Dealing with skin issues is not fun or easy, especially when it’s not always evident as to what the cause is. Hormones, inflammation, and food allergies are some of the main reasons that skin problems such as acne occur. Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates are also a leading cause, because they promote both inflammation and an increase in hormones like insulin and cortisol.
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and reducing your stress are key to optimal beauty. One of the best ways to improve your blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and lower your stress hormones is to cut out the refined foods and eat a nutritious diet.
When looking to prevent and help remedy acne, wrinkles, and dry skin, you want to focus on healthy sources of protein, fats, and fiber. This combination of nutrients helps prevent and soothe inflammation, restore hormone levels, lower blood sugar, fight aging, and promote healthy collagen in the skin. Healthy fats also directly help lower inflammation, and also combat sugar cravings.
While many foods contain the nutrients mentioned, the following five seeds are some of the most beneficial in all three nutritional areas. These seeds are allergen-free, and all promote healthy blood sugar levels and clear skin. They may also help to decrease cravings and support a healthy digestive system, to keep toxins moving out of the body in the most efficient way. When toxins build up in your body, it may become apparent on your skin.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fats, magnesium, chlorophyll, zinc, and iron, along with protein and B vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids promote a lean body mass, help decrease cravings for sugary foods, reduce inflammation, improve blood flow to the skin, and help fight acne. The iron in pumpkin seeds also improves blood flow and metabolism, and promotes the healthy mood necessary for lowering stress.
It’s best to consume pumpkin seeds raw and unsalted. Those roasted in refined oils are inflammatory, and too much salt can dry out the skin.
You’re probably already aware of how chia contains healthy fats and fiber, but did you know that chia seeds can also help boost your skin health? They’re very high in iron, B vitamins, potassium, and zinc. This nutritional combination helps to clear the skin, prevent and minimize wrinkles, improve firmness and youthfulness, and can even help your nails grow, too!
Consume one tablespoon of raw chia seeds a day to get the most benefits.
Like chia, flax is rich in omega-3 fats, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. It’s a great food to improve your brain health, especially since it is rich in phytoestrogens, which may help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Flax boosts growth hormone in the body, needed to fight aging and improve skin naturally. Its lignans (fibers) are fantastic for digestive health and very gentle on the system. Flax and chia are also both very high in vitamin E, necessary to promote a youthful glow and fight acne naturally.
Consume one tablespoon of ground flax twice a day. Although you can use whole seeds for fiber, the nutrients in flax are not absorbed when you consume them whole (unlike chia and other seeds).
Sesame seeds and raw tahini (sesame seed paste) are so great for your skin! They are rich in silica, a mineral that promotes a youthful glow, as well as iron, copper, and zinc, which encourage even skin tone and provide anti-aging benefits. Sesame seeds also contain essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation, along with B vitamins that help lower stress hormones.
Consume some raw sesame seeds (either white or black) on salads or in soup, or feel free to use tahini in all your raw salad dressings or other treats!
Last, but certainly not least, are hemp seeds! Hemp seeds are packed with omega-3 fats, and a certain type of omega-6 fat that is beneficial to the body (unlike many omega-6 fats, which can be inflammatory). The omega-6 fat found in hemp seeds is known as GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), and promotes a youthful glow, fights stress hormones, and promotes lean body mass, too. Hemp seeds are also rich in iron, chlorophyll, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
Use two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds a day to reap the most benefits. Hemp seeds taste nutty, slightly earthy, and are actually a complete source of protein!
Along with these healthy fats, don’t forget to eat plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables and orange colored veggies (pumpkin, sweet potato, squash, etc.), which are high in beta-carotene, a nutrient that promotes clear skin. It’s also a good idea to drink as much water as possible, and to decrease all intake of sugar and gluten for the best results.
What are some ways you like to use these healthy seeds for skin health?
Heather McClees is a professional health journalist and Certified Holistic Nutritionist from South Carolina.She received her B.S. Degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics, and is most passionate about helping others discover the gift of of holistic health, showing others how to create healthy recipes based on their favorite foods, physical fitness and yoga, and creative writing.