Consuming the amount of nutrients we're constantly told we need for great health (and skin) can be an arduous task. Let's face it, unless you're Miranda Kerr, none of us are able to live up to Miranda Kerr-ness in the health and wellness realms. But, we can get pretty close with just a few tweaks to our daily meals in the form of added nuts and seeds. And no, we're not going to tell you it's almonds (although, they're great too) or some rare exotic nut you might find next to some Noni... We want to share some of the quick and easy 'beauty sprinkles' you might not have thought of that are incredible for skin health and glowy-ness.
Walnuts have tons of amazing benefits for your skin with their high levels of Vitamin B, which fight against fine lines. These magic nuts are also rich in Vitamin E, which balances blood sugar levels to prevent insulin spikes that cause stress (read: fast lane to premature ageing and breakouts). These little 'brain' nuts are loaded with antioxidants, fighting inflammation, reducing puffiness and dark circles under the eyes and can even aid in reducing the symptoms of eczema. Walnuts also happen go give gritty crunchy goodness to your lunch time salad and can even make a great crumb for chicken breast and pork. Of course, they're pretty great alone as a mid-morning or arvo snack.
Pistachios are said to decrease the appearance of acne by controlling insulin levels and blood circulation. With this, pistachios control blood sugar levels that circulates acne-causing hormone, androgen, leading to clearer skin. They're quite the nutritious snack to have around too, containing tons of protein and fibre. Chopped pistachios can add a burst of salty flavour to rice dishes, and savoury casseroles to replace any added salt or butter for taste. For a sweet treat, you can also add them to dark chocolate brownies and chia puddings to get a perfect balance of sweet and salty.
Get inspired with... Fig and Rose Chia Pudding
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/3 cup of whole chia seeds
- 1 handful raw, unsalted, shelled pistachios
- 1 handful raw almonds
- Optional: dried rose petals
- Optional: Fresh cut figs
- 2/3 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked for 3+ hours in 1 ½ cups filtered water and a pinch of sea salt
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- 1 cup filtered water
- 7 soft-dried figs (if using completely dried figs, soak them in water beforehand to soften)
- 1 ½ tbsp rosewater
- 1tbsp coconut oil
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp vanilla essence
- In the morning or evening before you want to make this pudding, soak 2/3 cup raw cashews in a bowl with 1 ½ cups of water and a pinch of sea salt.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Once fully soaked, drain, rinse and set aside
- In your blender, combine the soaked cashews with everything in the pudding list above.
- Blitz for 2 minutes. Add more honey to taste.
- Put your chia seeds in the bottom of a large, dry bowl.
- Pour the blender mixture into the seeds, whisking as you go to avoid the chia seeds sticking together. For the next 10 minutes, give the bowl another friendly whisk every few minutes, before covering and placing in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- Toast the almonds and pistachios on a baking tray at 160 C for about 11 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and chop roughly.
- Remove the pudding from the fridge and whisk one last time, before spooning about a tablespoon and a half of the mixture into 6 small receptacles. Re-refrigerate and decorate later. Or sprinkle with the nuts and fresh figs/ rose petals to consume immediately.
Who knew a food so tiny could pack such a punch? Chia seeds are a bit of health godsend for anyone who struggles to get their daily fibre intake - they are very fibrous... Do not have more than a tablespoon or two a day! They'll also give you radiant skin. Besides the fact that the teeny seeds are so low in fat and high in protein, chia seeds are known to increase the skin’s hydration levels, keeping your face moisturised and supple, and they contain alpha lipoic acid, which minimises pores. It’s so easy to sneak these into your daily dietary habits because they really don’t taste like much, but add texture to everything. They are popular additions to shakes and smoothies, but add a great texture to scrambled eggs and can be added to some low-cal jam for morning toast.
Sunflower seeds are an oh-so-satisfying snack and are loaded with nutrients that support great skin health. These delectable seeds are loaded with iron and copper which support blood flow and defend against the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is an amino acid that gives skin its strength and elasticity, so the more collagen present in your body, the more radiant your skin will be looking. We all go through stress and sometimes some poor diet choices, which decreases the production of collagen in the body. So, to restore this collagen loss, munch on some sunflower seeds throughout the day. Add them to your soup or salad to add some crunch and salty flavor, or oven roast them for a flavorsome twist on a classic seed.
Get inspired with... Rainbow Salad with Feta and Dates
- 150g of good quality feta cheese
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 large garlic clove
- Salt + Pepper
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- A handful of sunflower seeds, toasted
- ¼ head of red cabbage
- 1 fennel bulb
- ½ lemon
- 1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsely
- 3 oranges
- 10 dates (harder, drier dates work best here)
- 10 stalks of thyme (it’s worth getting the fresh stuff over dried)
- With a food processor or large knife, cut up the fennel bulb. Squeeze half a lemon over the fennel immediately to stop browning and set aside. Follow with a quarter of red cabbage.
- Slice the leafy end of your bunch of parsley from the stalks and roughly chop. Take each thyme stalk and draw your fingers backward along the stalk to remove the leaves. Roughly chop the thyme.
- On a large chopping board, top and tail the 3 oranges to create a flat base. Using a large, sharp knife, pare away the rind in a downward motion, removing as much of the white pith from each orange as you can. Quarter and thinly slice the flesh, setting aside any orange juices that have run onto the chopping board.
- Quarter the dates and slice thinly. You want little tiny jewels of sweetness that will mix throughout the entire salad.
- Crush your garlic clove and mix with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp honey, and the excess orange juices, season generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
- Gently combine the fennel, red cabbage, sliced oranges, parsley, thyme, dates and sesame seeds with your dressing. Crumble the feta on top and scatter with toasted pumpkin seeds. A sprig or two of thyme anoints this salad perfectly.
Some consider this food a fruit, some consider it a nut... So, conveniently for this story, we're going with the latter. Obviously, we all know now that coconut is the marvel of the health and beauty realms for about seven zillion reasons (even makeup removal). But, let’s not underestimate eating the actual food this trendy oil comes from. Coconut flesh contains a high amount of lauric acid, which reduces the bacteria that causes acne and blemishes. Coconuts also have antimicrobial properties, which help repair and revitalise skin. Although coconut has a delightfully sweet taste, it’s also relatively mild, therefore very versatile when using it as an additive to other foods. Although shredded coconut is usually used for desserts, there is a wide range of food options you can add these tasty flakes to. They make a great addition to curries, salads and are perfect for a bit of crunch to the top of savoury bakes.
Story by Samantha Blanchfield; Recipes and images by The Fresh Ginger