Ever since I travelled to Dubai, I’ve become quite infatuated with Kale. Literally, every night I make dinner, I will accompany my Quorn fillet with a nice crouton, avocado and pumpkin seed-layered Kale Caesar salad, or use a nice miso dressing with a load of mushrooms for an Asian twist. Suffice to say, whatever I choose to eat for an eve, Kale is always on the menu. And I must say, as much as I enjoy the new spin on my dinners, I also noticed something else pretty cool too…
Ever-curious, I like to discover what good the food I eat does for me. Same goes for drinks, too. If I can find the fountain of youth without spending a fortune on crazy surgery then I’m definitely going to embrace it! After all, who doesn’t want to stay looking 21 for as long as possible? However, being a vegetarian made me wonder if that was going to be a difficult one to achieve. Because not having meat or much dairy in my diet would surely have disastrous consequences for my skin, right?
Thanks to a very generous tub of vegan protein powder and a long-standing love of soy products, those two fears have been somewhat eradicated. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of other anti-ageing foods out there that compliment the concoction. And you’ll never guess what. Kale is one of the best ones…
- SPINACH AND KALE: Sitting rightfully at numero uno, I feel it’s only right to gush about this super duo first. Both chlorophyll rich (hence their dark colouring) spinach and kale are dense in enzymes, vitamins (notably A, C and also the rare vitamin K) minerals, and phytonutrients that will leave your skin beautifully radiant. This combination has been known to even reduce the appearance of dark circles! Bright, clear and revitalised skin is just a leafy bowl away!
- NUTS: Walnuts are a holy grail. Almonds, too. I wouldn’t be without either of these two Vitamin E-rich nuts in my life. Every meal should have some form of nuts in it. Sprinkle them in your granola, add them to salads for a crunchy topping, or even stir them through a pad thai! Nuts are full to the brim with omega 3, an essential fatty acid that not only keeps skin moisturised and strong, but it even protects against harmful UV rays! Thus, they actually have an anti-ageing barrier within their very core!
- BLUEBERRIES: Collagen is what we need to keep our skin looking young, firm and bouncy. Without it, we’d end up looking like a used teabag. Thankfully though, blueberries are loaded with vitamin C, which actually helps the body create this skin-strengthening protein. Berries are antioxidant powerhouses that can even prevent collagen loss, keeping you looking younger for longer. Do not overlook the mightiness of the berry!
- FLAXSEED AND CHIA: Wholefoods down to a tee. These seeds truly are mighty! Each tiny seed is filled with a plethora of vitamins, minerals (like skin-clearing magnesium and zinc), omegas and protein which all promote supple, radiant, firm and healthy skin. Sprinkle 30g in soup, on your cereal or even add it as an ingredient whilst baking for a superfood dose of skin love.
- SWEET POTATO: Amusingly, this beta-carotene rich carb is not even a potato. It’s actually a root vegetable from the “morning glory” family! Truth! Anyway, laughing aside, on a more serious note, the sweet tattie is more well-known for its orange glow. This colour is caused by the beta-carotene content which, when eaten, converts to vitamin A and is then used by the body to help restore skin elasticity and ultimately contribute to soft and youthful-looking skin. It also makes a nice addition to an Indian dahl, too!
- AVOCADO: It goes without saying that the vitamin and omega-rich avocado is amazing for your skin, but just how amazing? Well, its high Vitamin A content (retinol) increases cell turnover which keeps your skin clear and glowing, its carotenoid content helps protect against damage from the sun and, as a combo, can literally prevent the negative effects of ageing. Mix them with a Kale Caesar salad and enjoy eating your way to a younger-looking you!
- POMEGRANATE SEEDS: These shiny rubies are little miracles. Not only are they potent in antioxidants to help protect skin against free-radical nasties, but they also contain a compound called punicalagins, which actually helps preserve the level of collagen in the skin. Thus, preventing you from ageing!! Pass me a bowl, eh?
- BROCCOLI: Delicious in a stir fry and full of skin-loving nutrients, this little tree is totally amazing. Cook it for the maximum release of vitamins and anti-inflammatory goodness.
- MUSHROOMS: Vitamin D-rich, delicious and crazy adaptable, there’s no way you can’t have much room for a mushroom in your diet (geddit?) Cook them with sesame oil for the perfect Asian meal that not only delivers on taste but also takes away toxins from the skin, leaving you satisfied inside and out!
- OLIVE OIL AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR COMBO: When I was in Italy this was my newest discovery, and now that I’ve found it, I’ll never look back. Antioxidant-rich olive oil comprises vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols, which provides anti-ageing benefits because it helps restore skin smoothness and protects against ultraviolet light. Balsamic vinegar contains antimicrobial compounds, acetic acid, and antioxidants, which promote a clear complexion. Together, these components are more than just a scrummy salad dressing. They’re the recipe for perfect skin.
So, what have we learned? Well, that looking good and feeling good really do go hand-in-hand, and also that when you’re 27 still getting ID’d for a horror film, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you stayed devoted to such a good diet. Trust me, I should know!