What would you say if I told you that salad could help you achieve acne free skin? I’ll be honest and say that salad is my favourite dish – I have it for lunch every single day and I’ll never get bored of it. There are so many different variations of ingredients and dressings – even the pickiest eater can find something they like.
I love the way it makes me feel – satiated but light, clean, happy, energized…
Another reason why I like eating salad so much is this – it’s a great way to introduce more raw veggies into my diet. As all ingredients in the salad are raw, their nutritional value is so much higher.
Salad is also a wonderful tool for achieving clear skin. I attribute a huge chunk of my success in clearing acne (read about my acne story here) to eating a lot of salads.
All the ingredients combined together are pure goodness. But if you look them up, you’ll be surprised how much potential hides in those humble vegetables or leaves. Now let me take all the ingredients I generally use to make my favourite salad and give you a little overview of all the amazing benefits one by one.
So what goodness hides in my favourite salad?
The darker green or red the leaves are, the better – avoid iceberg lettuce.
- Lettuce is a great source of vitamin A (antioxidant properties and maintaining healthy skin).
- It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins, vitamin K and potassium.
- Lettuce contains a lot of calcium (Nutrition Myth Busters) and will keep your bones and teeth strong.
- It has vitamin C (antioxidant – fights infections and inflammations), iron, magnesium and copper.
- Green leaves are also full of beta-carotene (yes, beta-carotene containing things don’t have to be orange or yellow!) – great for natural sun protection for your skin.
- Did you know that 20% of calories in lettuce come from proteins?
- Lettuce has a high quantity of fibre, which will give you a feeling of a full stomach and will help achieve a healthy digestive system.
- Lettuce will never spike up your insulin – its glycemic load is considered zero.
- Finally, green leaves are the best way to keep a healthy acid/alkaline balance in your body – that’s extremely important for healthy skin.
A personal tip – if you eat something naughty and get a headache/itchy skin as a result, eat some leaves of lettuce – it will counteract some of the “damage”.
- They are rich in lycopene – a powerful antioxidant, linked to cancer prevention and bone strength (see here for more information).
- A study carried out by the dermatology department at Charite University, in Berlin, discovered that there was a link between consumption of lycopene and smoother, less-wrinkled skin (Net Doctor UK).
- Excellent source of antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene – eating tomatoes can also protect your skin from the sun naturally.
- Tomatoes also contain manganese, potassium, flavonoids (natural anti-inflammatories) and Vitamin E (great for anti-ageing properties).
- Great way to hydrate yourself – tomatoes have a high water content.
- A great source of B vitamins – they will energise you instantly.
- Cucumbers are 95% water – they will hydrate your cells.
- They contain a good amount of vitamin C – but remember not to peel the skin as that’s where most of vitamin C is located.
- Cucumbers are also a source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, fibre, sulphur and calcium.
- They provide you with skin-friendly minerals potassium, magnesium and silicon.
Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds)
- They are valued as an important source of zinc – vital for acne free skin.
- A great source of Vitamin E – it will maintain the youth of your skin.
- Manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper – all of those can be found in seeds.
- Seeds are a great way to top up your protein intake – important for building healthy new skin cells.
- Pumpkin seeds are well known for their anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
- Flaxseeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Extra virgin olive oil
- It is known for strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Improves the balance of bacteria in the gut by slowing down the growth of bad unwanted bacteria.
- Read more about the benefits of olive oil here.
- It contains antioxidants called polyphenols – they protect the body from heart disease and cancer, as well as protect your skin cells. (Read more here)
- Grapes that are used to make balsamic vinegar help improve the immune system, which is important for fighting acne.
- Eating salad with balsamic vinegar slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Therefore, it reduces the insulin reaction.
Bored? OK, let’s move on to some action. Here’s the exciting bit!
- 3-4 oz.(90-120g) of dark green or red leaf lettuce (e.g. romaine, rocket – I like combining 2 parts of regular lettuce with 1 part of rocket for a bit of spiciness)
- 1 large tomato
- 1 cup cucumber
- 4 oz. (120g) of cooked chicken breast
- 3 tbsp of seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds)
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash and dry the leaves, shred them using your hands – don’t use a knife. Chop the chicken breast. Slice tomatoes and cucumbers. Add everything to a bowl. Sprinkle the seeds on top.
- Mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small cup with salt and pepper. Keep mixing until everything emulsifies. Pour it over the remaining ingredients in the bowl, mix well and serve.
- Enjoy and notice clearer skin!
Still not convinced that salad could bring you one big step closer to acne free skin?
Then take a look at this. When I finished compiling this list, I couldn’t believe my own eyes. I knew eating salad was healthy but seeing all those numbers in front of me was something else – that’s what I call supermeal!
With this one meal you can achieve 68% of nutritional targets for the day (data from CRON-O-Meter – it’s a brilliant food tracking website, by the way! I highly recommend it.)!!! It blows my mind.
Yet so many people eat their meat, fish or whatever else with just a tiny bit of salad on the side. They don’t know what they are missing out on!
So take my advice and start eating salads with a lot of leafy greens. Today. For the sake of your skin and your whole body, do it now! You’ll see how delicious it can be and maybe in a couple of months you’ll come back to tell me that salad is now your favourite dish. Or maybe you’ll come to thank me for a newly found clear skin. I’ll be waiting! 🙂
Watch this article in video format here:
Are you a fan or a hater of salad? Will you try to salad your way to clear skin? Let me know if you do!