Foods for Beauty

Beauty foods that allow you to take a holistic approach to your health, paired with recipes from the blogosphere. 

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Cacao Nibs

The Benefit: "These chocolate-rich, low calorie bites are chocolate in its purest form," said Michelle Davenport, M.A., Ph.D. candidate in Nutrition and Researcher at New York University. "Cacao nibs are packed with antioxidants called flavanoids that can fight skin aging."


The Recipe: Raw Cacao Goji Energy Bars by Susan Powers at Raw Mazing

Photo Credit: Susan Powers


The Benefit: "Carrots have beta-carotene, a plant version of Vitamin A, that absorbs skin-damaging UV light from the sun and gives skin a beautiful, healthy glow," said Michelle Davenport, M.A., Ph.D. candidate in Nutrition and Researcher at New York University.


The Recipe: Thai Cucumber Salad by Jayne Maynard at This Week for Dinner

Photo Credit: Jayne Maynard

Coconut Water

The Benefit: "To achieve plump, dewy skin that is well-hydrated on the outside, it's important to stay hydrated on the inside," said Michelle Davenport, M.A., Ph.D. candidate in Nutrition and Researcher at New York University. "Coconut water is a great low-calorie drink, containing natural electrolytes (and more potassium than a banana) that achieve rapid rehydration."


The Recipe: Rejuvenating Coconut Water Smoothie by Tori Avey of The Shiksa in the Kitchen.

Photo Credit: Tori Avey


The Benefit: "Mushrooms contain vitamin D. Not only does this vitamin help to reduce inflammation, but vitamin D is also important for bone health," said plastic surgeon Dr. Shirley Madhere. "The components of beauty include bone structure. Without adequate bony support, tissues or the skin may not 'drape' well and thus, attractive features may be lost."


The Recipe: Spicy Squid Salad by Greg Henry of SippitySup

Photo Credit: Greg Henry


The Benefit: "Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an carotenoid antioxidant that gives the fruit its red color," said Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Dermatology Department at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that prevents oxygen free radical damage to your skin from ultraviolet exposure."

The Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta by Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner and A Love Story


Photo Credit: Jenny Rosenstrach


The Benefit: "Blueberries, along with red grapes, contain resveratrol, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory," said Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Dermatology Department at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. "They can help protect the skin against sun damage and may play a role in helping to extend the life of skin cells."

The Recipe: Tri-Fruit Salad with Orange-Lime Agave Dressing by Jennifer Leal at Savor The Thyme

Photo Credit: Jennifer Leal


The Benefit: "Almonds contain healthy, monounsaturated fats needed to maintain the integrity of skin cells. They are rich in zinc, which may help fight off acne," said Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Dermatology Department at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Finally, they are a source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that can prevent sun damage to the skin."

The Recipe: Ginger Chicken with Almonds by Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes.

Photo Credit: Elise Bauer


The Benefit: "Salmon, as well as flaxseeds, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids," said Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Dermatology Department at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. "These 'good fats' are important in forming and maintaining healthy skin cells. Elastic cell membranes help cells retain water and keep the skin hydrated."

The Recipe: Sesame Seared Salmon by Kate Selner of Kate in the Kitchen

Photo Credit: Kate Selner

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Benefit: "EVOO contains polyphenol antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals commonly found in our environment," said nutritionist Stella Metsovas, B.S., CCN. "I recommend using fresh olive oil as a night-serum, mixing with sea salt for the perfect body scrub, and finally, using a couple tablespoons as a hair moisturizer (leave on for at least 20 minutes)."


The Recipe: Walnut Pesto by Deb Perelman of The Smitten Kitchen

Photo Credit: Deb Perelman


The Benefit: "Papayas are chock full of antioxidants and help combat aging and wrinkles," said Beth Aldrich, Certified Health and Nutrition Counselor, and author of the new book, Real Moms Love to Eat, How to Conduct a Love affair with Food, Lose Weight, and Feel Fabulous (Penguin Books, Jan. 3, 2012). 


