If acne or a recent breakout has you all in a tizzy, just turn to a few pantry ingredients for clear skin instead of opting for those pricey creams and gels that just leave your skin dry, and usually don’t work that well anyway. One of my favorite things about holistic health is how everyday foods are seen as medicinal, starting with how they influence your skin, along with your weight, mood and hormones. Our skin’s health starts with what we put on our forks, and whether you intend to or not, you either feed yourself clear skin or poor skin. The best part is, most inexpensive pantry ingredients for clear skin are found in most people’s homes. The key is to use these great ingredients in place of skin-disrupting foods like white flour, white sugar, excess sodium, processed foods and fats from refined oils or vegetable oils. Those foods all trigger breakouts, while certain foods in your pantry can actually heal and prevent blemishes from starting. As a bonus, they also help to keep wrinkles at bay, and are great for your mood, hormones and your weight. Eat up!
Turmeric’s bright glowing orange color should tell you it is one of the best pantry ingredients for clear skin of all. Most natural, whole foods that are vibrant in color like this special spice are visual evidence of the high antioxidant content. Turmeric is abundant in antioxidants that repair skin cells and detox the liver from harmful toxins that influence poor skin to begin with. Turmeric also increases blood flow to give you a healthy glow, and reduces inflammation to fight acne and wrinkles. You’ll find turmeric in most curry powders, but you can simply use plain turmeric anywhere you like. I enjoy it over fish, salads, roasted veggies, in hot tea, and in my homemade salad dressing ingredients.
Cayenne is another fabulous spice in your pantry that can clear your skin. Cayenne is known as one of the most powerful detox spices of all, and with good reason. For starters, it clears toxins from the liver and bloodstream, so they won’t build up and give you poor skin. Anytime something isn’t going right in the body, your skin will let you know through breakouts, which are a sign bacteria is building up inside the skin cells and isn’t being released through the elimination organs like it should. Cayenne helps cleanse the blood, kidneys, intestines, and has a wide range of antioxidants. Some people say it even aids in weight loss as well, but don’t just use it for that. I love cayenne because it reduces joint pain and inflammation, and brights up my skin by boosting blood flow.
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that provide a huge array of health benefits, starting with how they affect your skin’s vibrancy. I noticed that when I first started using cocoa, my skin immediately seemed to start glowing. It seemed to be brighter in appearance and just looked more radiant. Cocoa is one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world. Use about 2-4 tbsp. a day in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, coffee or even make some healthy hot chocolate! Cocoa also reduces stress, which is a double benefit to your skin. When stress is reduced, the body doesn’t send out excess cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to breakouts to begin with. Cocoa also reduces blood pressure, and reduces depression as well, which is no surprise seeing how it is chocolate, after all.
You may question how stevia actually helps your skin, but it’s pretty simple. Using stevia in place of high glycemic sugars is one of the quickest ways to give your skin a healthy boost. Any refined sugars or natural sugars high on the glycemic index are known to be a top source of breakouts. When insulin spikes after eating high glycemic foods, even if those foods are natural sugars, inflammation occurs to some degree. Insulin is a hormone, and all hormones affect your skin, to some degree or another. By reducing the dramatic rise and fall of insulin, you can reduce your skin’s need to compensate the damage. Keeping your insulin level stable by reducing the glycemic load in your diet is one of the very best things you can do to enhance your skin’s health, along with keeping your waistline in check too. Choose stevia, which has zero calories, is not artificial, and is much sweeter than sugar, so you need less. It has zero effect on your glycemic index as well, unlike any other natural sweetener out there.
Parsley is a cheap spice you can get anywhere that will boost your skin health in no time. It isn’t a cure all by itself, so you’ll need to cut out unhealthy skin foods from your diet, like the ones mentioned above. Parsley, however, is full of a special ingredient that makes it a top clear skin food. Chlorophyll is abundant in parsley, and is the high green pigment ingredient found in all green plant foods. Chlorophyll is the most alkaline source of nutrients on the planet, which means it cures any health ailment associated with inflammation and acidity, such as acne. Parsley, cilantro, and all leafy greens are the best sources of chlorophyll you’ll find, and some of the easiest to use. Sprinkle parsley over salads, into sauces, onto entrees, or anywhere else you like. I also recommend buying it fresh, along with keeping a bottle of dried parsley in your pantry for backup at all times.
If you love your morning bowl of oats, that’s great, because oats are a wonderful clear skin food to eat. They are rich in B vitamins, which help repair skin cells and keep them healthy, and oats are also rich in calming nutrients that keep stress levels low, so they prevent excess cortisol in the body. Oats' most calming nutrients are magnesium, folate, and tryptophan. They also contain good sources of fiber to steady your blood pressure and reduce insulin spikes. Oats will keep you full for hours! Since oats are rich in soluble fiber, they help eliminate wastes from the digestive tract efficiently, which is important for overall health, and especially your skin.
Almonds are a rich source of many skin nutrients, starting with cell repairing Vitamin E, moisture-enhancing monounsaturated fats, calming magnesium, blood-flow boosting B vitamins, and collagen-rich protein. Almonds are also a great source of fiber and have a slightly sweet taste, so they’re great to nosh on instead of sweets, while they also lower your blood sugar, cortisol levels and blood pressure. Since they have a decent amount of protein, they’re also fabulous for holding you over long between meals. The collagen in the skin depends on healthy, anti-inflammatory proteins to keep it soft, supple and firm, which makes almonds a great go-to source. Be sure to eat raw and not roasted almonds, and opt for unsalted to prevent bloat and skin dehydration caused from excess sodium.
8. Green Tea
Who doesn’t love green tea by now? Even if you don’t love it, chances are you’ve tried it just because you’ve heard how healthy it is for you. Truly, the hype is worth listening to. I drink green tea for my skin every single day and like to enhance the taste with lemon and stevia. Green tea is so rich in antioxidants that are wonderful for your skin. Green tea improves blood flow to the skin, reduces inflammation that leads to acne, repairs and prevents wrinkles, lowers stress and sugar cravings, and prevents rapid insulin spikes. If you’re concerned about the caffeine, just opt for decaf! It may not be quite as high in antioxidants, but is still a great source of beneficial ones overall.
Lastly, let’s go Greek, shall we? Oregano contains more antioxidants per tablespoon than one cup of blueberries! It is one powerful spice rich in natural compounds that fight inflammation. It also enhances blood flow, reduces stress, and helps eliminate toxins from the blood and digestive tract. Oregano has been proven to boost your mood as well, and the savory taste will curb a sweet tooth fast! Just using a tablespoon a day anywhere you like is a great way to get the skin benefits of this savory, delicious spice. Just don’t turn to a greasy piece of pizza or fatty plate of lasagna and think you’re doing yourself a favor. Instead, sprinkle some oregano over a nice green salad with some fish or chicken, stir some in your next batch of sauteed veggies, or sprinkle it over your veggies before roasting them this fall. Any way you use oregano is great!
Eating for your skin isn’t only possible, but also really effective in only about 2 weeks. What’s your favorite skin-clearing ingredient in your pantry?