What you whizz your Form with in the morning, after a workout or whenever else it takes your fancy needn’t be reduced only to flavour and macronutrients. Though it’s true that half a spoonful of your favourite nut butter or a shot of espresso can make all the difference, other additions will elevate them into something beyond just nourishment. Increased immunity? Sure. Better digestion? We’ll take it. In this instance, though, we’re referring to your skin.
Regardless of the various moisturisers, night creams, serums and such you regularly lather on your skin, a healthy, glowing complexion is an inside job, largely influenced by our nutrition. It might surprise you to learn that some ingredients you regularly incorporate in your concoctions already work as skin remedies (see banana). Others, meanwhile, are lab-proven to rejuvenate and regenerate skin cells at a cellular level.
Here are our picks of the ingredients that’ll turn your shakes and smoothies into the ultimate skin drink.
Silica is a trace mineral found naturally in plant-based foods such as asparagus, artichokes and kale stems. Because it builds collagen in the body, it’s been shown to help boost hair and nail growth alongside assisting skin cell rebuild, contributing to overall skin rejuvenation.
The safe upper limit of silica is said to be around 700 milligrams per day, approximately a third of which is easily taken in from a typical diet. In shakes or smoothies, you might consider adding a few drops of liquid silica derived from the horsetail plant. It should have virtually no effect on taste, with all the skin upshots to boot.
Most of us are deficient in zinc. In fact, zinc is one of those minerals vegans are more prone to missing in their diets. Without adequate levels of it, your liver can’t perform the functions that protect your whole body. This is a concern for skin because when the liver isn’t able to break down toxins efficiently, they get eliminated from the body by other, surface-level means, manifesting in anything from acne to premature wrinkling and disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. A few drops of a liquid zinc supplement in your smoothies could be just the preventative tincture.
Flaxseeds/soaked chia seeds/walnuts/hemp seeds
What links all of the above? Skin-friendly Omega 3s. Diets rich in omega-3s have been linked to reducing inflammation, which evidence points to being a direct cause of acne. Other studies have alluded to their ability to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun, linking supplementation to a superior resistance to burning.
By adding any of the above to your smoothies, you also go some way to balancing the high omega 6 consumption of modern diets, which can be a cause of inflammation. The ideal ratio should be 3:1 (omega 6:3), though nowadays it’s more like 20:1. These ingredients all contain a preferable ratio.
Speaking of the link between inflammation and skin problems, turmeric is another ingredient boasting great anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, we use the active ingredient in turmeric, Curcumin C3, in our protein blends for this very reason, while also harnessing its antioxidant and immunity-boosting properties.
While you often find turmeric used in Indian cooking, we love experimenting with it in our shakes. Try a teaspoon in our vegan mango lassi recipe.
When steamed and added to shakes, sweet potatoes offer a great low-sugar alternative to the more obvious addition of bananas. Better still are their high levels of beta carotene. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A, otherwise known as that increasingly buzz-worthy ingredient in skincare right now, retinol, credited with benefits from fine-line reduction to speeding cell turnover.
A powerful antioxidant, beta carotene also plays a crucial role in fighting free radicals, while there’s also plenty of research to vouch for antioxidants’ general skin damage prevention properties. Beta carotene is abundantly found in other colourful fruit and veg that works well in smoothies, too, such as leafy greens, mangoes and raspberries.
Not just a convenient go-to for texturally on-point shakes with naturally added sweetness, bananas are rich in a macromineral critical for healthy skin: potassium. Along with sodium, potassium helps regulate water in the body’s cells, so a lack thereof can lead to dry skin and associated disorders. And, as potassium is an electrolyte, it also aids normal cell function. Just try to stick to the recommended daily amount, between 3,500 and 4,700 mg a day.
For a protein supplement that does more, Form’s Superblend provides a daily hit of antioxidants and other health enhancers with a mix of 12 fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re on track for your daily requirements.