Many people are amazed at the flawless skin of Japanese people. But if you went to Japan, you’d notice that Japanese people aren’t just product-crazy. They’re equally aware of how their traditional cuisine complements their skincare efforts. Healthy eating is part and parcel of a complete preventative skincare system. With a few dietary secrets, you too can eat your way into healthy skin this winter! Take advantage of these Japanese cuisine-inspired tips below.
Indulge in Japanese hot pot “nabe”
Nabe is a winter stew in which ingredients such as vegetables, meat, and seafood are boiled and simmered together in a flavored broth. The stew is then served directly from the hot pot. A typical Japanese nabe offers a nutritious balance of carbs, protein, fat and fiber. But there are no hard and fast rules with nabe. No matter your skin goals, tastes, and dietary preferences, nabe is customizable for everyone.
For example, poor digestion often results in chronic skin conditions, such as acne or rosacea. If you suspect your gut needs extra TLC this winter, you may opt for a broth based on fermented foods like miso and kimchi. If your skin is in need of a serious detox, you may want to include fiber-rich cabbage and cleansing shirataki noodles (shirataki is essentially a “broom” for the intestines). For a hearty dose of vitamins and omega-3s, you could take inspiration from the fishermen of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Their signature dish “Ishikari Nabe” is loaded with skin-revitalizing salmon.
The possibilities with nabe are endless, so there’s really no excuse to miss out!
Sip on detoxifying dashi
If you’ve ever heard of “dashi”, you know that it’s the clear broth that forms the backbone of Japanese cooking. It’s even credited as lending Japanese cuisine its unique, umami-packed flavor. But you may not have thought to sip dashi for your skin health! Clear broths are considered gut-healing and a great way to flush out skin-irritating toxins.
In short, dashi is a concentrated essence of a healing substance, such as B-vitamin rich shiitake mushrooms, iodine-rich dried kelp, amino-acid rich dried bonito flakes, or a combination of two or more. Unlike western-style broths, dashi can be prepared over the stovetop in just a matter of minutes. Some people also cold-brew the ingredients in the refrigerator the night before boiling, for a denser concentration. Once your dashi is ready, a whole week’s worth can be refrigerated for up to a week. Dashi is an easy way to replenish vital nutrients, detox the body, and get that healthy glow going. A cup of dashi a day keeps breakouts at bay!
Munch on a Japanese sweet potato
If you’ve never had a baked Japanese sweet potato, you haven’t lived. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy it’s sweet, creamy taste. The “satsuma-imo” or “yaki-imo” is easily found in U.S. supermarkets like Whole Foods and Trader Joes. But the satsuma-imo isn’t just delicious. It contains nutrients that stimulate hyaluronic acid production in the body. Hyaluronic acid’s unique structure helps it to bind 1000 times its weight in water, boosting moisture retention and elasticity in the skin. As we grow older, the body’s natural supply of hyaluronic acid diminishes, so dietary intake is a key way to replenish its reserves. We recommend baking your satsuma-imo in the oven, for a piping hot nutritious snack!Remember, preventative skincare is a lifestyle. It’s a holistic effort. Healthy skin does not happen without a healthy body in place first, so what we consume is as important as what we apply to our faces. And why wouldn’t you want to eat your way into a beautiful glow this winter?