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25 Fabulous Vegan Foods to Eat for Gorgeous, Glowing Skin

Healthy Glowing Skin Starts From Within

Woman cooking healthy food in her kitchen with lemons
Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash​​

 

Your skin is your body's largest organ, and it is a reflection of your overall health.

We know wearing sun protection can help prevent skin cancer, and keeping your skin moisturized can knock out dryness. Still, many common skin conditions, including skin inflammation, pre-mature wrinkles, and acne, can be improved with a healthy diet.

The vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols found in the following list of foods are the building blocks of beautiful skin cells and can have amazing overall health benefits.

The internet is FULL of healthy skin diet tips. Some are great and well-researched, while others make you cringe, but we can all agree that we would rather eat foods that repair and promote healthy skin rather than eat those that directly damage it!

And most of the best foods are plant-based! So, you can feel comfortable adding them to your vegan diet.

Alas, bovine collagen supplements and oily fish don't need to be on the menu to get your glow on.

So, let's explore 25 of the best foods to eat for inner and outer vitality!

Boost Skin Health with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables on a table in a rainbow layout

 

"Eat more fruits and veggies" is one of the most common health tips, and for good reason.

A primarily plant based diet rich in whole foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables is excellent for skin health, but some are especially beneficial.

Dark green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables, and citrus fruits high in vitamin C are antioxidant-rich foods and staples in a healthy vegan diet. They are considered to have some of the best beauty benefits because they are high in vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that can boost your immune system, strengthen skin cell membranes, fight oxidative damage, increase skin tone, and protect skin from harmful UV damage that speeds up the premature aging process.

Nuts and Seeds for Glowing Skin

Nuts and seeds in a bowl
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash​​

 

Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy oils that promote glowing, radiant skin. Some of the best choices are walnuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds.

They’re high in antioxidants, vitamin E, and healthy fats that can give you glowing skin while providing protection from oxidative stress.

Healthy Fats for Happy Skin Cells

Olives with olive oil on sliced bread

 

Powerful plant-based omega-3, omega-6, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats have many health benefits. These good fats are loaded with Vitamin E and other vital nutrients that improve skin elasticity, decrease inflammation, improve skin hydration and elasticity, and give you a glowing complexion.

Here's our Fab 25 list of healthy foods that will make your skin GLOW:

1. Avocados

Avocado cut in half sitting on a marble counter top

 

Avocados are not only delicious but also super nutritious, and fantastic for good skin. 

A recent study showed that eating just one avocado a day improves skin elasticity, tone, and firmness.

Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids, vitamins, and phenolic compounds. All of which are essential for that gorgeous glow.

In fact, several studies have shown that the carotenoids and phenolic compounds found in avocados enhance the skin's wound healing activity and help protect the skin against UV damage.

2. Acerola Cherry

Acerola Cherry on Tree Branch with Water Droplets

 

Acerola cherry is a powerful antioxidant and a superior source of Vitamin C, carotenoids, and polyphenols. In fact, acerola cherries contain 50 to 100 times more Vitamin C than oranges, making it one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat for healthy looking skin.

They also show a higher level of antioxidant activity than many other fruits, including strawberries, grapes, and apples.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the production of collagen, and it is abundant in many vegan foods. Collagen increases the skin's elasticity and keeps it hydrated, firm, and plump.

Our collagen levels naturally decrease as we age, making the skin thinner and drier. As a result, it is important to maintain optimal collagen levels to help your skin look its best, and adding acerola cherries to your diet is a great way to do just that!

3. Olive Oil

Olive oil being poured from a glass bottle into a bowl with olives around it
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay​​

 

Extra virgin olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that is great for you - inside and out! It’s packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are uniquely beneficial for healthier skin.

A French study showed that men and women who ate a diet rich in olive oil experienced reduced oxidative stress, increased protection from cell-damaging free radicals, lower levels of inflammation, and a significantly lower risk of photoaging, which is premature aging due to exposure to the sun's UV rays, resulting in wrinkles, roughness, and skin discoloration.

4. Turmeric

Sliced turmeric with turmeric powder next to it
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay​​

 

Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is a potent antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial properties, which may greatly improve your skin's appearance and help treat acne, rosacea, photoaging, and other skin conditions.

Not only is turmeric a fabulous addition to your diet, but it can also do wonders for your skin when applied topically.

