We’re not the first to say it and we won’t be the last: you are what you eat. Not literally, of course, otherwise we might well turn into a bar of Cadbury’s any minute now. No, coffee isn’t the only product with multiple uses.
What we put into our bodies becomes the energy we use each day to walk and talk and dance the night away (or binge watch TV on the sofa, more likely). The truth of the matter is that no skincare product is going to help if we’re not eating well (though we can recommend some amazing ones).
To repair and restore your natural glow, you’ve got to start on the inside. Luckily, there are plenty of fruits and veggies at the ready to cleanse the system and clear out the toxins that are making us look… well, dull.
Bursting with vital vitamins, fruit and vegetables can help jump start our skin on the road to gorgeousness. Drinking fresh juices is not only easier on our digestion, but can detox and hydrate us – and we all know how important it is to stay hydrated.
That said, don’t skip the solids, since fibre is an important dietary building block too. But before we get into the ins and outs of our tasty skin tonics, first we need to tell you what’s in them.
If you’ve ever read the bottles of your skincare products, you’re probably already familiar with some of these wonder vitamins and semi-magical ingredients. However, what you might not know is how you can supplement your skincare routine by eating foods that are naturally abundant with them.
There are hundreds of vitamins and minerals out there that can work to boost your skin’s health, give you a radiant glow and clear out those toxins. But here are a few of our favourites to get you started.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that works to protect the skin from free radicals, maintains skin development and is an all-round healthy chemical to have in your diet. Since free radicals are linked to premature aging, Vitamin A is a great choice to fight fine lines and wrinkles before they appear.
A deficiency in Vitamin A can cause rough, tough and drier than usual skin, which can sometimes crack and grow quite sore and painful. This little vitamin is a multi-tasker, too, as Vitamin A can also help to regulate sebum production, which can sometimes also cause acne.
Another antioxidant, Vitamin E is similar to Vitamin A in that it, too, helps to protect the skin from free radicals and therefore premature aging.
Working in harmony, you’ll often find these two vitamins in high-end serums and moisturisers, but Vitamin E can also be found in some of your favourite fruits. Look to avocados, mangos, kiwis and blueberries to get your fix.
Vitamin B Complex
Not just a single vitamin, Vitamin B Complex is a combination of no less than eight vitamins that are vital for cell reproduction. B Vitamins are well known for their importance to the health of our skin, and this complex includes all of those that we need the most.
B1 (thiamine) promotes healthy circulation, which helps to deliver essential nutrients to not just our skin, but all our cells. B3 (niacin) has a similar role, and B2 (riboflavin) is a classic hair, skin and nails combo, contributing to their healthy development.
B5 (pantothenic acid) works to regulate and balance the production of hormones, which can help us to manage our stress levels and reduce flare-ups of various skin conditions, including acne. Similarly (but not the same), B6 is a mood-booster and stress buster, helping the body to regulate sleep and produce serotonin.
B7 (biotin) helps to protect our skin cells from water loss, keeping the skin plump and youthful, and B9 (folic acid) is another important one for fighting free radicals. And last but not least is the lovely B12 (cobalamin), which is vital for cell reproduction and helps to reduce inflammation.
Good ol’ Vitamin C, crucial for the production of collagen in the skin and forever associated with citrus fruits, yes?
As it happens, you can also find plenty of Vitamin C in kiwis, mangoes, papayas and pineapples, all of which are delicious and essential for assuring you get your daily intake. And that collagen production will come in handy down the line, as collagen gives our skin its elasticity and youthful glow.
Moving onto minerals, zinc is an important chemical as it helps to prevent flare-ups and inflammation in our skin. It’s also a handy mineral to have around for healing the skin, such as after a new tattoo or piercing, as it can reduce scarring.
Another one that protects against free radicals, beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A by the body, is an antioxidant and can prevent damage from UV.
Beta-carotene also happens to be the plant pigment that gives several veggies their red, orange and yellow colouring, and can be found in butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. Thankfully it’s not likely to affect your complexion in quite the same way, though.
Silicon dioxide, or silica, is a mineral that’s naturally found in skin and hair, and is crucial for keeping both (and nails) healthy. It’s also helpful when it comes to making collagen, which is nice. You can find silica in foods such as leafy greens, bell peppers and oats, all of which make tasty additions to many of our juice recipes!
Aside from the ingredients themselves, the only thing you’ll need to try out these juices is a good blender or juicer and a glass to drink it from!
Clear Up Sleepy Jean
You will need:
- 2 large carrots
- 1 cup of spinach or kale
- Half an apple (your favourite kind)
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 cup of broccoli
Remove the stalk and tip of the carrots and core your apple, and juice the ingredients, taking care to alternate firmer and softer ingredients into the mix.
This tart little juice is high in vitamin A, beta-carotene and antioxidants thanks to the carrots, which help to maintain skin cells and prevent free radical damage. Spinach, too, offers some protection and a healthy dose of beta-carotene, alongside some Vitamin C and Vitamin A to smooth out your skin.
In addition to folic acid, Vitamins C, B and E, celery also provides a good amount of iron and chlorophyll for all round health.
The Grass is Greener
You will need:
- 8 leaves of cos (or romaine) lettuce
- 4 stalks of celery
- 2 apples (green for the theme, but you can use sweeter apples if you prefer)
- a handful of baby spinach
- a handful of baby kale
- a handful of parsley
- 1 lemon
- 1 piece of fresh ginger (around 1 inch)
Core the apples and cut the celery in the juicer-friendly sized pieces. Juice the ingredients together, and voila!
Dark leafy greens like cos lettuce, spinach and call are rich in chlorophyll, and B complex vitamins. They’re also a good source of silicon. The ginger and parsley in this juice are great for digestion, and the latter in particular is an excellent addition to cleanse the kidneys and liver.
You will need:
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup strawberries
A nice and easy one, just chuck the berries into the blender and juice it up!
All of these sweet and aromatic berries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. For added fibre, hold onto the pulp (if you’re juicing, not blending) and save it for eating later.
Stop This Train
You will need:
- 4 large cabbage leaves
- 6 carrots
- 1 piece of fresh ginger (around half an inch)
Simply juice (or blend) it. Yes, yes, cabbage is an odd choice but it’s bursting with beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Plus, it contains selenium, which not only encourages healthy skin but slows down the aging process. Now the name makes sense, right?
Tall Drink of Water
You will need:
- 6 stalks of celery
- 1 cucumber
- a handful of spinach or kale
- 1 apple
No, it’s not water. Yes, there are ingredients. Blend (or juice) them together and drink it down.
This one is ideal for hydration and a good cleanse, and the celery in this juice is full of Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex.
If you can afford it, it’s worth it. Organic vegetables are always a better option where possible, as many fruits and vegetables are grown with and contaminated by pesticides, which make their way into your body when you eat or drink them.
If organic just isn’t viable for you, make sure you wash and peel your fruit and vegetables where possible, as the next best thing.