While it may be all-too-easy to turn to a bowl of unhealthy comfort food on a chilly night, this will definitely not do your skin any favors. Instead, give one of these 10 warming dishes a try, because not only are they oh-so-satisfying, but they contain ingredients that will give the health of your skin a huge boost at the same time.
1. Tomato and Basil Soup with Chickpea Croutons
Tomato soup is truly a classic dish, and is so deliciously warming at this time of the year.
In addition to being one of the most popular comfort foods out there, tomato soup is also fantastic for your skin.
Because tomatoes are packed with lycopene, which is the pigment that gives the tomato its red color.
Here are just a few of the improvements that lycopene can have when it comes to your skin:
- Neutralizes free radicals, which then prevents wrinkles and minimizes other visible signs of aging
- Protects the skin from UV radiation and damage
- Protects mitochondrial DNA, therefore providing the skin with an anti-aging effect
You may be thinking…
“Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to eat the tomatoes raw, rather than cooking them into a soup?”
The answer is no, because while it may often be far more beneficial to eat raw, rather than cooked, fruits and vegetables, the lycopene in tomatoes needs to be heated. This then alters its structure, meaning that your blood can carry it through your body much more easily.
When it comes to the inclusion of basil in the soup, this herb is a great source of manganese and vitamin K, key when it comes to collagen production.
However, just about every fresh herb will have its own skin benefits, so do not be afraid to substitute the basil for an alternative, such as parsley, thyme or oregano.
So, why add the chickpea croutons?
Chickpeas are high in vitamin B6, which is essential when it comes to creating new skin cells.
Plus, a good soup always needs to have a crunch, and chickpea croutons are not only so easy to make, but are also much healthier than standard croutons.
2. Walnut-Crusted Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids are so important when it comes to the health of your skin, but, unlike other fatty acids, this is one that your body cannot produce itself.
What does this mean?
It means that your diet needs to contain adequate amounts of omega-3, as well as omega-6, fatty acids, in order for your skin, and body, to really thrive.
When it comes to sources of omega-3, salmon is one of the best. It also contains selenium, which protects the skin from the sun, as well as vitamin D.
However, do not forget…
Wild salmon is much more nutritious than farmed, so try to opt for this variety whenever possible.
To give your skin a double whammy of goodness, try cooking up a walnut-crusted salmon, because walnuts are also one of the best ingredients that you can feed your skin with.
Just like salmon, walnuts are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and also contain plenty of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that is fantastic for anti-aging.
3. Steamed Broccoli with Miso-Sesame Sauce
When it comes to the health of your skin, broccoli is actually quite a superfood, as it does so much:
- Detoxifies the skin and body
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Contains vitamins A, C and K
- Contains sulforaphane
Wondering what sulforaphane is?
It is a bioactive compound that brings with it a number of different health benefits. In fact, it is so incredible that there are thousands of studies out there concluding that sulforaphane is one of the most powerful food-derived molecules of our time.
While there are a number of ways in which you can cook broccoli, steaming it is always going to be one of the healthiest, as this allows the broccoli to retain a large amount of its nutrients. However, if you would prefer a slightly crunchier texture, try roasting the broccoli instead.
When it comes to sauces, a miso-sesame sauce puts a unique Asian twist on the dish, and also boosts your skin in other ways.
Miso is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans, and, as you may or may not already be aware, fermented foods are great for the body.
Miso in particular contains linoleic acid, which helps to even out the skin tone, reduce pigmentation and keep the skin soft and supple.
Make sure you do not forget about the sesame part of the sauce, as sesame seeds contain zinc, which is great for regulating the skin’s oil production.
Wondering what to serve this dish with?
Try some poached salmon and boiled rice, topping everything with the miso-sesame sauce.
4. Balsamic-Roasted Carrots with Sunflower Seeds
- Carrots are another vegetable that can directly impact your skin, in a number of ways:
- Carrots contain beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, which is one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients out there. Just one small carrot will provide you with almost 300% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
- Carrots contain vitamin C, which is great for helping your skin appear smoother and firmer
- Carrots can help to clear up breakouts caused by oily skin
Even if you usually cannot stand the taste of carrots, roasting them in balsamic vinegar really transforms them, bringing out a deep and earthy flavor, but with a sweet and tangy touch.
All you need to do is coat the carrots in a few other skin-boosting ingredients before roasting them until they are tender. Here are the ingredients that you need, as well as the benefits that they will bring to your skin:
- Balsamic vinegar – a fermented food that provides antioxidant benefits
- Olive oil – contains healthy omega-6 fatty acids
- Sunflower seeds – rich in selenium, which keeps the skin tight and smooth
- Thyme – contains antioxidants that can improve skin tone
Don’t forget to throw in some salt and pepper to season the dish too!