To keep your skin smooth and glowing, give it a boost of turmeric and other powerful botanical compounds with our Strength Concentrated Antioxidant Elixir

5. Bell Peppers

Yellow green and red bell peppers on a wooden cutting board

 

Bell peppers, especially the red variety, are high in the antioxidants beta carotene, luteolin, capsanthin, and quercetin, which all boost good skin health.

Eating vegan foods rich in quercetin has been shown to decrease contact dermatitis (eczema) and skin photosensitivity. Bell peppers are also rich in the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, which have been shown to have strong antioxidant properties that help to protect against light-induced skin damage.

Loaded with vitamins, bell peppers reduce inflammation and boost the production of collagen, which keeps skin looking firm and supple, and accelerate wound healing and regeneration.

Try a plant based, red pepper hummus and you'll fall in love!

6. Dark Chocolate

Chopped dark chocolate in a blue bowl with cacao beans around it

 

Whether you follow a vegan diet or not, dark chocolate is a sweet little indulgence that is also great for your skin!

The superstar ingredient in dark chocolate is a flavonoid called epicatechin. Epicatechin, specifically from cocoa, has been shown to boost blood flow and oxygen saturation in the skin, as well as increase the skin's density, thickness, and levels of hydration while reducing roughness, resulting in firmer, smoother, more supple skin.

7. Carrots

Red yellow and orange carrots on a counter top

 

Carrots are packed with beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, as it helps keep cells functioning properly, improves skin cell turnover, and protects against harmful UV rays.

Researchers from Brown University found that people with higher dietary intakes of Vitamin A from vegan foods had a 17% reduction in their skin cancer risks.

Carrots are also high in antioxidants that can help to fight oxidative damage and prevent wrinkles caused by premature aging and sun exposure.

8. Spirulina

Bowl full of spirulina and a spoon full of spirulina close up

 

Spirulina is an algae high in antioxidants, including chlorophyll, which gives it its deep green color. These antioxidants, especially C-phycocyanin, can help protect your skin from damage caused by UV radiation and oxidative stress.

Spirulina is also considered an almost complete protein due to its high levels of multiple amino acids, which makes it an important addition to a vegan diet.

The zinc in spirulina helps boost elasticity, blood flow, and wound healing. Zinc also helps decrease the severity of acne and eczema, keeping your skin healthy and vibrant.

Spirulina has also been shown to help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which can significantly affect overall skin health and radiance.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes on a dark surface

 

Oh, how we love a good sweet potato!

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins, antioxidants, carotenoids, and flavonoids that have been shown to protect against skin damage from sun exposure.

Sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin because it stimulates collagen synthesis and reduces tissue damage.

A study investigating the relationship between diet and skin health showed that women with lower potassium levels experienced premature aging and had a more "wrinkled appearance." Just a single sweet potato is bursting with potassium!

A sweet potato is an excellent addition to a plant based recipe designed to prevent premature wrinkles.

10. Lemon Juice

Whole and cut lemons being juiced into a bowl

 

Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin because it helps with collagen production and protects against UV damage.

Lemons are also high in antioxidants that can help protect the skin from "oxidative stress-induced premature skin aging" and damage from free radicals - unstable molecules that can cause cell damage, leading to disease and poor skin health.

11. Blueberries

Blueberries in a white bowl with more blueberries around it on a linen tablecloth
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash​​

 

Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, the antioxidant that gives them their blue color. These antioxidants can help protect your skin from cell damage and inflammation.

Anthocyanins have been shown to help promote healthy skin by protecting it from photoaging, and inhibit the breakdown of skin's natural collagen.

Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and vitamins C and K, which all help keep you looking healthy and vibrant by boosting collagen synthesis and speeding up your natural healing process.

So, when you want to add a little fresh fruit to your morning cereal, antioxidant rich blueberries are a wonderful choice!

12. Garlic

Garlic head and cloves with rosemary and peppercorns

 

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties.

These properties can help reduce redness, inflammation, and acne breakouts.

Garlic has also been shown to increase blood flow to the skin, and protect again UVB damage and cancer while also accelerating wound healing and skin rejuvenation.

13. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds in a wooden bowl

 

Pumpkin seeds are a tasty source of zinc and magnesium, which studies have shown are critical for healthy skin because they help repair your skin cell barrier, enhance hydration, and reduce inflammation.

They are also high in antioxidants, phytosterols, plant-based fatty acids, and Vitamins A and E - a combination of nutrients that have been shown to nourish the skin, keep it hydrated, and help prevent wrinkles caused by premature aging, stimulate collagen production, and increase wound healing.

