What we put in our bodies is just as important as what we put on them. Many of us struggling with oily or combination skin, acne or other blemishes are well-versed in the organic cleansers and topical medications that are optimal for our skin.
But if you've been slathering on creams with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and you're still struggling to accomplish the complexion of your dreams, try these expert-approved recipes (or just ingredients) to help treat your skin from the inside out.
Dr. Whitney Bowe's Breakfasts For Healthy Skin
Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, dermatologist, makes the following recommendations for breakfast and dinner with glowing skin in mind. Breakfast: Oatmeal Deluxe Mix one packet of instant plain oatmeal with ¾ cup almond milk and a dash of cinnamon. Add a teaspoon of chia seeds. Microwave for one minute and 15 seconds, and stir until well blended. Top with a handful of blueberries, ¼ of a thinly sliced Granny Smith apple, a tablespoon of sliced almonds, and agave nectar or honey to sweeten. Why it’s good for your skin: This breakfast is low in the glycemic index. Refined sugars can break down collagen and lead to inflammation in the skin, which can manifest as acne or rosacea. Chia seeds and almonds are a great source of omega 3s and the berries and apple provide a powerful punch of antioxidants. Breakfast: Greek yogurt (Bowe’s top picks are: Oikos, Chobani, or Fage) Opt for the plain yogurt but then add honey, stevia, or agave nectar to sweeten naturally. Add 1 tsp. of ground flaxseed, rich in omega-3s, lignans, and fiber. Why it’s good for your skin: The Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics which helps heal the gut lining of the stomach, and in turn, stops unhealthy microbes from triggering inflammation in your skin that causes acne and premature aging.
Dr. Whitney Bowe's Dinner for Healthy Skin
Dinner: Salmon, Cauliflower and QuinoaTo begin, prepare quinoa just like you would boil rice (1 cup quinoa to 1 and ½ cup water). It cooks much faster (12 minutes), just be sure to rinse the grains before putting them in the pot to remove the bitter coating.Next, place six ounces of wild salmon on a lined baking sheet. Coat salmon lightly with olive oil and broil for seven minutes or until cooked to preference. If desired, add a thin layer of spicy brown mustard and broil salmon for one additional minute or until browned.Finally, microwave a package of Birds Eye Steamfresh Lightly Seasoned Garlic Cauliflower (also seven minutes). Broccoli is a good substitute.Why it’s good for your skin:The salmon is rich in omega 3s, the quinoa is low in the glycemic index, and protein-rich (the building blocks of collagen), and the cauliflower is high in fiber, slowing the insulin spike that can wreak havoc on the skin after a meal.
Katrine Van Wyk's Skin Tonic
Katrine Van Wyk is a certified holistic health coach and author of the beautiful book, Best Green Drinks Ever.
Skin Tonic Juice
1 cup purslane*
Put all the ingredients through a juicer. Alternate between harder foods and softer foods to help move everything through smoothly.
*Purslane is a green weed high in essential omega 3 fatty acids. The body does not produce omega 3s on its own and needs to get them through food. Omega 3s help lower inflammation in the body. With skin issues such as acne and eczema it is important to get enough of this anti-inflammatory fatty acid.
Why it’s good for your skin:
It’s a delicious juice that promotes healthy, dewy, and glowing skin. The cucumber is hydrating and contains silica, known for its amazing skin-toning benefits.
Vegan Blueberry Soft-Serve and Skin Tonic Juice
Vegan Blueberry Soft-Serve
1 cup frozen blueberries ( you can use any frozen berries you like)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt such as Anita’s
2 drops stevia
1 tsp. cacao nibs
Blend the berries, yogurt, and stevia together in a blender. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with the cacao nibs and a few more berries if you like.
Why it’s good for your skin:
This is a great snack or treat, and a perfect replacement for ice cream.
Dairy and sugar are the number one foods to remove if you have acne or other skin issues! This dessert is made with coconut yogurt, which is high in healthy fats and contains anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Because it’s a fermented food, it’s also loaded with good bacteria which can help fight acne by restoring a healthy gut flora. The blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that help fight signs of agin and protect our skin from sun and pollution.
Joanna Vargas's Go-To Glow Juices
Joanna Vargas is a celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and skincare collection
“Healthy eating is obviously beneficial for many reasons, but if you want glowing skin, it is more important than you think to have a good diet. I find that the best skin diet is one that involves eating veggies of different colors for every meal.”
“Avocado supplies the skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients to hydrate from the inside out and bring back your glow,” Vargas says. The following are some of Vargas’ favorite recipes for quick, fresh juice made at home.
