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Get Your Glow On With a Healthy, Real Food Diet!

blogpic If you want a vibrant glow, you need to feed that glow from the inside out. There are certain nutrients that contribute more specifically to skin health, but the real benefits come from adopting a real-food based diet (the stuff that lives and grows in nature). A diet rich in plants and as varied as possible, will ensure you are taking in the key nutrients for skin health, while reducing the inflammatory foods in your diet. As I mentioned, certain nutrients are directly connected with skin health & anti-aging. For example, antioxidants protect cells from damage and may slow aging. These include beta-carotene or Vitamin A (found in foods such as orange veggies – think carrots and sweet potatoes, dark leafs – like spinach and kale), vitamin C (found in citrus, strawberries, cauliflower, and most colourful produce), vitamin E (found in almonds, spinach, avocados, sunflower seeds, & cabbage), lycopene (found in tomatoes and grapefruit), and selenium (which we get from whole grains, eggs, brazil nuts, and turkey). The mineral zinc, which we can get by eating wild salmon, pumpkin seeds, pecans, oats and eggs, is also important for skin health. Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens body’s connective tissues and skin elasticity, and can be found in leeks, strawberries, chickpeas, green beans. Specific foods can help with collagen production, thereby improving your skin’s appearance. For example, foods like garlic, cabbage, beans, olives and soy all contain nutrients that help to repair & rebuild collagen, giving your skin a more supple and youthful tone. Healthy fat is also critical for healthy cell membranes, “plumping” up your skin cells so you look younger and more vibrant. We get healthy fat from a variety of plant-based foods including nuts & seeds, flax and chia, avocadoes and plant oils (like olive and coconut oil) and also from fish, including wild salmon. Omega 3 fats, found in flax, flax oil, walnuts, fish and dark leafy green veggies are also anti-inflammatory and can help support specific inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and acne. Last, but definitely not least, we need to drink lots of water. Keeping your skin cells plump and flushed of toxins will add to your glow. Remember that supplements are never as effective as getting your vitamins & minerals in their whole food form, which is just another reason to eat as much real, unprocessed food as possible! For most women, trying include all of these skin-boosting foods at once would be overwhelming, so I recommend you start small: Why not commit to eating a daily “skin salad” that incorporates just a few of them? Build from there by adding other foods to your day once you’ve made your skin salad a consistent habit. I’ve included one of my most popular salad dressing recipes, the addictive Green Goddess, below, to get you started. It’s so delicious, it might single-handedly change the way you think about salad. In fact, I double dog dare you not to lick the food processor! Green Goddess Dressing: Don’t skimp: it’s totally worth picking up fresh parsley and cilantro. Dried herbs just don’t cut it in this recipe. For a thicker dip, stir in a little plain greek yoghurt. juice of one lime 3 tbsp tahini 1/4 c packed fresh parsley 1/4 c packed fresh cilantro 1 green onion, chopped 1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1/4 tsp pepper 1/8-1/4 tsp sea salt 2 tbsp olive oil To prepare: In a food processor, combine lime juice, tahini, parsley, cilantro, onion, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, pepper and 1/8 tsp salt and blend until smooth. Continue to blend, slowly adding the olive oil until well-combined and more salt as needed to taste. Makes 3/4 cup. Store leftovers in fridge. Add water (& shake) to thin as necessary. For loads more healthy, delicious, family-friendly recipes, check out my blog at! By Wendy McCallum LLB, RHN, is a food coach, educator and writer at Simple Balance

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