A Guide to Growing Food for Healthy Skin
If you walk into any drug store or supermarket, there are shelves and shelves of products, organic and chemical, which claim to fix every aliment that impacts our largest organ, our skin. However when it comes to conditions like acne and blemishes the issue isn't just on the surface. What you put in your body is just as important as the topical products you put on. In most cases your skin has the ability to combat any problems with complexion if given the right ingredients and environment to do so. Below are some suggestions for any garden enthusiast to grow in their own backyard that will benefit the skin. Now before I get into all the plants and vegetables to grow I have to say gardening itself can benefit your skin in many ways. The act of gardening in itself is very calming and stress reducing for many, reducing stress is a huge benefit to clearing up skin for many. Another benefit of gardening is the exercise you get and the sunlight you get while outside in the garden! Now you can't get too much sunlight but 5-10 minutes of direct sunlight produces vitamin D in your body which is great for your skin and your mood! So lets find out some specific plants to grow in your backyard garden to help your skin!
One of the best plants to grow for the benefit of you skin is an aloe plant. The aloe plant is a small to large plant with thick leaves, filled with a slimy liquid of aloe. The plant grows well in warmer climates outdoors, however if you live in northern Latitudes like myself, it makes a great house plant.
To use aloe for your skin you just break open a long pointed, triangle leaf and spread a thin layer of the clear, thick liquid on affected areas. Aloe is filled with vitamin E, which heals, moisturizes and soothes the skin, as well as antibacterial properties, which can be helpful to Acne. Many people may be familiar with using aloe for bad sunburns in the summer! Some varieties of aloe even taste good enough to ingest! Indigenous peoples of North America have consumed aloe for centuries as a cure to intestinal issues! Some even claim that it regulates you so well that your overall health, including your skin is healthier! (Warning do not ingest any plant until you have 100% positively identified that it is indeed the plant you are looking for!)
Aloe is also very easy to grow and can be separated and spread amongst new spots or pots very easily. Since they are so easy to transfer they make great little homemade gifts for various occasions!
Ultimately to get the most out of vegetables for your skin you want to add a rainbow of colors in your diet. However along with a colorful plate of vegetables, the ones that seem to help the skin the most are orange vegetables. This is directly related to why the vegetables are orange and that is Beta-Carotene. Carotene is great for your complexion because it turns into Vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is a great regulator of skin growth and helps in the healing process. Retinoids are a form of vitamin A that are even used to prevent aging. Regulating skin cell growth and helping in repairing skin tissue is a great advantage to those suffering from a complexion problem.
Some vegetables to grow for Beta-Carotene include:
- Carrots (any variety from heirlooms, which can be red in color, to your bugs bunny bright orange carrot)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Butternut Squash
- Kale (although not orange, this leafy green is high in Beta-carotene)
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark Leafy greens are a miracle vegetable in this world that many refuse to eat because they didn't like them as a child, however leafy greens are not only good to eat but are a superfood for the body! The darker the green the more nutrients and vitamins it has. This alone makes it a great vegetable for your body and skin. What makes leafy greens really good for your skin is the abundance of the essential vitamins for your skin including vitamin E, C, A, K and B. All of which supports healthy skin growth and if eaten in large quantities (like through Green juices) can actually clear up skin problems or at least reduce them. One of the easiest dark greens to grow is Swiss Chard, it will grow all season from the cool spring to the hot summer and into the cooling autumn. Other dark greens tend to do well in the spring and not so well under intense heat of the summer months.
Best Leafy Greens to grow for your Skin:
- Swiss Chard
- Collard Greens in general
Of course vegetables are the super foods for healthy skin but the sweeter super foods of the garden can give you great skin as well! Fruits are filled with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants! All of which promote an overall health and glowing skin. All fruits are loaded with vitamin C which is great for healing and protecting the skin. Berries are especially filled with antioxidants which can combat any free radical damage done to your skin by the sun, pollution, and every day wear and tear. Citrus fruit is very important to skin health. Citrus fruit is filled with copious amounts of Vitamin C. Lemons for example are great for the skin via ingestion or topical use. Ingesting lemons balances out the alkaline levels in your body while also detoxifying your vital organs. This detoxification allows toxins not to be released through the skin, resulting in clearer skin! Applying lemon juice to your skin can act as an astringent to remove dead skin cells, unclogging pores. The only problem is if you don't level in a warm climate, then it's a little bit harder to grow citrus fruit (although not impossible if you have a greenhouse). The great thing about growing fruit in your yard is that once the fruit plant is established and producing fruit, it will for years.
Fruits to plant in your yard for healthier skin:
- Apple Trees (if you can fit them!)
- Citrus Fruit trees (Lemons, oranges) (if you live in a warm climate)
- Growing Vegetables Plants from Kitchen Scraps!
Use kitchen scraps to grow plants! Yes a lot of foods you disregard as not edible and/or trash can in fact grow into a plant and give you more fruits and vegetables! It is an alternative way of growing a vegetable garden then growing from seed or buy
Ultimately any diet including more fruits and vegetables will benefit your skin and your overall health. The more colors you eat whether it's an orange carrot or a dark green leaf of Kale, or a red tomato, the better it is for you. These foods are even better for your skin when you can grow them right in your own backyard, reducing the food miles it travels from hundreds of miles to maybe 100 feet!! The added nutrition from freshly picked fruits and vegetables is amazing!