TIPS TO LIVE BY

Eating Pretty: Foods for Radiant Skin

Sep. 18, 2019

When it comes to a glowing complexion, nourishing your skin from the inside-out is just as important as what you put on your skin. Eating the right foods can help:

  • Protect your skin from oxidative stress that contributes to the aging process
  • Clear up acne
  • Brighten a dull complexion

 

Kari Kooi, a clinical dietitian specialist at Houston Methodist, shares foods you can eat to attain radiant skin.

Watermelon

How it benefits the skin: As the name implies, this juicy, super-sweet fruit is more than 90% water and keeps skin smooth and firm by hydrating cells so they’re plump and full. Watermelon is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that gives watermelon its pink hue and provides protection against damaging ultraviolet rays.

Add it to: a salad. Enjoy a watermelon salad that’s bursting with flavor by simply cutting the watermelon into cubes and combining with spicy arugula, thinly sliced red onion, red-wine vinegar, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese. 

Pepitas

How it benefits the skin: Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds that are loaded with zinc, a mineral that’s involved in many biochemical processes throughout the body, including skin-cell renewal.

Add it to: breakfast or snacks. A great addition to a homemade trail mix or sprinkled into oatmeal or yogurt, these green seeds have a delicate crunch and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. To deepen the flavor of pepitas, toast over medium heat until golden brown in a small skillet, stirring frequently. 

Pineapple

How it benefits the skin: This sweet, juicy tropical fruit is chock-full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays a strong role in the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is essential for keeping skin firm and elastic.

Add it to: a fruit salad. Make a dazzling salad that’s brimming with vitamin C by mixing pineapple with other tropical fruits like kiwi, mango and papaya.

Carrots

If you want a summer tan, crunching on carrots can give you a sun-kissed look without spray tans or damaging sun exposure. The carotenoid antioxidants in carrots, including beta-carotene, give carrots their deep orange coloring and provide a subtle natural tan by depositing the pigments in the skin. Beta-carotene keeps skin youthful by targeting and repairing skin damage, as well as protecting skin from the ravages of excess sun exposure.

Add it to: your snack bag or a salad. Snack on baby carrots dipped in protein-rich hummus or almond butter. Shredded raw carrots add a sweet flavor and bright pop of color to salads.

Great recipes that incorporate these ingredients

Almond Butter Log

Pair carrot sticks with this creamy dip.

Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2-3 cups raw almonds
  • Cinnamon
  • Almond milk

 

Instructions:

  1. Blend raw almonds in a blender or food processor.
  2. Stop and stir the nuts every 5 minutes. During the process, the almonds will have the appearance of crumbs but be patient; this can take up to 30 minutes.
  3. Continue blending until the consistency is even and like soft butter.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Peel one ripe banana and cut down the center as if you were making a banana split.
  6. Place the banana on a baking sheet line with aluminum foil, and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of the homemade almond butter.
  7. Gently press the sides together and wrap with foil.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  10. Let the banana log cool on baking sheet before eating.

Pineapple Chicken Spread

Chicken spread works great on crackers or in sandwiches.

Time: 55 minutes                                                      

Ingredients:

  • 3 grilled chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups pineapple, diced
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ cup cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup guacamole dip
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

 

Instructions:

  1. Halve the large pineapple lengthwise, then hollow out one half.
  2. Reserve 1 ½ cup of the fruit for the chicken spread and save the remainder for future use.
  3. Lightly season chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper to taste and saute in 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium.
  4. Once both sides are evenly cooked and tender, remove from heat and let rest for up to 5 minutes.
  5. While the chicken breasts are cooling down, use this time to wash and cut the vegetables. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix gently.
  6. Juice the lime and add the remaining sea salt if necessary.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. This will give all of your ingredients time to set, intensifying the flavor.
  8. Fill the hollowed pineapple with the chicken spread mixture and serve with crackers for party guests, or serve in a whole wheat pita pocket for a handy, on-the-go lunch.

Spicy Arugula Watermelon Salad

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ giant chilled watermelon, cubed or thinly sliced
  • 1 peeled cucumber, diced
  • 1 red tomato, diced
  • 1 yellow tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives, thinly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the fruit and vegetables, then combine with spicy arugula.
  2. In a small dish, whisk together red wine vinegar and olive oil, drizzle dressing over salad and garnish with herbs and goat cheese.