The Only Thing Standing Between You and Perfect Skin is Sauerkraut

Fermented foods can leads to a clearer, glowing complexion, and it's easy to add more of them to your diet.
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Elisabeth Lamar
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Fermented foods can leads to a clearer, glowing complexion, and it's easy to add more of them to your diet.

Convinced that sauerkraut is best on a hot dog at the movies? Do you eat kimchi only at a Korean BBQ? Well, your skin would appreciate it if you changed those eating habits immediately.

It's no secret that eating a good diet is reflected in the quality of your skin, but fermented foods have remained hidden in the beauty toolbox for thousands of years. Traditional dishes like sauerkraut and kimchi can help in the prevention and treatment of both acne and wrinkles.

New research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology shows that healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract aids in the healing of inflamed skin. Probiotics that are formed during the fermentation process keep your gut full of beneficial bacteria. Simply put: good bacteria + gut = kickass skin.

So, how can you add more fermentation to your diet? Easy.

Sauerkraut can be added to fried potatoes, brown rice or rye bread with Swiss cheese.You can make your own sauerkraut if you are feeling ambitious, but you can easily purchase it if D.I.Y. is not your style. Make sure when you buy sauerkraut that it contains live cultures, and do not purchase it if it's non-refrigerated -- those probiotics must remain chilled.

Elaine Fragosa's picture makes me want to put kimchi on everything!

Elaine Fragosa's picture makes me want to put kimchi on everything!

Kimchi is a delicious accompaniment to sautéed tofu, baked fish, or steamed noodles, and it's even been paired with tacos ambitious food trucks. If you're channeling Ina Garten, go ahead and make your own kimchi to suit your individual tastes. It usually consists of Napa cabbage, red pepper, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and spring onion, but kimchi variations include oysters, radish, and cucumber.

The traditional way to store kimchi is in a clay pot, and it takes between 15 and 20 days to ferment. If your skin can't wait that long, you can also find it in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores. Just remember to serve it cold, because heating kimchi kills the good bacteria you are trying to fill your gut with!

Perhaps you find that these two cabbage centered dishes are way out of the norm from your usual eating habits. Don't worry: there are plenty of other options for enjoying fermented foods. Try eating chutney, yogurt, tempeh, pickles, miso paste, sour cream, or even fermented salsa.

You can also enjoy fermented goodness by drinking beverages like kombucha, kefir, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, hard apple cider, and homemade ginger ale or root beer. These are just a few of the possibilities and if you're looking for more ideas there are plenty of cookbooks with fermented recipes.

My glowing skin after eating lots of chutney!

My glowing skin after eating lots of chutney!

Implementing even small amounts of fermented foods into your diet can play a crucial role in a well-rounded beauty routine. You don't have to make drastic changes to your eating habits to start seeing younger-looking, clearer skin. Swapping out your daily diet soda for kombucha and choosing yogurt with live cultures is a healthy start. 

Don't be surprised if your skin begins to glow and you find yourself craving more fermented foods. Who knows? You may even ask for your very own kimchi clay pot for your next birthday.