Beat the Sweets
Ginger to taste
Few slices of pineapple
1 kale leaf
1 collard leaf
1 stalk celery
1/2 red pepper
1 broccoli floret
Jillian Wright's Dragon Bowl
Jillian Wright is a clinical aesthetician. Her namesake spa, Jillian Wright Skincare, is on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but her line of organic skincare comes in plantable boxes and is available anywhere.
Layered from bottom to top:
Kasha (optional, but using a brown rice mix with wheat germ or millet, or adding another wholesome grain, like quinoa, can give the bottom of your bowl some kick)
Adzuki beans (Tip: throw in a leaf of dried Kombu, a thick, tough slice of Japanese seaweed, in with the beans; thickens up the gravy and is sad to remove some of the more gas-inducing elements of the beans.)
Baked tofu (Keep it nice and pressed and chewy — you definitely want some variety in consistency of texture for your palate.)
With the bottom firmly fibered and protein-packed, you can start getting inventive with some vegetables.
Kale (sautéed with lots of garlic and sesame oil and a healthy amount of tamari).
Beets (I like them for the color; I imagine the right bit of squash or sweet potato or turnip would do well here, too.)
Carrots can be sauteed with the beets; I recently scored some fantastic yellow and purple and orange in a bunch; yummy.
Hijiki — a must! Fun to soak, easy to serve.
Enoki Mushrooms (broiled lightly with a bit of real butter and tamari)
Japanese Pickles (off to the edge of the bowl, for an occasional flavor blast and you work your way down the layers; I like pickled daikon, umeboshi plum, pickled carrots).
Toasted Sesame Seeds sprinkled on top
Serve with a nice Tahini sauce or dressing, and prepare to do a lot of chewing. Delicious!
Jillian Wright's Dragon Bowl Ingredients
Why the Dragon Bowl is good for your skin:
Japanese Adzuki Beans: High in Macronutrients, fiber (Fills you up. You eat less. Less inflammation), potassium (electrolytes), vitamin B (red blood cell production) and iron (oxygen transporting). They give you lots of energy and are slow to digest.
Kasha (aka buckwheat grouts: gluten free, Wheat germ (vitamin E, Folic acid, Magnesium, Thiamin, Phosphorous and Zinc), millet (a seed), quinoa (a seed): All sources of protein and fiber that are great for the body and skin. Also have anti-inflammatory properties
Enoki mushrooms: A rich source of antioxidants, particularly ergothioneines
Ultimately, eating this Dragon Bowl fills you up with ingredients that will not cause inflammation — one of the #1 causes of premature aging.
Julia March's Sea Bass with Kabocha Squash
Julia March is an aesthetician who does facials with an integrative perspective and a focus on natural products. Sea Bass With Greens and Kabocha (Japanese squash) Serves 2 Recipe (Squash): 1⁄2 bunch of purple or green kale* 1⁄2 bunch of red or yellow Swiss chard* 1/3 kabocha 4 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce) 2 small tomatoes* Hemp seed, flax seed, or olive oil (about 2 tsp)* Dried cilantro seasoning Cut kabocha into cubes and put into a small pot to cook. It will cook much faster when cut. Add some Celtic or Himalayan sea salt and cover. Always cook over a low flame to preserve as many vitamins as possible. After kabocha is cooked, in about 15 minutes, drain excess water into a glass to make accompanying soup. In the meantime, cut stems of red chard and sprinkle them with coconut aminos or if not gluten intolerant, you can use soy sauce. Start sautéing while cutting kale leaves into smaller pieces, add to the pan, and pour some extra aminos (about 1 to 2 tsp.) Cover, and chop Swiss chard leaves. Add them into the pan, covering kale leaves. Sprinkle the rest of the aminos over the leaves. Cover again and in a few minutes check on the leaves. They cook quickly, so make sure you don’t overcook. Kale goes first as its leaves are denser than chard. I take the pan off the heat and put aside after a few minutes, and the chard will finish cooking under the cover. Recipe (Sea Bass): About 3 smaller pieces of Sea Bass (about 1 1/4 pound) Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt Ground black pepper 1⁄2 red pepper, cut into tiny pieces 1 tbsp. of butter or ghee Dry dill seasoning 2 leaves of butter lettuce 1 avocado 1 lemon Take another pan, add about 1 tbsp. of butter or ghee and melt over a low heat. In the meantime, sprinkle sea salt and ground pepper over the fish. You can sprinkle some red pepper cut into tiny pieces over the bass and carefully place into the melted butter. Cover and let it steam/sauté for about 20 to 25 minutes, make sure it is properly cooked in the thickest parts of the fish. Remember to cook over the low heat.
