The sun is out, the beach is calling, and bits of skin that may have been hidden for weeks or even months are suddenly being exposed to the world. With ultraviolet radiation, heat, sand, and surf to contend with, your skin might need a little extra protection so consider stocking up on these five great plant foods for naturally healthy skin. Recipe below!
In addition to being antioxidant-rich, pomegranate juice contains anthocyanins that strengthen blood vessel walls and help keep the skin supplied with oxygen and nourishement. Healthy circulation also helps remove metabolic waste quickly to keep skin clear.
From your pantry: Add pomegranate juice to a morning smoothie, or add pomegranate seeds to couscous with chopped walnuts, parsley, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and olive oil.
These tasty little seeds contain an abundance of zinc, a mineral that is essential for healthy skin. Zinc is vital for production of collagen and elastin, and helps skin heal, maintain an effective barrier against infection, and can reduce scarring.
From your pantry: Lightly toast a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and throw them in a salad, or use pumpkin seed butter as a sandwich filler or in a homemade white bean dip with lemon juice and turmeric.
Oats are a great source of fibre to keep your digestive system health and flush out toxins. They are also rich in silica which is essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails, providing strength and resilience.
From your pantry: Enjoy a breakfast of porridge with a little added soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk and some dates, apricots, raisins and even pumpkin seeds. Add in some cinnamon to sweeten and to help control blood sugar for reduced inflammation.
Rich in healthy unsaturated fats like omega 3, flaxseeds may help reduce inflammation, keep cell membranes flexible and strong, and act as a great source of fibre that contains lignans to regulate hormone levels.
From your pantry: Cooking flaxseeds damages their fats so simply add them to a salad, sprinkle them on your non-dairy yoghurt, or use freshly ground flaxseed in smoothies or dips.
Packed with beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin that the body converts into vitamin A, carrots are great for skin health. They also contain other antioxidants and fibre to help protect the skin against free radical damage, especially sun damage, and to flush out toxins.
From your pantry: Whip up some vegan carrot cake breakfast muffins (using flaxseed as your egg-replacer) to boost your intake of beta-carotene. Or pack some raw carrots in your beach cooler to help stave off sun damage; be sure to eat something a little oily with them, like houmous, to help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamin.
Dermatological researchers are still working out the role of diet in skin health with plenty of nutrients and anti-nutrients associated with a variety of skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, and even autoimmune diseases like vitiligo.
Including plenty of plant-based foods is a pretty good start for achieving naturally healthy skin, and there are loads of great vegan-friendly foods that are packed full of antioxidants, protective polyphenols, and anti-inflammatory substances to help calm skin down, flush out toxins, help skin stay hydrated, and give your skin a good summer glow, naturally.
For a great breakfast muffin mix up these little beauties in advance (just keep the dry and wet ingredients separate in the refrigerator until the morning, mix quickly and pop them in the oven).
Vegan Carrot, Pumpkin and Flaxseed Breakfast Muffins
- 1 Cup oats
- 2/3 Cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 egg-equivalent (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsps warm water)
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- ½ Cup brown sugar (check it’s vegan!)
- 1/2 Cup pumpkin puree (or 1/3 cup apple sauce)
- 1/2 Cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ Tsp baking soda
- 1 ¼ Tsp baking powder.
- 1/2 Tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (or more ground flaxseeds)
- 1/2 Tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 Tsp nutmeg powder
- 1/2 Cup raisins.
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven at 350F
- Mix the flaxseed with water and let stand for a few minutes to allow to thicken.
- Meanwhile, mix the oats and milk in a separate bowl.
- Mix the oil, sugar, pumpkin puree and shredded carrot together in another bowl.
- Add all three liquid mixes together until well blended.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together (the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, chia or flaxseeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins) and then add to the wet mix.
- Fill the wells of a muffin tray to 2/3 and sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top of each muffin.
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean after poking the muffin. Let cool for a few minutes in the tray then remove to a wire cooling rack.