What is a Superfood?
What exactly is a Superfood and why should you care? It’s not a scientific term but it quickly became popular in 2016 as dietary trends shifted towards ditching processed foods in favor of more natural choices. Generally speaking, “Superfoods” refer to fruits, vegetables, and nuts with greater nutritional and health benefits versus empty calories. Simply put, they are the foods that punch above their weight in a healthy diet. These superfoods deliver an entourage of complex benefits to the body that simply can’t be replicated from dietary supplements or medications alone.
The problem is not so much the idea of superfoods, but rather the lack of clarity of “what is a superfood?” Also, some cultures have been eating these so-called “superfoods” for thousands of years, why now has it suddenly become a trend? On the flipside, we could just appreciate the fact that the public is becoming more conscious of dietary choices. Either way, many of these superfoods deliver health benefits supported by research.
Superfood benefits aren’t only limited to diet but can extend to topical application and skincare. They are used in a wide-variety of skincare formulations today either as an extract or the whole plant. Superfoods can be used in lieu of harsher chemicals to achieve similar benefits. In this article, we will be highlighting 10 of the best superfoods for your skin.
10 of the Best Superfoods for Your Skin
1. Chia Seed
This edible superfood is part of the mint family with extremely hydrophilic properties capable of holding 12 times its weight in water. Chia seed oil is highly moisturizing which is ideal for those with eczema or very dry skin. This lightweight oil leaves a smooth finish on the skin, strengthens the skin barrier, and locks in moisture.
The same properties that make avocados so naturally delicious also makes them an effective skincare ingredient. The fat content in avocados is composed of mostly monounsaturated fat, a healthy type of fat. Avocado oil is an effective emollient with plenty of antioxidants and fatty acids, which help keep the skin hydrated, prevents moisture loss, and strengthens skin barrier function.
Native to Africa, the Marula Tree has been used for its nutritional benefits since as long as 10,000 years ago. In skincare, typically the nuts of the marula fruit are extracted to form an oil. Considered a sacred plant, marula also makes an ideal skincare oil with plenty of vitamin C and vitamin E. It has a lightweight texture to keep skin hydrated while leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth.
This superfood is used to make a wide variety of things like wine, raisins, and balsamic vinegar. Grapes are ranked highly for overall health benefits and may boost memory, reduce blood sugar levels, and protect against cancers. In skincare, Grape seed oil, extracted from grape seeds, works well to moisturize those with sensitive skin since it doesn’t clog pores like other oils.
Despite the fact that cucumber is mostly composed of water, the highly concentrated extract of cucumber is loaded with superfood-like properties thanks to its Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fatty acids. It’s also a non-sensitizing ingredient which makes it suitable for a wider range of skin types. Also, who could resist that age-old image of relaxing at a spa with cucumbers over your eyes!
For ages, ginger has been an essential home remedy. Have you ever tried drinking ginger tea to soothe a cold? Ginger has a complex nutritional composition with a variety of vitamins like Vitamin B6, and rich in beneficial minerals like magnesium. Like many other superfoods, ginger is high in antioxidants to help fight anti-aging, fading scars, and improving skin tone.
Blueberries rank near the very top of fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant concentrations. Some studies even suggest that blueberries may have anti-cancer properties, in addition to their anti-aging properties. In skincare, blueberry extract can help brighten and even out skin tone because of its high Vitamin C content.
8. Olive Oil
Like the avocado, Olive Oil is also high in monounsaturated fats. Olive oil in general is quite healthy, but the potency of its antioxidant benefits depends on its quality. Extra virgin olive oil is extracted straight from the fresh fruit and must have a free acidity that is less than 0.8%. This allows it to retain the most antioxidants, vitamin E and phytosterols. Olive oil can be used effectively in skincare as a moisturizer and for its antibacterial benefits as well. For best results, use extra virgin olive oil whether you’re using it by itself or as part of a mixture.
9. Green Tea
Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis leaves. It is believed that green tea has higher antioxidant activity than black tea. Although they are made from the same plant, green tea does not go through the oxidation process during manufacturing like black tea. Green tea has many skincare benefits and can balance the skin’s oil and calm the skin.
Using oats in skincare might sound strange to some people, but for those with eczema, taking an oatmeal bath may already be a familiar experience. That’s because oats have certain types of antioxidants called avenathramides that soothe the skin. Oats contain starches that bind to water easily, which makes it effective as a skin protectant as well. Maybe it’s time to consider oats as more than just your typical breakfast food!
When Superfoods are More Than Just Foods - Superfoods in Skincare
These are our picks for 10 superfoods that are also great for your skin. Keep in mind that there are other superfoods out there with skincare benefits, so this isn’t an exhaustive list, but rather a starting place in your superfood skincare journey.
Don’t forget that your skin is affected by diet as well. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables (including “superfoods”) and drinking plenty of water will do wonders for your skin too! When searching for skincare products, always be sure to check the labels so you can get a better understanding of what you put on your body!