Superfood Beauty Inside & Out

Broccoli. Salmon. Blueberries. Kale. What do these colorful foods all have in common (besides being delicious, of course)? These popular healthy-meal staples represent just a handful of a larger bunch of the nutrient-dense food group known as superfoods.

Although there isn’t an exact definition of what they really are, superfoods are largely composed of fruits, vegetables and spices that are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and boast numerous health and skin benefits. Studies have shown that eating superfoods has been linked to lower blood pressure and reduced rates of cancer, heart disease and stroke. As for skin, because superfoods are known for reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage, many experts believe that these nutrient-dense foods may prevent wrinkles and unveil clearer skin.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best superfoods for you to get familiar with.

1. Moringa
Small in size, moringa is a tropical, edible plant that is chock-full of phytonutrients, amino acids and high-value minerals that act as antioxidants and immune boosters while lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also contains plant hormones called cytokinins that help promote cellular growth and prevent the destruction of skin tissues. Its natural vitamin C content boosts collagen, helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.

2. Matcha
Boosted with antioxidant-rich vitamins and minerals, matcha is grown differently than regular green tea which increases chlorophyll levels and production of amino acids. It helps with inflammation, is good for exfoliation and protects the skin from free radical damage. It’s also a wonderful treatment for people with oily complexions due to its detoxing and antibacterial benefits.

3. Avocado
A favorite among burrito and toast enthusiasts, this powerhouse food is loaded with healthy fats and other nutrients, like vitamins B, C, E and K. Rich in skin and hair benefits, avocado oil is an awesome addition to amp up your beauty routine. It gently moisturizes, promotes skin healing, nourishes hair and scalp and stimulates collagen production.

4. Olive Oil
One of the most widely used pantry staples, olive oil remains a wunderkind ingredient thanks to its lipid, fatty acid and antioxidant-rich properties. This rich oil moisturizes skin without clogging pores, protects and balances moisture levels and helps you maintain a youthful glow. As a bonus, it can be used on hair to fight frizz and even nourish cuticles.

5. Seaweed
Rich in antioxidants and other skin-benefiting vitamins and minerals, seaweed is a force to be reckoned with. Known for its anti-aging properties, seaweed can regenerate and protect skin. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help reduce inflammation caused by acne, keep rosacea at bay, boost collagen production and exfoliate your skin.

6. Tea
Sipping a mug of tea can be super relaxing after a long day, but did you know that this herbal remedy actually has some amazing skin care benefits too? Rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties, tea is beneficial for the skin in myriad ways. Whether you’re partial to green, black or red varieties, this ingredient has the ability to fight inflammation and even certain cancers.

7. Coconut Oil
Not just great for cooking, coconut oil is the most abundant source of lauric acid, a fatty acid known for its antimicrobial, moisturizing and hormone-balancing properties. Aside from its anti-aging and skin-healing abilities, it also stimulates the production of collagen and its vitamin E content protects the skin from sun damage. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that keep skin healthy and fight skin allergies that may be responsible for rashes, dermatitis and thinning hair.

8. Ginseng
Used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, ginseng has been used to help combat the feelings of fatigue and stress. Eleuthero (a.k.a. Siberian ginseng), for example, has been found to increase the lifespan of single-cell animals, while rhodiola (a.k.a. Arctic root) has been shown to reduce perceived fatigue in humans. Stress and exhaustion can affect our skin’s appearanceas well, so taking adaptogens like ginseng can also give your skin a boost.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar
An all-natural and all-purpose kitchen staple, apple cider vinegar has been used for many things from kitchen solutions to health remedies. It can double as an efficient and affordable product for your skin and hair by soothing and exfoliating skin, fighting acne and dandruff, toning oily skin, neutralizing body odors and relieving sunburn.

10. Turmeric
We all know that turmeric—the main spice used to make curry—is seriously delish. But did you know that it actually has some pretty cool health and beauty benefits too? When taken internally or applied topically, turmeric can help improve skin issues ranging from acne to psoriasis to sun damage.

11. Honey
A natural antibacterial and antiviral ingredient, honey is a humectant that draws moisture from the air to keep skin moisturized. It also has antioxidant properties that can calm skin inflammation. When applied topically, honey can be used on pimples, sunburns, dry skin, oily skin or ragged cuticles.

12. Yogurt
Regarded the world over as a superfood, Greek yogurt boasts two and a half times the amount of protein than regular yogurt. Whether found in the face products we use or in our diet, protein helps repair skin issues, unveiling a more radiant and younger-looking complexion. As a plus, yogurt also contains lactic acid, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even has the ability to shrink pores.

13. Pumpkin
More than just your favorite latte or pie flavor, pumpkin contains more than 100 beneficial nutrients that can help reverse signs of aging. Pumpkin contains a rich source of antioxidants and enzymes that act like alpha hydroxy acids which can help increase skin cells’ natural turnover. Most of all, these enzymes slough away dead and dehydrated skin cells to reveal healthier and younger-looking skin.
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