A close-to-garden diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables, literally shows on your face as clear, glowing skin. If you’re a busy person, not so much into making lunches ahead of time or cooking healthy dinners, consider juicing fruits and vegetables. These vitamin packed drinks are great for your skin, boost the metabolism, and keep you feeling full for hours. A rule of thumb: when making juice to support your skin’s health, pick fruits and vegetables that have generous quantities of vitamins A, B, and C (these support skin cell regeneration and vitality), and beta-carotene, which repairs damage from the sun.
1. Cucumber and beet breakdown
Cucumber contains potassium, which flushes out the excess sodium that can cause bloating, and it’s a hydrating vegetable, rejuvenating skin cells. Beets fight free radicals, which prematurely age the skin and cause transient blemishes. This recipe requires:
1 1/2 cucumbers
2 celery stalks
1 cup beets (with skin, for the most fiber content)
1/2 handful parsley
The beta-carotene in carrots supports youthful skin by repairing damage from sun exposure, and parsley is a cleansing herb. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, juicer, or food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Carrots and citrus
Carrots, oranges, and lemons have vitamin C, which maintains skin and hair cell health, along with calming immune system responses (inflammation of the skin, for instance). Besides beta-carotene, carrots also contain vitamins A and D, and folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and copper—all of these are needed by the body to metabolize energy.
3 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 oranges
1 ml echinacea tincture (this last ingredient is optional, suggested for folks experiencing a cold. Look for it at health food stores).
The pear adds hydration, flavor, and fiber; blend all ingredients until smooth.
3. Mean green
For a combination of energy boost and skin cleansing, reach for leafy green vegetables. Spinach and kale have vitamin K, which is good for your bones, and they’re rich in fiber. Fiber is easy for the GI tract to slowly break down and release, and the slow speed is important; when the intestines release energy too fast (as with sugars), the hormone insulin is sent out to mediate the blood sugar spikes, and can cause acne flares.
6 ounces of coconut milk
2 1/2 handfuls of spinach
1 small handful of kale
1 cup of frozen pineapples
Dash of cinnamon (a warming spice which helps digestion)
B12 drops (optional, for an extra energy lift)
Gogi berries, for their fine spread of antioxidants. Sprinkle these on top.
4. Pineapple plus
Pineapple is not to everyone’s taste, but it’s rich in nutrients—vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin B1 and B6, folate, and lots of fiber. Vitamin C is the main water-soluble antioxidant in the body: it defends against the free radicals that attack cells, like the skin cells which are the body’s primary line of defense. Manganese is essential for energy production and protecting cells from free radical attacks. And ginger root has antioxidants that prevent premature signs of aging (wrinkles, fine lines), and works to reduce acne and pimples.
1 pineapple, skinned and cut lengthwise into quarters
1 inch piece of ginger
juice of two lemons
5. Fun with fennel
This juice is great for rejuvenating the skin. The root vegetable fennel is high in vitamin C, and very hydrating, both of which lead to supple, soft skin. Plums are packed with antioxidants for skin cleansing, and bell peppers are rich in vitamins C and E, both of which encourage healthy skin. This recipe is a little more involved, but can be a whole lunch, if you’re in a hurry.
1 fennel bulb, quarters, fronds reserved
3 plums, halved and pit removed
1 small red bell pepper, quartered, stem and core removed
1 bunch red-veined sorrel (a leafy green that protects against free radical damage to skin)
Juice of 2 lemons
Combine in the blender or juicer and blend until smooth.
6. Zucchini patch
Zucchini is another mostly-water vegetable, which means it will keep your skin hydrated and rosy. Green apples contain polyphenols, a plant compound that regulate the growth of skin cells, and parsley treats acne by decreasing skin oil production (sebum). Bell peppers have lots of vitamin C, and spinach contains selenium, a mineral that repairs damage and evens age spots caused by sun exposure. Besides its added vitamin C, lemons serve to extend the shelf life of these juices.
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered, stem and core removed
2 green apples, quartered
1 bunch parsley
2 cups spinach, tightly packed
Juice of 2 lemons
7. Metabolism mug
This next juice clears skin and offers a metabolic pickup. Increasing your rate of metabolism is the clearest way to lose weight. In this juice, cucumbers and celery offer excellent hydration (which will stay with you all day), while coriander and lemon boost the metabolism, and apples contain pectin, which calms hunger pangs between meals, preventing blood sugar spikes and their related skin trouble.
5 celery stalks
1 cup of coriander seeds
1 red pepper
8. Go-to grapefruit juice
Grapefruits are good for the skin and for losing weight; they contain an enzyme that lowers insulin in the bloodstream, preventing the release of hormones that store fat. They’ve also got a lot of vitamin C, which, by this point, you may recognize as a friend to your skin. Kale makes this a filling juice—lots of fiber—and cucumber makes it hydrating. The lime is for flavor and preservation.
2 cups kale, chopped
Carrots and cabbage are both excellent sources of beta-carotene, the antioxidant carotenoid that gives skin a full, radiant glow. Beta-carotene maintains collagen leaves, keeping skin elastic and youthful, and preventing premature aging. Juice these ingredients together with ice for a summer pick-me-up.
8 leaves of cabbage
1 inch piece of ginger
10. Sweet potato potion
Rich in vitamins A and E, sweet potatoes help the skin; vitamin A heals age spots and wrinkles, vitamin E calms more surface blemishes (scars, burns) and works as a natural sunscreen. Spinach has other goodies—iron, cancer-fighting anti-inflammatory compounds—and by now you probably know what carrots and apples offer. The best part of many of these juice recipes is that you can grow the vegetables yourself, even in a 5 x 5’ raised bed. If you don’t have your own garden, visit the farmer’s market for produce; support your community and live better on local foods.
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup of spinach leaves
Combine everything in the food processor or juicer (potatoes are hard on a blender) with a cup of water. Blend until smooth, enjoy.