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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:
1 Tbsp Walnuts
1 Tbsp Sliced Almonds
1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
1 Tbsp Wheat Bran
1/3 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Strawberries
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 Dietetics; Journal 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!
Fiber Full: Stay Satiated with Ground Flax Seeds and 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
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 University; Plant 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.
Avoiding Acne-Inflammers with 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).
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!