This list of the 35 beauty foods can be your guide into the magical and delicious world of beauty diet and a holistic approach to beauty.
Let’ dive in!
The biggest mistake a modern person can make is to ignore the opportunity to get all the vital nutrition from the natural source – fresh fruit and vegetables. These days we are more disconnected from nature than ever. It feels somewhat normal to rely on dietary supplements and modern cosmetology for health and looks, and I can’t blame you! Human nature takes the shortcut because we are fundamentally lazy and do anything to optimise our time and experience. As much as this method can work in some aspects of life, unfortunately, it won’t take you far on the health journey. A healthy body and beautiful skin is everyday work and guess what? Mother nature created all the necessary tools for our convenience!
Fruit and vegetables contain all the vitamins and minerals that are important for your health and vibrant appearance. Along with that, most of the highly nutritious foods are tasty, versatile and have beautiful colours. The critical factors that we are looking in beauty foods are that they are low in AGEs, hydrating and high in antioxidants. Raw plant foods tick all the boxes! Here I have put together a list of the best beauty foods that you should be eating regularly for healthy gut and skin. I came up with this list inspired by the support study materials from the Academy of Beauty Nutrition and my observations in this area. These are the foods I eat myself regularly and recommend you to include in your daily diet.
Apples are staples in my house because they are easy to source and rich in potent antioxidants, including catechin and quercetin. These antioxidants fight free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body, making them essential for healthy skin development. They also contain soluble fibre pectin, which plays a vital role in pulling out heavy metals and maintaining bowel health. You can also find bioflavonoid rutin in the peel of the apple, which protects the skin against thread veins. Apples make a perfect snack and can be cooked or mixed with the other fruit and veggies, making it an excellent source for all the nutrients.
Oranges are just like apples – accessible and full of nutrients. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and vitamins like folate, lutein, Vitamins A, Bs and C, which are vital for the collagen synthesis. The easiest way to consume oranges is to drink fresh orange juice, which I often use as a base for my smoothies.
Mangos are one of the most nutritionally rich fruits in the world that taste delicious and look and smell great too! They are rich in pro-vitamin A, Vitamin C and E, pectin, and fibre that are vital for skin health. They also contain enzymes and compounds that stimulate and feed the gut’s good bacteria, which promotes digestion. It is my favourite breakfast fruit, but sometimes I have it for dessert also. There’s no guilt in this treat!
Pineapple is another fruit that I love to have in my smoothies or have by itself for breakfast. It’s rich in Vitamin C, Manganese and beta carotene, which involved in collagen synthesis. Powerful antioxidants in pineapple can reduce the wrinkles, improve overall skin texture and minimise skin damage from sun exposure. It is also full of powerful enzymes that fight candida and help the digestive process. To get the most out of its digestive health benefits, have it between meals as a snack.
Did you know that watermelon is one of the most hydrating fruits in the world? It effectively hydrates, detoxifies, and cleanses your body on a cellular level. It contains a hefty dose of skin-beautifying vitamins like A, C, Zinc, and anti-ageing compound lycopene. Whenever you have a chance, make sure to take advantage of all the benefits of this deliciously juicy fruit!
This fantastic fruit contains over 19 vitamins and minerals to nourish your skin and body, boost the immune system, and detoxify the organs. It provides a healthy dose of Zinc, Vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. This type of fruit doesn’t require any digestion and best eaten on an empty stomach alone for breakfast.
Berries are full of powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol capable of stopping the process of oxidation. Just like cutting an apple causes it to turn brown, oxidation affects your skin similarly. There’s no better fruit to add into your breakfast smoothie or a bowl, so make sure to have some frozen, so you are always stocked up.
Dates are not only great for snacking but also make a fantastic alternative to sugars and syrups. They are a great source of minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, potassium and anti-ageing copper. When chopped and mixed with other ingredients like nuts, they make great energy bars and healthy desserts.
Papaya is high in beta carotene, Vitamins C and A that are vital for our skin health and immune system support. It contains a particular enzyme called papain which is a powerful digestive aid. It reduces inflammation and helps to digest protein. It also contains fibre and lots of calcium, which helps your body to function smoothly. Have it as it is in the morning on an empty stomach or add to your beauty smoothie along with the other delicious healing fruits.
It’s a well-known fact that lemons are rich in Vitamin C but did you know that it is also high in minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, silicon, copper and potassium! The zest of this healthy fruit also contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids which are essential for skin protection.
Grapes are high in vitamins and minerals and particularly abundant in the powerful anti-ageing antioxidant – resveratrol. Phytochemicals found in grapes are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial. Freeze some seedless grapes to snack on later. Such an easy and delicious way to stay well!
Avocado is not only rich in essential nutrients, but it also increases the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients, that’s why it’s perfect for salads! They also contain essential fatty acids that help the body to function correctly. Our skin loves avocado because it contains nourishing vitamin E. It’s a powerful antioxidant and helps to reduce UV damage in the skin.
Tomato is a personal favourite fruit of all! It’s a great source of the anti-ageing antioxidant lycopene as well as vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K. They are also a good source of fibre, so make sure to include them in your beauty diet!
Red bell pepper
Did you know that bell peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges? It also packed with vitamin A and is 92% water! It’s also rich in carotenoids that help prevent wrinkles and fight acne, making it a perfect beauty food.
What makes cucumber beauty food is that its skin contains a significant amount of chlorophyll known to fight acne. Also, cucumber juice is a fantastic source of skin-loving mineral Silica. It’s essential for healthy cells and vibrant complexion. Chop the cucumber into small pieces and add to the bowl with tomato and bell pepper to make a water-rich beauty salad!
