There’s a good chance that the decrease in temperatures this month have already taken a toll on your skin. And while switching to heavier moisturizers and exfoliating every night can help, one piece of the puzzle is often overlooked: diet. (That bag of salted pretzels isn’t exactly delivering a boost of antioxidants.) But according to Los Angeles–based nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, you can actually get a jumpstart on better skin in just a week by consuming these key natural ingredients, which provide the building blocks for a healthier complexion. After all, you are what you eat.
Snyder suggests that every client begin their day with some hot water and lemon. “It detoxifies the body by helping your digestive system and liver eliminate waste quickly,” she says. Continue drinking this throughout the day, and squeeze lemon on top of salads and in green juices.
Adding these beta-carotene-rich starches into your daily diet can actually combat lackluster complexions. This is due to “the magical skin-brightening combination of Vitamin A and Vitamin C,” says Snyder, that “work to neutralize cell tissue-damaging free radicals” that cause the dreaded dulling effect. Sweet potatoes are also full of biotin, which stimulates hair and nail growth.
While you probably already know that almonds are a healthful snack, they are also a beauty food, as they’re loaded with Vitamin E. Snyder names this nutrient as “the skin-beautifying antioxidant, since it’s present in human epidermal tissue, [where it] creates smoothness and suppleness.” There’s also research to suggest that Vitamin E may help fight signs of aging “by protecting skin against the damage caused by ultraviolet rays,” she adds, “while nourishing the skin from drying out.”
These free radical-fighting seeds are packed with minerals and fiber and the perfect balance of essential fatty acids—the latter which Snyder credits for giving that “glow.” (Taking an algae-based DHA supplement can help too, she notes, “to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of Omega-3 fats,” which contribute to a balanced mood and healthy heart.) Sprinkle them into smoothies and fruit salads, or soak them in almond milk overnight for a satisfying dessert.
“When your skin needs to look good, this fruit is a wonder food,” says Snyder, “and tastes incredible.” Pineapple benefits skin by improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and removing toxins from the body. What’s more, it also helps in the production of collagen.
“The powerful antioxidants in beets help fight signs of aging to keep skin firm and youthful,” says Snyder. Their combination of minerals and vitamins (folate, Vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium) stimulates cell production and repair, protecting skin from premature aging and wrinkles. Snyder recommends adding the root vegetable to your morning juice along with apple and a hint of ginger for a delicious cleansing boost.
This fruit’s tiny seeds are saturated with nutrients that help cleanse the digestive track of toxins and mucus, which, according to Snyder, may prevent important nutrients from getting to the skin. “This process is vital to enhancing that inner glow,” she notes. Since they are naturally high in sugar, Snyder recommends limiting your daily intake to only a few.
This leafy green is high in Vitamin A, necessary for growth in skin and hair. “Spinach is also loaded with Vitamin C, imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen,” according to Snyder—making it a no-brainer for any meal, juice, or smoothie.
Dates are high in fiber and a perfect sweet treat to aid in cleansing. “They are rich in copper,” Snyder says, “which is an important mineral that helps the body absorb iron and form collagen and red blood cells.” Plus, they make for a great sugar alternative in baking and cooking.