Who doesn’t want a clearer complexion?  With the right power-packed foods, it turns out you may be only a few bites away from your dream skin and that natural glow.

Photography by Tina Sargeant // Hair and Makeup by Yolanda Floyd // Models: Caitlin DeCosmo, Deion Galindo – BMG Models

   If there has ever been a more prized pursuit in the realm of beauty, it’s the desire for flawless skin. A smooth complexion that serves as a clear canvas is an ideal condition for all.

   Of course, with all the many beautiful ways our skin serves us, such as blocking out toxins from the environment, a modern-day diet can easily interfere with the skin’s proper functions. This can result in a host of issues, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis, as well as common acne, age spots, and wrinkles.

   When it comes to our various skin woes, we typically treat them at the surface. Topical treatments, creams, and serums seem to be the obvious answer for every known imperfection. Promises to completely transform and brighten our complexion for youthful, supple skin are often tied to high-end luxury products and skin-care systems. But, truth be told, like many health concerns, the root of the issue often runs deeper than what’s at face value.

   Regardless of how it may seem, the role of skin extends far beyond giving us pretty faces. Our skin serves as a sense organ. These sense organs (including also the eyes, ears, tongue, and nose) serve to protect the body. The skin is one of the largest organs in the body, essentially working like an elastic cover to fight off harmful bacteria while protecting the underlying structure of the body: its blood vessels, nerves, and organs.

   So, what we feed our skin ultimately affects the functions of many things that are going on inside, which eventually reflect on the skin itself. The issues revealed on our skin simply mirror what we put inside. While the foods we eat highly impact the proper function of organs and intestines, the right nutrient-dense foods and antioxidants not only help maintain a fresh and bright complexion, but have the ability to heal, regenerate skin growth, and offer that clear, enviable glow.

blue·ber·ry: scientific name / cyanococcus

Blueberries are essential for any skin-nutrient regime. Full of flavonoids that act as antioxidants to keep skin looking radiant and youthful, these berries are rich in vitamin C, and boost collagen and skin elasticity. Their anti-inflammatory properties strengthen damaged blood vessels, improve broken capillaries, and ease skin conditions such as rosacea. Known to support connective tissue, blueberries help skin look firm and taut.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

Dietary fiber

Vitamin C

Phytochemicals: Flavonoids (anthocyanin)

sweet po·ta·to: scientific name / Ipomoea batatas

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin C which is known to produce collagen, thus helping to maintain elasticity of the skin. These sweet spuds are chock full of beta-carotene (vitamin A), an essential antioxidant known to prevent different types of cancer. They also contain the anti-stress minerals magnesium and potassium, as well as vitamin E, important for flawless complexions.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

Dietary fiber

Minerals: copper, potassium,  magnesium

Phytochemicals: Carotenoids (alpha – and  beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin)

Vitamins: A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), C, D, E

rad·ish: scientific name / Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus

High in vitamin C, radishes restore radiance. Building collagen, these red veggies are great for acne or eczema, and for restoration, balance, and a clearer complexion. Reestablishing equilibrium in the body, radishes improve the metabolic rate, giving you more energy. Their high water content rehydrate the system from within and revitalizes the skin.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

Dietary fiber

Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc

Phytochemicals: Carotenoids (alpha – and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin)

Vitamins: A, B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate), C, E, K

manuka hon·ey: produced in New Zealand

Compared to regular honey, manuka honey offers up to four times the skin-feeding nutrients. Produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush, manuka honey has healing power due to its natural antibacterial properties. While addressing bad bacteria in the gut, it helps skin stay clear and can even be used as a topical treatment for acne. A potent anti-inflammatory, manuka honey soothes inflamed skin and calms chronic skin infections. It also helps balance the skin’s pH to remove dead skin cells and allows pores to remain clear and free of inflammation.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

amino acids

Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc

Vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine)

wal·nut: scientific name / Juglans

An exceptional anti-inflammatory source, walnuts are considered the acne fighter. As one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for supple and plump skin, walnuts target infection in the sebaceous glands of the skin. They are an excellent source of selenium, helping to protect the skin from UV exposure and treating existing skin damage, and acting as an internal sun protectant. Walnuts also encourage good blood flow by oxygenating the blood.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

Dietary fiber

Fatty acids: omega-3

Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganesephosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc

Protein: amino acid (arginine)

Phytochemicals: flavonoids, polyphenols

Vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate), E, K

av·o·ca·do: scientific name / persea americana

The much beloved avocado is technically a fruit. More specifically, it’s a large berry with a single seed. Avocados are full of mono-unsaturated fatty acids which keep the skin moist. They are antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory, thus offering protection against UV damage and cell damage of the skin, including free radicals. Avocados work as an internal moisturizer and encourage skin elasticity.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

Dietary fiber

fatty acids: monounsaturated, (oleic acid) omega-3

Minerals: copper, magnesium, potassium

Phytochemicals: carotenoids (alpha- and beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin)

Vitamins: B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), C, E, K

dark choc·o·late: aztec word / xocoatl

Eating eighty-five-percent unsweetened dark chocolate is a powerful anti-aging treatment for the skin. Full of antioxidants and rich in nutrients, dark chocolate protects skin from damaging UV rays while it firms and repairs the complexion. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it is excellent for rosacea and eczema. Dark chocolate reduces cortisol and stress hormones, and releases dopamine for those “feel-good” neurotransmitters.

Skin-feeding Nutrients |

Dietary fiber

Fatty acids: monounsaturated (oleic acid)

Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, zinc

Phytochemicals: flavonoids, polyphenols

Vitamins: A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid)