Beauty Foods
By Lisa Turner
You can spend hundreds of dollars on pricey creams, lotions, and cosmetic procedures. But the fact is, good skin starts from within

Want to be more beautiful? The formula for promoting smooth, glowing skin doesn’t have to be complicated, cost hundreds of dollars, or take months to work. It can be as simple as eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats; drinking plenty of filtered water; and avoiding excessive caffeine consumption, which dehydrates cells and makes fine lines more noticeable. Other skin-zapping foods: sugar, which damages collagen and elastin, the fibers in skin that keep it smooth and firm; refined and high-glycemic carbs, linked with an increase in acne breakouts; and alcohol, which dehydrates cells and causes dilated blood vessels and facial redness. In addition, a few foods top the list for skin beautifying. Some of the best:

1. Asparagus is high in antioxidants including glutathione, which helps protect skin from sun damage and minimizes the effects of aging. It’s also high in vitamin C, beta carotene, selenium, zinc, and other skin-beautifying nutrients, and works as a natural diuretic to reduce puffiness and swelling. Eat it very lightly cooked or raw to protect the glutathione content.

2. Salmon contains 2-dimethylaminoethanol, or DMAE, a compound found naturally in the brain. DMAE protects cell membrane integrity to keep skin smooth and firm, and helps inhibit the body’s production of arachidonic acid, a compound that encourages wrinkles, sagging, and signs of aging. Salmon also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of skin cancer. Choose wild Alaskan salmon instead of farmed. Sardines and other small fatty fish have similar benefits.

Almonds3. Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats that keep cell membranes strong and flexible, encourage smooth skin, and prevent and treat eczema. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can not only protect against, but also reverse, skin damage from the sun’s UV rays. Other nuts have similar benefits.

Avocado4. Avocado contains the skin-healing vitamins A, D, and E, and is rich in antioxidant carotenoids that prevent free radical damage to skin cells. Studies have shown that some constituents of avocado offer protection against UV damage to skin cells. And like almonds and other nuts, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats.

5. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, a fat- soluble vitamin that helps keep skin springy and firm and helps prevent wrinkles and fine lines. It’s also a good source of lutein, a type of carotenoid that helps protect the skin from sun damage. Plus, spinach contains zinc, which guards against blemishes and breakouts.

6. Ruby red grapefruit gets its pink hue from a potent antioxidant called lycopene (also found in tomatoes and guava) that fights free radical damage to the skin and protects against wrinkles, sagging, and skin discolorations. Several studies have shown that lycopene can also protect against burning from the sun’s UV rays.

7. Cauliflower, like other cruciferous vegetables, is rich in glucosinolates, cancer-preventive compounds that also protect the skin from free radical damage. Studies show that isothiocyanates, which are converted from glucosinolates, can prevent wrinkles and stimulate skin detoxification. In one study, an isothiocyanate extract increased firmness and smoothness of skin in people who worked outdoors in the winter and were exposed to cold weather and low humidity.

8. Arugula, like cauliflower, is rich in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, cancer-fighting compounds that also protect the skin from free radicals and sun damage. Some studies show that isothiocyanates prevent inflammation in the skin and can protect against psoriasis. Arugula also stimulates the liver, and can promote skin detoxification.

9. Blackberries are good sources of skin-protective vitamins A, C, and K. They are also high in anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for their deep purple color and their ability to protect against cellular damage. Blackberries contain another antioxidant called ellagic acid, which helps shield the skin from damage by the sun’s UV rays and helps repair existing damage from excessive sun exposure. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have similar benefits.

Salmon_en_Papillote_Arugula_PestoSalmon en Papillote with Arugula Pesto
Serves 4

4 large squares parchment paper

1/2 cup olive oil

1 ½ cup packed arugula leaves

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs. wild Alaskan salmon, cut into 4 equal pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Fold one parchment square in half, and draw half heart shape on paper. Cut and unfold to make heart-shaped piece of parchment. Repeat with remaining parchment pieces.
  2. Combine olive oil, arugula, basil, and garlic in food processor, and process into thick paste, adding water to thin if needed, 1 Tbs. at a time. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Wash salmon, and pat dry. Place one parchment heart on flat surface. Arrange one piece of fish on one half of parchment. Spread pesto evenly over fish. Fold parchment over fish. Starting at pointed end of parchment, crimp edges together, making 1/4-inch folds around fish to create a half-moon. Place on baking sheet, and repeat with remaining parchment, fish, and pesto.
  4. Bake 10–15 minutes, depending on thickness, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer packets to individual serving plates, and slit parchment open just before serving.