Another amazing vegetable that my family and I love! It’s incredibly nutritious and fantastic for your skin because it’s rich in pro-vitamin A, vitamin C and E. It’s also high in potassium which helps to regulate fluid balance in the body. If you haven’t tried making creamy sweet potato soup, you definitely should. It’s so comforting, healthy and satisfying!
Leeks is a sulphur-containing plant, just like onions, garlic and shallots. Sulphur has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which can be used to improve skin’s complexion and fight acne. It’s also a good source of iron and dietary fibre.
Carrots are a powerhouse for glowing skin because they are rich in carotenoids that help slow ageing and protect your skin from sun’s rays. Beta carotene in carrots gets converted to vitamin A once absorbed and helps repair tissues while also protecting the skin. Carrots are fabulous for juicing, so make sure to add them in your daily rejuvenating beauty drink.
Beetroot is a powerhouse for beautifying antioxidants and vitamins that have anti-inflammatory properties. Its bright pigment comes from the Betalain that supports the body’s natural detox process and fights inflammation. It also contains a good amount of Vitamin C and Folate, which help with cell regeneration and premature ageing prevention.
Spinach is a staple ingredient in my beauty smoothie because it’s jam-packed with nutrients vital for skin health. It’s rich in vitamin K, A, C and folate, manganese, magnesium, iron and riboflavin. Spinach can be consumed raw or cooked; both ways are very nutritious.
Celery is another water-rich food high in vitamin K, A, C, B6, Folate, Potassium, Calcium and Manganese. Celery juice is a great detoxifier and can help to flush out pathogens and viruses that cause inflammation. It’s great for hydration and will leave your skin glowing.
Broccoli’s beautifying properties come from anti-ageing chlorophyll and a good amount of sulphur. It is also rich in carotenoids which makes it a great acne-fighting food. I love to add slightly steamed broccoli into my raw bawl to keep a delicate balance of texture.
It is not so well-known that seaweed is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that most people think can be only found in fish. It also contains vitamin E, which is hydrating for the skin. The amino-acids in seaweed can help to plump the skin and smooth out the lines. Add it to salad, or wrap sushi with it. You can also boost your smoothie with sea dulse flakes, this way it’s easier to mask the taste if you are not a fan.
Quinoa is a nutritious and naturally gluten-free grain rich in protein and all nine essential amino acids. One of the amino-acids Lysine in quinoa can potentially boost collagen synthesis and even out the complexion. It is also rich in fibre and minerals.
Buckwheat always reminds me of my home country Russia because it’s one of the most common foods. Buckwheat is not related to wheat, naturally gluten-free and rich in protein. It’s rich in flavonoid Rutin which helps to prevent thread veins.
Oatmeal is high in fibre and contains anti-inflammatory ingredient Beta Glucan. It helps increase the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract and is soothing for the skin. Have it in the morning in your smoothie, or soak it overnight in milk. Serve with fruit and nuts to taste.
Flax is another excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids as well as lignans and antioxidants. It’s a powerful ally against ageing and can help to stay your skin smooth and hydrated. They are best-consumed ground or mixed with other foods. You can also use them as an egg substitute for vegan cake because they produce a gel-like substance when they are agitated in water.
Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and high in fibre which can significantly help with digestion. They make a perfect smoothie booster, or you can have them as an independent nutritious breakfast meal. Just mix 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 1/4 cup of your favourite plant-based milk. Leave it overnight and enjoy with some fruit in the morning!
Hemp seeds are produced from the hemp plant and offer incredible nutritional benefits. These seeds are a good source of amino-acids, protein, fibre and essential fatty acids. It’s a great source of vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc. Add them into your smoothie or sprinkle on top cereal.
Spirulina is a type of fresh-water algae and makes a great smoothie booster. It contains a high content of vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron and phosphorus that help detoxify and heal the skin faster. It also has all the essential amino acids that we need for protein. I add spirulina in most of my smoothies to stay on top of my nutrition.
Turmeric is rich in anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory compound curcumin. It protects the skin against free radicals and improves collagen deposition. Use it as a spice in dishes or take it as a supplement mixed with water and some black pepper.
If you like chocolate, then I advise you to invest in a good quality raw cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is made by grinding the whole fermented cacao beans. It’s different from the commercial cocoa powder because it hasn’t gone through an alkalising process called “dutching” and remains unroasted. “Dutching” destroys most of the nutrients and antioxidants that’s why it’s best to use raw cacao powder in your meals to be able to receive all the goodness. Raw cacao contains skin-beautifying vitamins like Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Manganese and anti-ageing compounds flavanols like Catechin, Epicatechin, Luteolin and Proanthocyanins. All these are potent antioxidants, that can protect your skin in the sun and reduce ageing signs.
Brazil nuts are a great source of Selenium and work as a natural supplement. Just one Brazil nut provides 95mcg of Selenium which is almost double the RDA of 55mcg for women. Selenium helps to neutralise free radicals and slow down signs of ageing.
Hibiscus flower makes a delicious tea full of antioxidants and minerals. It’s rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids, including powerful anti-inflammatory compounds anthocyanins and quercetin. Hibiscus tea makes an excellent iced tea on a hot day.
White tea is formed of the tips and flower buds, and its the least processed type of tea. It contains the least caffeine and most antioxidants. White tea is abundant in polyphenols – plant-based molecules that act as antioxidants inside the body. It has been proven that white tea extract can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the body with more success than other teas.
The bottom line
All fruits and vegetables and most herbs, nuts and seeds are incredible for the skin and overall health. This list is just a summary of the most common foods you can add to your daily diet to fulfil your beauty and health needs.
- Carlsen, M.H., Halvorsen, B.L., Holte, K. et al. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Nutr J 9, 3 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-3
- Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298-307. doi:10.4161/derm.22876