Skin Health Recipe: Start the Day Smart with Fruit and Nuts

Skin Care
This is one of my favorite recipes. (And, yes, I actually wear that apron when I’m in my own kitchen.)

I grew up in a family of foodies. We pick and can or freeze fruit every season; we have entire bookshelves devoted to Bon Appétit going back to the 90s; and we sit around the dinner table hashing out thoughtful articles on all things gastronomical. My parents instilled a great love of the culinary world in us, and it’s one of the few things we all generally agree on — even those of us who aren’t as inclined in the kitchen. We used to say that my brother, who only recently started making food for himself, “Couldn’t cook much, but he sure could order.”

But my particular passion for food and science has spurred me to investigate as much as I can about the complexities of what we eat. This particular recipe is one I throw together to get a energizing boost in the morning, but if you cut some of the ingredient portions it can make a pretty great snack! Since eating ingredients is more effective than applying ingredients topically, those who are skin-conscious will want to include nutrient-packed foods like these into diets.

Here’s the recipe straightforward, but keep reading to find out what all these ingredients do for your skin:

skin health recipes
Uncombined ingredients

1 Tbsp Walnuts
1 Tbsp Sliced Almonds
1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
1 Tbsp Wheat Bran
1/3 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Strawberries
1 Banana
½ Cup Almond Milk
Sprinkle of Cinnamon


  • Nut allergies: Skip the nuts and consider adding extra seeds instead — pumpkin are a particular favorite of mine! And instead of almond milk, you can use lemons and limes or plain yogurt to add a little extra moisture to this mix.
  • Gluten intolerance: Yank the wheat bran and add in extra fiber with raisins.
  • Low-sugar: Pick fruits that are relatively low in sugar, such as raspberries and blackberries.

Nuts about Nuts!: Walnuts and Almonds


These tasty guys come replete with plenty of skin favorite omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3s could reduce inflammation and might even increase fibroblast production of collagen (World Review of Nutrition and DieteticsJournal of Cell Physiology). And since westerners tend to get an imbalance of omega 3s and 6s (tipped toward omega-6), some researchers think it could be one of the reasons we get acne (International Journal of Dermatology). So adding those omega-3s could be a real face saver!

[Related: 3 Tips for Eating for Beautiful Skin this Summer]

Fiber Full: Stay Satiated with Ground Flax Seeds and Bran

Flax Seeds
Wheat Bran

Flax seeds are another food that’s chocked full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids along with other beneficial compounds like phytoestrogens, lignans, antioxidants, and fiber — seriously, these things are one of the best foods you should add to your diet if you haven’t already. A study on flax seed oil found that regular supplementation helped diminish skin sensitivity and improved barrier function (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology). Wheat bran is a good source of iron and phosphorous, but in this recipe, they serve mostly as fiber, which keeps you feeling full for longer — meaning you can make better food decisions throughout the day (Life Sciences and Medicine Research).

It’s best to buy whole flax seeds and then grind them to get the best nutrition. Pre-ground seeds can lose some of their nutrients and whole seeds can pass through the body undigested. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring anything to grind the seeds with, so in these images, they’re whole.

Sweet Antioxidants with Fresh Fruit

Bananas, Strawberries, Blueberries

These fruits are jam-packed with antioxidants, but you can use whichever fruits you’d like. Strawberries, according to the American Chemical Society, have the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of common fruits tested, meaning that they have a sky-high antioxidant capacity (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). Bananas also come in surprisingly high on the list of fruits with a high ORAC, clocking in at #8. These sweet (they’re fairly high in sugar) treats can regulate blood pressure and reduce stress (which is good for skin!) with their high levels of potassium (NC State UniversityPlant Foods for Human Nutrition). Blueberries are kind of an anti-aging superstar — they’re packed full of antioxidants like anthocyanin. They’re known for reducing oxidative stress and strengthening red blood cells against oxidative stress, which is better for your body and skin in the long run (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta).

I’d recommend having at least one that’s on the sweeter side because almond milk (or citrus juice or plain yogurt for those with nut allergies) doesn’t have the same sweetness as regular old milk.

[Relate: Which Fruits and Vegetables Are Best for Your Skin?]

Avoiding Acne-Inflammers with Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Almond milk is more a crucial ingredient, not for what it is, but for what it’s not. I know that’s confusing — allow me to explain. Milk, because it contains growth-promoting hormones and sugars, has been shown to cause a spike in acne for many (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology).Unsweetened almond milk is a great way to get the feeling of milk without the acne-causing issues.

Spice Things Up and Stay Young with Cinnamon


Sprinkling on cinnamon offers more than just flavor. This spice serves as an anti-inflammatory agent (Food Chemistry). It might also help in blocking the glycation process that causes hardened collagen and contributes to aging, meaning that this delicious addition does more than add some zing to your food (Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery).

Bottom Line

eat smart for healthy skin
Eat smart for healthy skin.

By eating the right kinds of food, you can do a LOT for your skin. Seriously, if you’re dedicated to getting all the right ingredients in skin care, you should try to make sure that you’re fueling your body with the right ingredients too!

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  • Firn

    jh: I’ve been eating a very similar recipe with Bircher-style oats. You can soak your oats in almond milk/plain water/fruit juice overnight and get lovely soft plump no-cook oats in the morning.

  • Natalie Bell

    @jh — Thank you for your comment! I definitely think it could be modified for oatmeal. It would definitely make the recipe a bit more “stick to your ribs,” which is great for breakfast. Proportions are personal, so how much you use is up to you. I’d probably go for a 1/3 cup addition of dry oats (you can add them dry or cooked — though cooked will make you feel more full) and cut out some of the fruit (for a little less volume).

    As for the almond milk — I definitely added it because I like a “milk” product. But for those who don’t like milk, water is definitely an option or I recommend citrus fruit juice (lemon or lime most likely). The benefits of citrus juice are a little added flavor (and vitamins!) but also the ability to make this more “on the go” — the citrus will stop fruits like bananas and apples from oxidizing, so you can pre-cut and pack this to travel without worry that it will get brown.

    I hope this helped!

  • Natalie Bell

    @Tinose — Thank you so much! I started eating this because regular old cereal and milk made me feel sluggish (and made my stomach hurt). I’m a big fan of hardboiled eggs as well, particularly on-the-go. I’ve heard a lot of people fry or scramble eggs and add some ground flax seeds on as well!

  • jh

    Is there a way to modify the recipe to include oatmeal? I really like to eat slightly sweetened oatmeal – bordering on bland. Also is the almond milk added because the recipe needs a “milk” or can one use water? Milk is not something I particularly like, even if it is almond or soy or goat milk. I’ve just never been a big fan of milk.

  • Tinose

    Putting the fruit and nuts together as a sort of fruit-nut cereal is an absolutely brilliant idea. I would probably add a few hardboiled eggs in, because I don’t feel that breakfast is complete until I’ve gotten some protein in me, but I really love the whole concept.

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