Beautifully healthy skin: Eat your way to beauty

Last week I posted a blog post I was invited to write for another blog.

It seems you guys liked it. And wanted more. So, this week, I'm going to post some more of the guest posts I have written.

Today's post is all about how to eat your way to beauty.

So listen up . . .

The cornerstone of beautifully healthy skin is a beautifully healthy diet. Without that, nothing else will help. And, second, in that healthy diet, there are some amazing foods that almost seemed designed to give you gorgeous skin for life.

So let’s start with the healthy diet. Then we’ll move on to the five best foods for beautifully healthy skin.

Beauty comes from within
Beautiful skin is healthy skin. And healthy skin starts with a healthy diet, like this one.

Eat lots of different types of fruits and vegetables with side helpings of 100% whole wheat bread and other whole grains. Eat good fats, such as olive oil, and avoid bad fats, such as butter. Eat less protein than you think. Ditto dairy. Drink lots of water. Avoid processed food, which means avoiding almost everything in a sealed can or box or bag, because no body craves a good dose of preservatives and other chemicals. Ditto white bread and pasta and rice and sugar.

It’s that easy.

The five best foods for beautifully healthy skin
Now that you are eating a healthy diet, it is easy to add foods that are especially good for your skin. These are the ones I like.

1. Green leafy vegetables, the darker green the better
Kale and spinach and romaine and all the dark green leafy stuff you can lay your hands on are loaded with Vitamin A. Vitamin A counteracts wrinkles. It also gives you healthy blood circulation which gives you gorgeous skin that just glows.

If you need a suggestion on which greens to your diet, the one I really like is kale. If you want some help, including the world’s easiest husband tested and approved recipe, there are tons of resources online including a post I wrote called “The great kale experiment.”

2. Blueberries
That gorgeous color is also the reason these berries are such good antioxidants. See, antioxidants fight free radicals. Free radicals are molecules. These molecules, among other things, can damage tissue. And you want to keep your tissue nice and healthy if you want to avoid premature aging.

I use fresh blueberries when they are locally available in my morning smoothie. In the winter, when local blueberries are not to be had, I use frozen. Now, I know I told you to avoid sealed bags, but flip that bag of frozen berries over and the best ones will have only one ingredient: Blueberries. So you’re good to go (in fact, a lot of frozen fruits and vegetables have great ingredient lists; just remember to read the list on the back, not the hype on the front to see what you are really buying).

3. Flax seeds
These wee beasties are loaded with ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid. The omega-3s are good fats. Good fats that battle early aging and help keep your skin looking pretty.

You can sprinkle flax seeds anywhere: On cereal, in your smoothie, on your sandwich, in your salad, on your vegetables, in your yogurt, on your partner, and so on. But before you go sprinkling crazy, I have two tips. First, to avoid the, shall we say, explosive side effects suddenly upping your fiber intake can cause, you need to start easy, say with no more than a generous pinch. Then take a week or two to work your way up to, oh, perhaps the level tablespoon I take daily. But, bear in mind, I’ve been eating flax seeds for years and, well, as a freelance writer, I work alone!

Second, you must grind your seeds in advance. Otherwise they, and all their wholesome goodness, will pass uselessly through your system. Whirr them in your blender for a few seconds or use a mortar and pestle and work out some frustration.

4. Olive oil
It tastes good, it is way better for you than butter, and it gives you the baby’s bottom skin you’ve always wanted. Really.

There are two things you need to know about olive oil. First, if you are going to cook with it, it has a fairly low smoking point. A smoking point is just what it sounds like: The point where an oil starts to smoke. When you hit the smoking point, two things happen. First, the oil can change flavor, and not for the better. And second, you may be entering carcinogenic territory. Now, I cook with olive oil all the time. But I use good pans that heat up nicely and evenly and retain heat and I keep my heat level to the mid-range or less. And I rarely hit the smoking point.

Second, if you want to give up butter but can’t stand to give up dessert, have I got a treat for you: A cake recipe that uses olive oil instead of butter. Brilliant, eh? It’s a lemon olive oil cake that’s moist and wonderful. I serve it with fresh blueberries.

5. Green tea
Remember those nasty free radicals we talked about earlier? Well, green tea helps fight them, too. This is on top of its helping to prevent cancer and heart disease and osteoporosis and . . . well, there are lots of reasons to drink green tea.

Now, for me, the problem with green tea is I am just not all that fond of it. So these days, I make my morning smoothie with half green tea and half soy milk as well as berries and yogurt and so on. It works, and tastes, like a dream.

Is that all there is?
No, of course not. For example, I eat yogurt daily, try to fit in some exercise, I’m binging on apricots these days, I try to laugh as much as I can without seeming insane, I eat more tofu, I hug my husband a lot, and so on.

All of which help make me healthy. Which is good because there is nothing prettier than being healthy. Nothing at all.