The old adage says we are what we eat, and the latest trends in beauty and skincare are looking to food—rather than moisturizers or makeup—as the pathway to beauty.

When Alicia Keys boldly stepped onto the red carpet at the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards sans makeup, she told interviewers she felt like her most beautiful self, crediting her glowing skin to a healthy lifestyle that emphasized whole foods and exercise. But how exactly do we get the glowing, gorgeous skin Keys flaunts so fabulously?

“When you treat your body well, you don’t need makeup. Your skin glows,” says Dr. Jodi Larry, a Toronto naturopathic doctor. Eating for your best skin requires a diet designed to combat inflammation, the underlying cause of most skin conditions. “Puffiness, redness and dark circles under the eyes are all inflammation,” says Dr. Larry.

Ready to eat for beauty? Dive into to our nutritional guide designed to help you get healthy, glowing and fabulous skin from head to toe! 

 

 

Eat Less

Cortisol trigger foods

According to Dr. Larry, the more cortisol
in our bodies, the more inflammation we’ll experience. Certain foods trigger our adrenal glands, which spike cortisol levels. Cutting down on coffee, switching to decaf—or even better, choosing green tea—is a much more nourishing way to start the day and keep those adrenal glands from working overtime. 

Refined sugars

Cakes, cookies, bagels, bread, rice and pasta are all loaded with refined sugars, another inflammation trigger. Dr. Larry recommends avoiding refined sugars as much as possible, and even whole wheat products, too. “Two pieces of whole wheat bread can increase your blood sugar as much as two tablespoons of refined sugar.” 
 

Processed food

In a nutshell, processed foods are anything made in a factory. According to Dr. Larry, these foods contain fillers, chemicals and artificial ingredients that aren’t good for the skin. The best way to know if something has been processed is to read the label, because “the more ingredients you don’t understand the more likely [it is] that something has been processed.” 

 

Eat More:

Antioxidants

“We all should eat a lot of antioxidants as we age,” she notes. They help fight free radicals, which break down cells, contributing to wrinkles and dark circles. So fill your grocery cart with blueberries, raspberries, green tea, cherries, lemons and sweet potatoes as often as you can. 

Anti-inflammatory foods

A number of foods directly combat inflammation, and at the top of that list is turmeric. Drink it, use it as a spice or take it as a supplement to
help bring down skin redness. 

Alkaline foods

To promote health and beauty from the inside out, Dr. Larry tells her clients to juice half of a lemon every morning in a glass of water. The lemon helps to alkalinize the body, which is “the best environment for your skin.” Plus, drinking lots of water is great for overall hydration and a necessity for good skin. 
 

Apple cider vinegar

This pantry staple helps brighten skin whether you drink or apply it. Add one tablespoon a day to a glass of water, use it in salad dressing or make your own toner, mixing two cups of organic apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. 
 

eat2

Zinc

Dr. Larry recommends eating lots of pumpkin seeds and whole grains, both of which are rich in this glowing-skin mineral. Zinc can also be taken as a supplement. 

Fish oil

“Hands down, fish oil is the most important nutrient you can take if you want soft, glowing skin.” Dr. Larry recommends one to two teaspoons a day for noticeable results within the first month. Side effects? She laughs. “Well, fish oil is good for your brain, your mood, for anxiety, postpartum and digestion.” Pick your brands carefully, though, as some fish oil is high in mercury. Her favourites

are Carlson and Nutraseed. 
 

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help decrease cortisol. Adaptogens are in licorice tea or ashwagandha, which can be taken as a tincture or a powder. 

Probiotics

Good gut health leads to great skin, says Dr. Larry. Probiotics help balance bacteria in the digestive tract, making skin happy and healthy as a result. 

Dr. Larry espouses healthy eating for beautiful skin because makeup and even supplements work their best when you’re thinking first and foremost about what you’re putting into your body. “Everyone is realizing more and more that everything we do and eat affects us inside and out.” And that’s a beautiful thing.