Acai, goji, maca, lucuma, chia, coconut oil, spirulina.....There are loads of products on the market labelled as “superfoods”, but what exactly is a “superfood” and which foods are “super” for your skin?
What is a “superfood”?
A superfood is a food that is packed with nutrients and considered really good for your health and wellbeing. Nowadays there are a variety of products from far away places that are marketed as “superfoods” and while they often contain high amounts of a particular nutrient they can be expensive and confusing.
The best superfoods for your skin
Superfoods don't have to come from an exotic plant found deep in the Amazon rainforest. In fact some of the best superfoods are locally sourced and packaged by nature. Here are our top 8 for awesome skin.
Vitamins C, K, iron, calcium, fibre, folate and the list goes on. Spinach is a nutrient powerhouse and adding a handful to your morning smoothie will not only help your general health but will provide important antioxidants to reduce the inflammation that drives acne.
These guys are one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. Packed with antioxidants they work to reduce the inflammatory pathways associated with acne as well as providing a good source of fibre to detoxify. Bluberries also contain zinc and studies show that most acne suffers are low in zinc. They taste awesome but can be expensive so try and buy them in season or go for the frozen variety. Add to smoothies, chia pudding or chow down on a punnet.
Also known as linseed, these small brown seeds are one of the richest plant-based sources of Omega-3 getting around. Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats, especially where your skin is concerned. Omega-3 fats drive down inflammation, reducing redness and breakouts. Flaxseeds are also high in fibre which helps digestion and detoxification. Aim for 2 tbsp of seeds or 1 teaspoon of oil per day. But remember that your body cant break down whole flaxseeds so add them to smoothies or blitz in a high powered blender and spoon over salads and porridge.
4. Red capsicum
Included in this one is any red or orange fruit or veg as the color means that they contain carotenoids. Red capsicum, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and papaya are all great sources of this antioxidant, anti-inflammatory nutrient. Chop your sweet potatoes into chips, add some olive oil and bake in the oven, yum!
5. Chia seeds
Chia seeds tick a lot of boxes, Omega-3s, fibre, protein and potassium. Similar to flaxseeds but the higher protein component make them a great breakfast food to fill you up and keep you feeling energised for longer. Chia pudding is easy to make and tastes awesome.
6. Wild salmon
This one is all about Omega-3 fats. So far we have talked about plant based sources of Omega-3 but these are not so easily absorbed as that found in fish. By now you are getting the hang of it - Omega-3 = anti-inflammatory = less acne :) Aim for 2 servings a week.
Okay so lentils might not be your favourite food but they are really high in zinc. Other great sources of zinc are oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, eggs and capsicum. Or I could recommend eating liver - ewwww! As mentioned, research shows that most acne
sufferers are deficient in zinc which means they aren't getting enough. Increase your intake and try to make friends with lentils.
I wouldn't be a nutritionist if I didn't talk about broccoli. I rate this as the most super of all superfoods. Antioxidants, fibre, folate, carotenoids, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins...need I go on. Its reduces inflammation, aids detoxification and your skin will love it. Yes when your grandma cooks it for hours and its all mushy it tastes gross but chop raw broccoli really fine and add to salads or give it a light steam and you just might like it.