5. Spinach Omelette
While omelettes are commonly thought of as a breakfast food, there is no reason why you cannot eat this delicious spinach omelette for any meal, especially since it can be customized so easily.
You might be thinking…
“There are so many omelette fillings out there! Why go with spinach?”
Well this is because spinach can really improve the skin in so many ways:
- Contains vitamin A, which keeps skin cells healthy and helps with anti-aging
- Contains vitamin C, which helps to repair skin cells and produce collagen
- A great source of iron, which gives your skin a healthy, rosy glow
- Contains vitamin K, which reduces dark circles and boosts circulation
When it comes to the eggs, these also help the skin in a number of ways…
The yolks contain fatty acids, which keep the skin moisturized and smooth, while the whites contain albumin, which is a protein that helps to tighten pores while regulating oil production. With both the yolks and the whites having skin-boosting properties, make sure that you include both in your omelette.
6. Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef
While this may not sound like a particularly healthy dish, it actually is, as long as you follow one rule…
Make sure that your beef is grass-fed, as this contains a much higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Grass-fed beef also contains an impressive 30 grams more protein per serving, which is important as protein is the foundation of collagen and elastin, which help to keep the skin firm and smooth.
Although the way in which the beef has been raised is the most important factor to keep in mind for this dish, the other two star ingredients should not be forgotten about either…
Rosemary and garlic are both high in a wide range of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals and protect skin cells.
7. Grilled Mackerel with Mediterranean Vegetables
The Mediterranean diet is famous for being the healthiest in the world, and it contains ingredients that can directly nourish your skin.
If you have been trying to cut back on your meat and fish consumption, mackerel is a great fish to treat yourself with, as it is one of the best sources of vitamin B12, which is what your body will have been missing out on.
When it comes to the vegetables in this dish, try to opt for Mediterranean flavors, such as tomatoes, aubergine, and peppers. However, the beauty of this dish is that it can be so easily customized to whatever you may have on hand, so feel free to experiment with the vegetables that you use.
8. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli
Sweet potatoes have been consumed since prehistoric times, making them one of the oldest vegetables known to man.
They are also one of the best vegetables for your skin.
Sweet potatoes are packed with carotenoids and vitamin C, both of which can really help to boost collagen production. They also contain a number of other antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, all of which are soon translated to your skin.
However, if you want to maximize the way in which your body makes use of sweet potatoes, follow this one tip:
- Always include a small helping of fat when eating sweet potatoes, as this makes the beta-carotene more bio-available.
However, by cooking it into a chilli, you will be using extra virgin olive oil, which would be sufficient for this case.
When it comes to the beans that you use, feel free to go with whatever you happen to have in the cupboard. However, keep in mind that the blacker the skin, the healthier the bean.
9. Green Tea Chicken
This dish may sound a little crazy, but, if you can get your head around it, there are several different ways in which you can combine green tea and chicken to create an out-of-this-world meal.
Why would you want to do this?
Because green tea is packed with polyphenols, making it a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is also fantastic for detoxifying the body and skin, and contains vitamin K, which helps to even out the skin tone.
Now onto the chicken…
Make sure that you opt for a lean cut, as this will contain a healthy amount of protein, without too much fat.
If you are wondering how to actually cook it…
Did you know that the way in which you cook chicken has an impact on the amount of nutrients that the meat retains?
Here is a quick guide to follow:
- Baking – the healthiest way to cook chicken
- Grilling – healthy, tender and flavorful
- Steaming and Poaching – unlike the other two methods, these two require no added fats
Now, here are a few recipe suggestions that combine green tea and chicken:
- Green Tea Poached Chicken
- Green Tea Chicken Soup
- Green Tea Steamed Chicken with Sesame and Garlic
- Green Tea Chicken Curry
- Grilled Tea-Soaked Chicken Breasts
- Green Tea and Orange Smoked Chicken
- Green Tea Chicken Dumplings with Chilli Oil
10. Venison with Blueberry Sauce
Just like chicken, venison is another lean meat, making it a great source of protein.
Never cooked with venison before? Here are some tips on choosing a cut:
- Flank – the lower belly area, great for steaks
- Loin – tender and exquisite
- Sirloin – a tender cut that is great for steaks
- Strip Loin – best cooked rare or medium-rare
- Tenderloin – best cooked rare or medium rare, one of the tenderest cuts of venison
You may be wondering…
“Why would I add blueberries to the sauce?”
Blueberries are packed with skin-protecting antioxidants, but, most importantly, they provide a sharp and tangy contrast to this dish.
Other ingredients that you could include, which would also benefit your skin, include rosemary, red wine, mushrooms, garlic, and apple cider vinegar, all of which would come together beautifully to create an unforgettable meal.
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