These powerful little seeds are particularly rich in linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), two essential fatty acids (EFA) with many skin-loving benefits. EFA's have been shown to greatly boost skin barrier function, and decrease trans-dermal water loss, keeping skin hydrated, plump, and better able to defend itself against bacteria and environmental pollution.

Clearly, pumpkin seeds are a fabulous addition to a plant based diet!

14. Green Tea

Dried green tea leaves

 

Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants, including catechins, which are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer properties. Catechins activate collagen synthesis, and protect against oxidative DNA damage.

Drinking green tea can also give you clearer, healthy glowing skin that is less oily. When you produce too much sebum, your skin's natural oil, it can clog pores and stimulate the growth of bacteria, particularly Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

 An overabundance of P. acnes on the skin is considered the most frequent cause of acne and skin infections. The antioxidants in green tea have been shown to decrease sebum production, reduce the presence of P. acnes, and significantly lower the frequency and severity of acne breakouts.

Win, win, win!

​15. Plums

Fresh plums on a wooden table
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash​​

 

Plums are a sweet treat high in antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients that help keep your skin supple and firm, while encouraging healthy cell growth.

In fact, plums contain a whopping 41 different phenolic compounds!

Studies have shown that phenolic compounds in vegan foods protect skin from the damaging effects of air pollution, reducing cellular inflammation, eczema, and acne.

Try our Radiance Superfruit Serum, made with organic French plum oil, for a nourishing boost of these wonderful antioxidants!

16. Sunflower Seeds

Big beautiful sunflower in a field

 

Sunflower seeds are "a remarkable source of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins possessing antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing" properties, including niacin, selenium, zinc, copper, and magnesium and vitamin E, A, B, and C, all of which are essential for a healthy glow.

They are also very high in linoleic acid, which strengthens your skin barrier, promotes supple skin, and increases plumpness and hydration.

Studies have also shown that those with acne-prone skin tend to have lower levels of linoleic acid. So, giving yourself a natural boost of linoleic acid may be a great way to reduce breakouts and maintain glowing skin.

Our Organic Clarity Concentrated Brightening and Balancing Elixir has a potent does of Sunflower Seed Oil infused with skin-loving herbs. You'll love it!

17. Beets

Red beet with beet greens
Photo by Natalia Fogarty on Unsplash​​

 

Beets are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including betalains, which give beets their deep red color. They are a wonderful additional to a healthy diet!

A potent antioxidant rich food, beets can help protect your skin from damage due to sun exposure and skin-aging free radicals.

They’re also high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, all of which keep skin nourished, firm, and glowing.

And don't forget the beet tops! Like our friend kale below, a beet's dark leafy greens are a powerhouse on the list of the top green leafy vegetables.

18. Kale

Person cutting kale leaves on a marble counter top

There is a reason why kale appears in so many plant based recipes.

Kale, a superstar in the world of green leafy vegetables, is high in antioxidants, including vitamins K, A, C, E, and Folate, a B Vitamin that plays a crucial role in skin cancer prevention.

These goodies can give you healthy skin and help protect it from sun damage and free radical damage.

Kale is also a good source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin because it helps increase collagen production and prevents skin irritation.

A 2017 study showed a significant boost in collagen for women taking a supplement of curly kale.

This delicious green leafy vegetable also helps control the production of sebum (your body's natural oil), which is vital for maintaining skin quality,  moisture, and elasticity, but can cause clogged pores and blemishes if it's overproduced.

Vitamin A is best absorbed by the body when consumed with healthy fats. So, add a little extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil to your next delicious kale dish!

19. Walnuts

Walnuts on linen fabric
Photo by Matthias Oberholzer on Unsplash​​

 

Walnuts are a great source of omega-3s, antioxidants, and minerals like zinc. In fact, walnuts have been proven to have the best quality and highest level of antioxidants of any other nut.

One ounce of walnuts a day provides more antioxidants that the total amount of antioxidants the average person gets from all the fruits and vegetables eaten in a day.

Like chia seeds, walnuts are also a great alternative to fatty fish as a source of omega-3s. Walnuts actually contain more omega-3s than any other nut and have superior anti-inflammatory properties!

Walnut's healthy fats can help improve dryness and eczema, and zinc is essential for maintaining proper oil production, which can help keep skin looking smoother and clearer.

20. Tomatoes

Red tomatoes on the vine with water droplets in a blue and white bowl
Photo by Sabrina Wendl on Unsplash​​

 

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytonutrient that can help protect you from UV damage.

