The importance of the skin-gut connection is exactly why Barbara Close, the founder and CEO of holistic beauty brand Naturopathica, created an entire book dedicated to holistic health. "Nutrition plays a pivotal role in supporting skin health from the inside out," says Close. But despite knowing that a skin-happy diet consists of anti-inflammatory, bloat-reducing foods that fend off dryness and fight cellular damage, TBH I couldn't rattle off what should be on the menu for truly glowing skin.
Bless up for the fact that Close has done the research for me. Her new book coming this fall called The Naturopathica Effect: A Holistic Approach to Skin Health goes deep on the topic, and so when I called her up to talk about the connection between food and skin, she already had a handful of glow-inducing recipes from her soon-to-be-published title at the ready.
According to Close, we should reach for salmon, which is packed with healthy fats and protein as well as anti-inflammatory properties to help fight signs of aging in the skin. Besides that she advises alkalizing components (lemon water!), collagen boosters (bone broth!), and leafy greens (drop 'em in your smoothie!) to keep your skin happy 365 days a year.
Keep scrolling for the complexion-boosting menu to should eat now.
Morning: Lemon water and a green smoothie
According to Close, sipping on an old-fashioned lemon water will alkalize your system and help to keep your gut regulated throughout the day. Couple that with a seriously divine green juice that's packed with antioxidants and you'll help to curb internal inflammation.
Tropical Green Smoothie
1 cup fresh or frozen chopped mango
2 handfuls of dark leafy greens such as swiss chard, kale or spinach, stems removed
1/2 cucumber, sliced
Juice of 1 lime
One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 or 2 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup almond milk or unsweetened coconut water
1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1/4 cup ice cubes, if needed
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes if more liquid is needed.
2. Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.
Lunch: Broiled salmon with orange-miso glaze
Salmon doesn't only provide protein and healthy fats, but it also contains an amino acid that promotes sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Close recommends eating your largest meal in the middle of the day to allow it to digest and give you the energy you need to finish out strong. So this afternoon, we feast.
One 3-inch piece ginger
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp miso
Two 8-oz wild salmon fillets, skinned
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Peel and grate the ginger over a small bowl, squeezing the pulp with your hands to extract all the juice. Discard the pulp.
3. Add the orange juice, mirin and miso to the bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
4. Brush the top of salmon with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and place in a baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Place under the broiler for 2 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the fish, and continue to broil until the fish just begins to brown, about 2 minutes longer.
6. Remove from the oven, brush the glaze on the fish and return to the broiler for 1 minute more.
7. Serve immediately.
Snack: Vitality bites
These almond-butter, honey, coconut, cayenne bites are packed with antioxidants as well as adaptogens and healing herbs. Whether you're looking for a delish snack or an herbal supplement, they're a nice way to satisfy mid-afternoon hunger and give your skin a boost at the same time.
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup wildflower honey
3 Tbsp reishi powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp matcha powder
About 4 Tbsp carob powder
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut
1. Combine the almond butter and honey in a large bowl.
2. Add the reishi, turmeric, cayenne, and matcha 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until evenly mixed. Sprinkle in the carob powder 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture reaches a firm consistency.
3. Mold the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter by rolling pieces between your palms.
4. Once formed, roll in the shredded coconut shreds to cover and place in a storage container lined with parchment paper.
5. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Dinner: Antioxidant-rich meal + beauty bone broth
In addition to finishing out your day with an antioxidant-rich meal to help temper internal free-radical damage, consider adding a beauty bone broth to your menu. It's been around forever and for good reason: It's a collagen-rich bev that supports healthy skin, nails, and hair—giving glowing skin straight from your cup.
Beauty Bone Broth
One 2-3 pound whole organic chicken
1 large onion, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, scrubbed but unpeeled, cut into thirds
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
Several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
1 bay leaf
One 8-inch strip of kombu
6 black peppercorns
4 quarts cold filtered water, plus more if needed
2 strips of astragulus root (optional)
1 bunch fresh parsley and/or 1 bunch fresh dill
1. Cut the chicken into serving pieces: breasts, thighs, legs, and wings. Also keep the back bones and neck. If you can purchase chicken feet, use these as well, since they are naturally rich in collagen.
2. In a large stockpot, combine all of the chicken pieces, the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, kombu, and peppercorns. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil, using a large spoon to remove any scum or fat that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 2 hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the pot, and separate the meat from the bones. Set aside the meat for another dish. Place the bones back in the pot, add the astragulus root, and continue to simmer. Continue to simmer until the stock is nicely flavorful, about 6 hours longer, or up to 24 hours at a very gentle simmer. Add more water if too much liquid seems to be cooking away. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.
4. A few hours before finishing the stock, add the parsley and/or dill for added flavors. Season with salt to taste. When done, remove the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon, and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Let cool to room temperature and make sure to refrigerate within 4 hours. The next day, spoon off and discard any fat that has risen to the surface.
5. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze in single-batch containers (ice-cube trays make nice portions for sauces, etc.) for up to 3 months.
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