We know how good fruits and vegetables are for our bodies. They contain many vitamins and key nutrients that may keep us fit and help us with weight loss. But interestingly, they can have miraculous effects on our skin as well. So what are actually the best vegetables for skin?
Best Vegetables for Skin
I am sure you have heard of the benefits of vegetables (and fruits as well, of course) many times. There are so many kinds of them and in general they are all good for us. None of the vegetables is considered bad for our overall health or appearance.
However, you might not feel well after eating one particular kind of them. Let’s say you like broccoli but you always feel bloated after eating it. No matter how healthy it is, you should avoid it then. It may contain something that doesn’t go well with you. There is plenty of other kinds so there’s no need to force ourselves to eat anything.
Out of all the vegetables that are all good for us there are a few that are special regarding our skin. You can find lots of information online about everything nowadays but I want to share with you my personal experience.
I love vegetables but don’t need to have them five times a day. One big portion with good amount of nutrients is enough for me (and for many, in my opinion). However, I’m not a big eater and only have three meals a day, one of which is my morning shake. If you are always hungry or love eating big meals, adding vegetables can help you cut down the calories (even if you don’t count calories).
The reason why vegetables are so good for our skin is that they are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants – Vitamins A, C and D
The vitamins that are the best ones for our skin are antioxidants. What is an antioxidant?
Let’s look at the definition in Wikipedia:
“Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms.”
Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds. One of them beta-carotene can be found in red, yellow and orange vegetables in increased amounts. Leafy greens and lettuce also tend to be rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is both an antioxidant and a carotenoid.
Vegetables with high amount of vitamin A: carrots, spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli. But also dandelion greens! Would you believe that? 🙂
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is another antioxidant great for your skin. Unlike vitamin A and E, vitamin C content in food can be reduced by around 60% by cooking. The longer we cook the vegetables, the worse. Leaching causes another loss of vitamin C. That’s why we get the most vitamin C from fresh vegetables.
Vegetables with increased amount of vitamin C: bell peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. Out of all peppers the yellow peppers have the highest content of vitamin C. More than double compared to the green ones!
Vitamin E is another fat-soluble vitamin, same as vitamin A. Why is it so beneficial for our skin? Here’s explanation of Mayo Clinic:
“Vitamin E has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that might protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation.” (Just in case you forgot the definition of antioxidant from Wikipedia).
Vegetables containing vitamin E: It is more contained in nuts, seeds and wheat germs (as well as oils) but it can be found in vegetables too. Vegetables that are vitamin E-rich are avocado, spinach and broccoli.
Lycopene is another carotenoid but it has no vitamin A activity. It is widely contained in tomatoes, tomato juice and tomato paste. It is supposed to be another powerful antioxidant.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the top skin-friendly foods are the ones highest in antioxidants. On the contrary, the foods that promote skin aging contain processed or refined sugars and other carbohydrates as well as unhealthy fats.
I like to look at the entire process of what we eat similarly as when you look at the car engine. You need to put the right fuel in it; if you don’t you damage it and it won’t work. Same with our bodies. The foods we consume either contribute to skin protection or skin damage.
Of course there are other factors important as well. Our mind. If we feel happy, if we do something we are passionate about, we shine and glow. But to have enough energy, we need to put the right fuel in.
My Skin-Related Experience with Vegetables
When I eat tomatoes and red peppers every day in summer, I always have a shiny and healthy skin. The difference is huge and I can always see it on pictures from holidays as well. Last year we had a road trip to Spain for almost three weeks and we had bread and butter with fresh Spanish tomatoes and red peppers for lunch almost every day. Such a simple meal but it worked wonders with my skin!
If you ask me what are the best vegetables for skin and if I were to pick just three of them that I consider working wonders on my skin, I would name tomatoes, red peppers and carrots. As mentioned above, spinach, broccoli and kale are great too but I can’t imagine having them every single day for lunch or dinner. I use them for cooking though.
You really don’t have to spend lots of money on food if you want to eat healthy and have healthy and shiny skin. Fresh tomatoes and peppers with bread and butter will do you a great service regarding your skin. It is better to have fish or eggs instead or bread if you are on a diet but that’s not today’s topic.
The point is tomatoes and peppers with bread and butter are better for your skin than having fish and chips, pasta with minced meat or pizza.
Just to make things clear, I’m not strict with my diet. When I visit friends, I eat it what I’m offered. But when I can choose, I always opt for something that is good for me. Now and then, I have ice cream or chocolate but what I always try to avoid are foods containing hydrogenated fats. I don’t want to get into the topic of fats but in general, oils that were modified to become solid fats are bad. All the biscuits filled with “cream” that is pure chemical stuff consisting of sugars and hydrogenated fats and completed with other unnatural stuff. No good at all!
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be this:
-> eat fresh vegetables together with some healthy fats like nuts, seeds or cold-pressed oil as often as possible.
Your skin will thank you!
Our skin reflects the inner environment and even the best creams won’t help if your diet lacks healthy fats, vitamins and micro nutrients.
On the other hand, if you provide your body with the necessary nutrients, you skin will glow and shine bright!
What are the best vegetables for skin that work for you? And what are you favourite ones as to the taste?
Let me know in the comments!