Why Breakfast is Important for Healthy Skin
Start your day with one of these recipes to keep your complexion glowing.
Eating breakfast doesn’t only provide benefits for your overall health but is essential to maintaining healthy skin. Starting the day with the right foods (and avoiding unhealthy ones) is the first step to protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, environmental stresses, and aging.
The first meal of your day is a chance to include nutrient-rich foods in your daily diet. Which foods and drinks provide the most benefits for your complexion and which should you keep off your plate?
Let’s take a look at how breakfast boosts your skin health, as well as the risks of the standard American breakfast. We’re also sharing 4 ideas for breakfast you won’t want to skip.
Breakfast Like a King for Healthy Skin
Famed author and nutritionist Adelle Davis used to advise, “Eat breakfast like a king; eat lunch like a prince; eat dinner like a pauper.” Although many schedules aren’t conducive to eating our largest meal as we rush off to the office or school, it’s important for your overall health and your skin to include a balanced breakfast in your morning routine.
An ideal breakfast should keep you satisfied and energized all morning. You should combine whole grains with protein, along with some healthy fats, fruits and/or vegetables, and water for hydration. Follow these tips for a healthy breakfast.
Boost the Fiber
The American Heart Association suggests including between 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber is not only beneficial to digestive and overall health but also helps the body flush out toxins that can lead to inflammation and skin problems.
Aim to include both soluble and insoluble fiber each day, starting with your morning meal. Soluble fiber, which absorb water during digestion, include fruits, vegetables, legumes, oats, barley, and oat bran. Insoluble fiber remains unchanged during digestion and can be found in whole grain products, rolled oats, and brown rice.
Boost fiber in your diet with these breakfast ideas: avocado toast on whole grain bread; oatmeal prepared with flaxseed meal and topped with berries; a smoothie prepared with almond butter, frozen banana, and Chia seeds.
Bring on the Protein
One of the key functions of protein is to help your body repair tissues. When you eat an egg or salmon, your body breaks it down into amino acids, which are needed to form new body tissue, hormones, enzymes, and blood cells.
How does this impact your skin? Protein is needed to build collagen. Collagen production naturally diminishes with age, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin. Without adequate protein, this process accelerates.
Aim for about 15 grams of protein in your morning meal. Include foods like eggs, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. Add collagen peptides to your morning coffee or smoothie. And think out of the box with leftover salmon or chicken.
Don’t Forget Fruits and Veggies
Breakfast is an ideal time to add fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re getting the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to protect your skin from free radical damage, which can cause wrinkling and age spots. Include orange and yellow foods like sweet potatoes or yellow peppers for beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, necessary for healthy skin.
A small glass of OJ, half a grapefruit, or a cup of berries is a great way to incorporate vitamin C, which your skin needs to produce collagen. Kale is a great source of both vitamin A and C.
Add Healthy Fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in avocados, salmon, nuts, and seeds are rich in essential fatty acids that moisturize the skin and improve elasticity. These fats are also a good source of vitamin E, which protects skin from free radical damage.
Don’t forget Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and other oily fish, as well as walnuts or chia seeds. These fatty acids stimulate the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds to protect the skin. Good sources of these fatty acids include fatty cold water fish like salmon and mackerel, walnuts, and chia seeds.
What Not to Eat or Drink for Healthy Skin
Now, you know what to include in a healthy breakfast but what foods and drinks should you avoid for healthy skin?
Skip the Sugar
Breakfast pastries, donuts, packaged cereal, and even healthier-sounding options like smoothies, granola, and cereal bars can be loaded with sugar, which is harmful to your skin. When you eat too much sugar, you end up with harmful molecules known as advanced glycation endproducts (AGE).
AGEs lead to breakdown of collagen and premature aging of the skin, with signs including:
- Age spots
- Fine line and wrinkles
- Dull skin
- Uneven skin tone
Look for cereal with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Blend smoothies at home with lower sugar ingredients like berries, kiwi, avocado, and green apple. Use no-sugar added nut milk instead of sweetened varieties in drinks or cereal. Top plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit instead of choosing presweetened flavors.
Don’t Bring Home the Bacon (or White Bread)
While your skin needs carbohydrates rich in fiber and nutrients, avoid highly refined carbohydrates like bagels, English muffins, and low-fiber, sweetened cereal. These foods cause inflammation, which accelerates aging of the skin. Refined carbs, like sugar, create AGEs that break down collagen, causing wrinkles.
Bacon and other processed meats, as well as cured meats, are high in sodium, which leads to water retention and can cause puffiness in the face. In addition, sodium nitrates in processed meats break down collagen and elastin, which causes signs of premature aging.
Say No to Margarine
While you should include healthy fats in your breakfast, leave margarine, corn and vegetable oils on the shelf. The type of fat in margarine increases inflammation and oxidative stress, which damages the skin. Instead, top toast with grass-fed butter or even better, nut butter.
4 Skin-Healthy Breakfast Ideas
While it might be tempting to grab a sugary coffee drink and a donut or a granola bar on the way to work, preparing one of these recipes is far better for your skin health.
Frittata with Smoked Salmon: Saute diced sweet potatoes in olive oil. Add diced onion and saute till translucent before adding baby kale to wilt. Sprinkle smoked salmon over vegetable mixture. Whisk eggs with salt, pepper, and dill. Pour over vegetable/salmon mixture and rest on medium heat before placing under broiler for 4 to 5 minutes until set.
Green Tea Smoothie: Blend coconut milk, mango, banana, spinach leaves, and green tea powder with ice.
Sweet Potato Avocado Toast: Slice sweet potato lengthwise into ¼ inch planks and place in toaster for 5 minutes or until cooked through. While toasting, mash avocado in a bowl with 2 garlic cloves, minced, and ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved. Stir to combine and top sweet potato toasts with avocado mixture.
Glowing Greek Yogurt Parfait: Top plain Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
The Bottom Line
Starting the day with breakfast provides numerous benefits to your overall health and to your skin. The foods and drinks you choose for breakfast, however, can make or break your quest for optimal health. Avoid high-sugar foods in favor of dishes with antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, as well as protein from eggs, salmon, Greek yogurt, and other sources to boost for a healthy body and skin.
For vibrant, glowing skin, start your day with a healthy breakfast and your Simple Beauty skin care regimen. Simple Beauty combines the best ingredients from nature with the latest in scientific advancements to create high-performance solutions that nurture and maintain skin.
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