Its powerful antioxidants can give you a smoother and more radiant appearance.

In addition, tomatoes have been shown to speed up wound healing, increasing how quickly the skin can repair itself.

Cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene available for the body to absorb and tomato paste gives you a concentrated kick of lycopene that can be added to many delicious dishes.

So, when you're really looking to boost your lycopene intake, opt for cooked tomatoes or tomato juice over fresh tomatoes.

Also, try adding a little garlic. Eating the two together has been shown to increase their cancer preventive effects.

21. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds in a wooden spoon sitting on a white counterImage by ValeriaLu from Pixabay​​

 

You don't have to eat fatty fish to get your boost of omega-3 fatty acids! Just include some chia seeds in your plant based diet!

Chia seeds are one of the best vegan foods you can choose as an  alternative to oily fish for your source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals like zinc and magnesium. All of these nutrients are essential for healthy glowing skin.

22. Spinach

A bowl of baby spinach on a wooden table

 

Spinach is one of the best dark green leafy vegetables! It is high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, lutein, and folic acid. These vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants protect and nourish your skin structure.

Vitamin A helps keep cell membranes functioning properly and protects against sun damage and skin cancer, and vitamin C helps boost collagen production and repairs skin damage.

Lutein, a key antioxidant present in dark leafy greens including spinach, has been shown to improve skin tone, and protect against oxidative damage and UVB-induced skin inflammation.

Like our other green leafy vegetable friend, kale, the amazing nutrients in spinach are more effectively absorbed by the body when eat with healthy fats.

23. Oats

A wooden bowl filled with dried oats on a burlap cloth with wooden scooper

 

Oats are a good source of zinc, which is essential for healthy skin because it helps with collagen production and skin healing.

They are also high in antioxidants and vitamins A and E, both of which are beneficial for your skin.

In fact, oats contain a high level of avenanthramides, a unique group of antioxidants shown to protect against skin irritation and inflammation.

24. Oranges

Two whole oranges with stem and leaves covered in water droplets
Photo by Xiaolong Wong on Unsplash​​

 

We know fresh fruits are good for use and oranges are no exception!

Oranges are a wonderful source of vitamin C. They are also high in fiber and other antioxidants that can benefit your skin.

Some good choices include navel oranges, blood oranges, and tangelo oranges.

It's best to eat a fresh orange rather than drink orange juice so that you get all the micronutrients and fiber available without a large spike in your blood sugar levels.

You may also be surprised to know that eating the orange peel, which is high in d-limonene, has been shown to have a potentially preventative effect against skin cancer.

25. Barley Grass

A glass of barley grass juice with fresh barley grass and a spoon of dried barley grass powder

 

Barley grass is believed to be the "best functional food that provides nutrition and eliminates toxins from cells in human beings." It is an important source of chlorophyll, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

All of these nutrients are essential for a radiant glow. Chlorophyll helps to detoxify the body and remove harmful toxins that can cause skin damage, while the other antioxidants help to protect your skin from UV radiation while helping to reduce inflammation.

Now that you know what you should eat, what should you limit or avoid to help keep your skin looking amazing? 

All the healthy foods on our Fab 25 list are packed with vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, polyphenols, and amino acids.

By incorporating these delicious, nutritious foods into your diet you’ll not only look good on the outside but you’ll feel great on the inside too!

But don’t forget that what you eat can also damage your health and rob you of your glow.

Avoid Processed Foods and Excess Sugar

Bowl of sugar with sugar cubes around it

 

Most processed foods contain high levels of sugar. Sugar is one of the main culprits behind premature aging and wrinkles.

It damages collagen and elastin, which are the proteins that keep our skin looking firm and plump.

Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts and a dull, dry, tired appearance.

French fries with cheese and herbs on top
Photo by Nurul Roy's Saleh on Unsplash​​

 

Processed foods often lack fiber and important nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are essential for wellness. Without them, skin becomes vulnerable to damage from free radicals and inflammation. 

Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that play a vital role in your overall health, including skin health. When your gut is out of balance, it can lead to inflammation and a host of health problems.

The lack of nutrients and fiber and an overabundance of preservatives, chemicals, and artificial colors in many processed foods wreak havoc on your gut health and your appearance.

And last, but certainly not least - your body is 70% water. So, be sure to keep yourself well hydrated. Cheers!

Two glasses of water with daisies
Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash​​