per serving: 574 cal; 49g pro; 41g total fat (7g sat fat); 1g carb; 102mg chol; 107mg sod; <1g fiber; <1g sugars

Asparagus_with_Lemon-Thyme_VinaigrettAsparagus Bundles with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 small bunch green onions, divided

1 small lemon

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme leaves

1 lb. slender asparagus stalks, tough ends removed

  1. Cut green tops from green onions, and set tops aside. Finely mince one scallion bulb. Reserve remaining bulbs to use in another recipe.
  2. Grate 1 tsp. zest from outside of lemon, and place in small jar with tight-fitting lid. Juice lemon, and add lemon juice to jar. Add minced green onion, olive oil, and thyme, and shake until well blended and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange asparagus spears in vegetable steamer, and steam over boiling water 2–3 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Add green onion tops to steamer on top of asparagus. Return lid to steamer, and let green onion tops wilt briefly, about 30 seconds.
  4. Remove vegetables from steamer, cool until just easy to handle, and divide asparagus into four bundles. Tie one or two pieces of green onion around center of each bundle.
  5. To serve, arrange bundles on platter or individual plates. Drizzle vinaigrette over each bundle, and serve with additional dressing on the side.

per serving: 147 cal; 2g pro; 14g total fat (2g sat fat); 5g carb; 0mg chol; 11mg sod; 2g fiber; 1g sugars

Spinach_Avocado_Ruby_Grapefruit_SaladSpinach, Avocado, and Ruby Grapefruit Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette
Serves 4

2 small ruby grapefruits

2 Tbs. blackberry fruit spread or preserves

1/4 cup unrefined avocado oil

8 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves*

1/2 cup blackberries

1 small avocado, peeled and cubed

1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts

  1. Peel grapefruits with sharp knife, completely removing white pith. Cut between membranes to release grapefruit segments, holding over medium bowl to catch juice. Set grapefruit sections aside. Squeeze membranes over bowl to extract remaining juice. Discard membranes.
  2. Whisk jam into grapefruit juice until well blended. Slowly drizzle in avocado oil, and whisk until creamy and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In medium bowl, combine spinach, grapefruit sections, blackberries, and avocado cubes. Drizzle with dressing, and toss gently to mix. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts, and serve.

per serving: 363 cal; 4g pro; 27g total fat (4g sat fat); 30g carb; 0mg chol; 80mg sod; 8g fiber; 14g sugars

Creamy_Cauliflower_Bisque_with_ChiveCreamy Cauliflower Bisque with Chive Oil
Serves 4

2 Tbs. coconut oil, divided

2 small leeks, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)

1 small celery stalk

1 large head cauliflower, cored and chopped (4–5 cups)

3–4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup almond or cashew butter

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 large bunch fresh chives, divided

1/2 cup olive oil

  1. Heat 1 Tbs. coconut oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and celery, and cook 4–5 minutes until softened. Add cauliflower and 3 cups broth, cover, and cook until cauliflower is soft, 15–20 minutes. Add almond milk and cashew butter, and warm through, about 3 minutes.
  2. While soup is cooking, toast almonds in small pan, and set aside.
  3. Finely chop 2 Tbs. chives, and set aside. Hold remaining chives under hot water to soften and lightly blanch, about 30 seconds. In food processor, combine softened chives with olive oil, and purée until smooth. Strain through fine mesh sieve, and discard solids.
  4. When soup is finished cooking, purée in batches in food processor or blender until creamy and very smooth, adding more stock if needed. Season with salt and white pepper.
  5. To serve, divide soup among four bowls. Drizzle chive oil over each bowl, and sprinkle with almonds and chopped chives. Serve hot.

per serving: 427 cal; 12g pro; 34g total fat (10g sat fat); 24g carb; 4mg chol; 816mg sod; 6g fiber; 5g sugars

Lisa Turner is a certified food psychology coach, nutritional healer, intuitive eating consultant, and author. She has written five books on food and nutrition and developed the Inspired Eats iPhone app. Visit her online at

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