed treat for your diet.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Rosemary and Olive Oil Almonds
3. Whole Lemon Spritzer
Did you know your skin is 30 percent water? That's why water is so important in keeping your skin plump and resilient. When the body doesn't have enough water, the skin suffers. Wrinkles become more defined, and the skin can look unhealthy. This lemon spritzer not only contains water, but it also uses an entire lemon, peel and all! The peel of the lemon contains a substance called limonene, which, according to a 2000 article published in Nutrition and Cancer, can help protect against a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. The high amount of vitamin C in the lemon and the peel also help keep the skin looking bright and luminous.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Whole Lemon Spritzer
4. Grape Bruschetta
Grapes contain a well-known antioxidant called resveratrol, which has been shown to protect skin cells against the effects of the sun and also to protect the collagen in the skin from breaking down, according to a 2011 review published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. The breakdown of collagen ages the skin and contributes to a dull and lackluster appearance. Grapes also have a high water content, which is beneficial to help replace moisture loss and improve firmness and plumpness. Try this grape bruschetta for a fun way to get resveratrol naturally!
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Grape Bruschetta
5. Carrot and Cucumber Shaved Salad
Much of the damage we see in our skin is caused by environmental factors, such as UV rays from the sun. Ultraviolet light causes inflammation, reddening of the skin and wrinkles. However, carrots contain beta carotene, which can help protect the skin from UV light, lessening its effect on the skin. Eating foods high in beta carotene can't replace sunscreen, but it can help your body to naturally glow from within. This carrot and cucumber shaved salad is a creative way to get more beta carotene in your diet.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Carrot and Cucumber Shaved Salad
6. Cilantro Lime Marinated Pineapple Stackers
It's no secret that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is the key to healthy, glowing skin. Maximizing the vitamins in the fruits you eat may help you get more bang for your buck when aiming for a more youthful appearance. Pineapple contains both vitamin C and small amounts of beta carotene, which means it'll not only help protect against the damage from the sun, but also from factors like cigarette smoke and environmental pollution. The vitamin C, along with its natural water content, helps improve skin moisture content and firmness. As an extra treat, the strawberries and lime juice in this recipe are also healthy sources of vitamin C.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Cilantro Lime Marinated Pineapple Stackers
7. Edamame and Mushroom Salad
Soy has been criticized over the past few years as it contains nutrients called isoflavones that mimic estrogen in the body, but the research remains strong on its health benefits. A 2016 review article published in Nutrients indicated that the isoflavones in soy are helpful in maintaining skin elasticity, retaining skin's moisture and improving pigmentation — all of which are important for healthy-looking skin.
In addition, individuals (especially women) who struggle with acne were found to have a higher level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). A 2015 study in Dermatoendocrinology found that the isoflavones in soy lowered DHT levels and reduced the appearance of acne. Edamame is delicious alongside fresh mushrooms, so this salad makes for a light and healthy lunch or side dish.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Edamame and Mushroom Salad
8. Chocolate Orange Salted Walnuts
Because you can't always avoid the sun completely, a combination of diet and external protective factors — sunscreen, hats and clothing — are a good defense against the UV light, which causes the skin to lose elasticity and feel wrinkly and rough to the touch.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains polyphenols, which may be able to decrease damage the sun causes to the skin, according to a 2016 article published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences. The darker the chocolate, the more polyphenol content, so look for a higher percentage of cacao solids when buying chocolate for health benefits. The walnuts in this recipe also provide a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in protecting skin from the aging affects from the sun.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Chocolate Orange Salted Walnuts
9. Turmeric-Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders
Turmeric is widely known for adding color and flavor to plain dishes. It's also known for its health benefits, particularly its ability to reduce inflammation. If you have red, irritated or unbalanced skin, you may have some inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to external skin aging. A 2008 article published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggests that it may be a major cause of skin aging. Adding more turmeric to the diet can help decrease overall inflammation in the body, even out your skin tone and help protect it from the aging process. These chicken tenders are the perfect way to get turmeric into everyday cooking.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Turmeric-Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders
10. Tomato Stacks With Yogurt Ranch Dressing
Tomatoes come in many shapes, sizes and flavors. Just one cup of tomatoes provides more than a third of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. (And when you're concerned with having glowing, youthful skin, consuming foods with vitamin C should be a top priority.)
Current research indicates that vitamin C plays a role in helping the body make collagen, the protein in skin that keeps it looking healthy. A 2017 review article published in Nutrients states that increased fruit and vegetable intake is positively associated with healthy skin, largely due to the vitamin C content of the produce. Use fresh tomatoes in the summer for this light and healthy recipe.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Tomato Stacks With Yogurt Ranch Dressing
What Do YOU Think?
Did you know these foods had skin-health benefits? Have you tried any of these recipes yet? What did you think? Which are your favorites? What other foods, meals or snacks do you enjoy that give your skin a boost? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments below!