Cut two small tomatoes and avocado into long pieces. Arrange greens, kabocha on the plate. On a piece of lettuce, place the fish, sprinkle it with some lemon juice. Cut avocado into long pieces, place around the lettuce. Finish decorating the plate with several pieces of tomato wedges on both sides of the plate. Sprinkle some hemp seed, flax seed, or olive oil over kabocha pieces. Add some dried cilantro if desired. Cream of Kabocha and Avocado Soup Recipe: 8 oz. cooked kabocha 1 whole avocado* 6 oz. cashew milk (8 oz. if you don’t have extra water from cooking) 1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger 1⁄4 tsp. of cayenne pepper 4 stalks of fresh cilantro 1⁄4 tsp. sea salt Excess water from cooking kabocha (3 oz.) Blend all the ingredients together for about two minutes at lower speed and one minute at a high speed. Garnish with some cilantro and sprinkle a little olive or hemp seed oil once served in a bowl.
Julia March's Sea Bass with Kabocha Squash Ingredients
Why it’s good for your skin:Avocado: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help to control skin’s moisture levels. They contain carotenoid lutein, healthy fat that helps moisturize the skin. Hydrated skin leads to healthy, glowing skin. Healthy oleic acid, an omega 9 fatty acid in avocado, helps lower inflammation in the body, it is anti-inflammatory. If you want to speed up healing process of the skin, eat lots of avocados. If you want to keep the skin smooth and moist, eat avocado daily, even use it directly on the skin as a mask. If you eat carotenoids rich vegetables with avocado, this combination will increase the absorption of alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein, all of which protect the skin. Thus mix avocado with spinach, lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes for that benefit.Tomatoes: Tomatoes protect the skin and cells from free radical damage and help to reduce skin cell damage and decreases redness. Eat them with a little fat, like hemp or olive oil or avocado.Fish: Rich in omega 3s, which are are most potent anti-inflammatories. When we reduce inflammation in our bodies, our skin calms down, redness decreases, inflamed acne lesions heal faster, rosacea calms down, and our skin looks healthier and and more radiant. EPAs and DHAs contribute to a radiant skin with less wrinkles. Sea bass contains a lot of selenium and phosphorus. Selenium is an amazing antioxidant that protects tissues from oxidative damage. Free radicals cause oxidative damage, and stress increases amount of free radicals in our body, as does unhealthy sun exposure — so eat your essential fatty acid rich fish for a healthy body and glowing complexion.Kale and Swiss chard: Greens are an important source of minerals and antioxidants. Chard contains beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, E, K, B6, and minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium. Kale is a source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), B6, C, K, lutein, and zeaxanthin like Swiss chard. Calcium in kale is more absorbable and bioavailable than milk. It is also healthier as it does not have mucus-producing properties. All these are crucial for the skin’s regeneration, healing, and minerals in these greens are very important for utilizing water in the cells, thus cleansing toxic material out of the cells and keeping the skin’s DNA healthy so our cells can replicate healthy cells not copying damaged cells which speeds up the aging process of the skin and the whole body. Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of betaine that is very important to a healthy liver function. A healthy liver means healthy skin.Squash: Rich in antioxidants A and C, squash makes for a perfect autumn vegetable. Its anti-inflammatory properties are of benefit for every skin type and condition. It contains beta carotene which the body easily converts into vitamin A. It also contains high levels of vitamin C. Squash is also rich in fiber, potassium, B6, and folate. All those vitamins and minerals are important to the nourishment of the skin on a cellular level, and to skin regeneration.Hemp seed, flax seed oil: These natural oils provide an amazing plant source for anti-inflammatory omega 3s. They’re great over sautéed vegetables, and salads.
Big T Infused Oatmeal
Prepare oatmeal as directed, replacing water with black tea
Add slivered almonds and a dash of maple syrup to taste
Why it’s good for your skin:
Replacing the water in your oatmeal with antioxidant-rich tea provides for a beauty-enhancing, delicious breakfast. Krier recommends Big T NYC’s Baby it’s Cold Outside organic black tea. It has a robust, complex flavor that turns your morning oatmeal into an easy-to-make gourmet breakfast. Bonus, the black tea offers a caffeine boost as well, perfect to get you going in the morning!
Theresa Krier's Tea Hound
Theresa is a tea connoisseur and the owner and master-mixer of Big T NYC.
1 cup of iced green tea
1 cup grapefruit juice
Splash of tea-infused simple syrup
Stir together and add the tea-infused simple syrup to taste.
Scoop 2 heaping tsp of tea leaves per cup into a tea filter
Pour 1 cup hot, filtered water over leaves into cup
Allow tea to steep then remove the tea leaves (for Unexpected Fling green tea, steep for 2-4 min)
Pour over ice
In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of cane sugar and 1 cup green tea to a boil. Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle.
Why it’s good for your skin:
Green tea is full of skin-beautifying antioxidants and grapefruit is rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for collagen production in the skin.