The Recipe: Coconut Panna Cotta with Papaya Gelee by Liren Baker of Kitchen Confidante

Photo Credit: Liren Baker

Red Raspberries

The Benefit: “Raspberries are ultra-rich in antioxidant properties and help repair and rejuvenate the skin," said Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, of Crutchfield Dermatology in Eagan, MN.


The Recipe: Raspberry, White Chocolate and Blueberry Tart by Zoë Francois of Zoë Bakes.

Photo Credit: Zoë Francois

Kale or Swiss Chard

The Benefit: "They contain powerful antioxidants known for their protective and detoxifying support," said nutritionist Stella Metsovas, B.S., CCN. "For example, kale has almost 90% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C—one of the most important antioxidants for anti-aging."


The Recipe: Baked Swiss Chard Stems with Olive Oil and Parmesan by Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen

Photo Credit: Kalyn Denny


The Benefit: "Using seaweed in your beauty care is a win-win—both internally and externally," said nutritionist Stella Metsovas, B.S., CCN. "Powerful antioxidants, enzymes, minerals and amino acids, help to synergistically promote skin elasticity and tissue rejuvenation."


The Recipe: Sushi Cut & Handrolls by Catherine McCord of Weelicious

Photo Credit: Catherine McCord

Yogurt and Kefir

The Benefit: "Skin friendly bacteria called probiotics work deep down to condition your skin from the inside out," said nutritionist Nicolette Pace. "Including them in your diet improves skin health and gives you an edge over common beauty busters like redness and dryness leading you to a healthy glow."


The Recipe: Blueberry Mango Smoothie by Maria Lichty of Two Peas & Their Pod


Photo Credit: Maria Lichty

Red and Pink Grapefruits

The Benefit: "A sun-kissed gift from nature that is a beauty powerhouse chock full of nutrients that include vitamin C and lycopene to help build collagen and protect against UV sun damage," said nutritionist Nicolette Pace. "This fights off wrinkles and aging and will help you keep a youthful appearance with soft, supple skin."


The Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Shallot-Grapefruit Sauce and Lemon Broccolini by Ellie Krieger




Photo Credit: Con Poulos


The Benefit: "This therapeutic plant helps to purify organs that improve fluid balance and help reduce puffiness, especially around the eye," said nutritionist Nicolette Pace. "Antioxidant nutrients and plant chemicals that include vitamin E and polyphenols fight off toxins and help promote a healthy hair growth cycle."


The Recipe: Spring Asparagus Soup by Kelsey Banfield of The Naptime Chef


Photo Credit: Kelsey Banfield

Tofu and Soy

The Benefit: "They have unique vegetable proteins that contain all of the necessary building blocks for collagen production for a new face lift," said nutritionist Nicolette Pace. "With a healthy fat profile and plant chemicals called isoflavones, these veggies may help improve your skin tone and texture."


The Recipe: Tofu and Green Bean Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce by Lydia Walshin of The Perfect Pantry

Photo Credit: Lydia Walshin


The Benefit: "Cucumber skin contains high amounts of silica," said plastic surgeon Dr. Shirley Madhere. "Silica helps to give hair shine and to maintain a healthy complexion."


The Recipe: Crab Meat Cucumber Rounds by Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Photo Credit: Lori Lange

Sweet Potatoes

The Benefit: "The plentiful vitamin E found in sweet potatoes helps protect skin cells since this vitamin is a well-known anti-oxidant that reduces inflammation," said plastic surgeon Dr. Shirley Madhere. "Excess inflammation is thought to play a significant role in premature aging."


The Recipe: Pork Roast with Pumpkin Pie Spiced Sweet Potatoes by Erin Chase of $5 Dinners.

Photo Credit: Erin Chase

Pumpkin Seeds

The Benefit: "Pumpkin seeds may also be a part of a healthy, holistic age management regimen," said plastic surgeon Dr. Shirley Madhere. "These contain omega three fatty acids which stimulate collagen production to keep skin firm."


The Recipe: Apple Cranberry Granola Bars by Tara O'Brady of Seven Spoons




Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking.


Related: Best Loved Family Christmas Recipes


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Photo Credit: Tara O'Brady

First Published December 29, 2011

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