Nothing beats the taste and quality of food that you have grown yourself, and the higher nutrition levels that you will find in these ingredients can do wonders for your body. Even if you do not have a garden, here are 10 skin-boosting foods that are so easy to grow on a sunny windowsill.
1. Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes are fantastic for the skin, primarily because they are packed with lycopene.
Wondering what lycopene is?
It is an extremely powerful antioxidant, with thousands of studies backing up the way in which it can protect the skin from UV damage. Research has shown that those who eat a diet rich in tomatoes tend to enjoy 33% more protection from the sun’s UV rays.
Although tomatoes alone are not an adequate substitute for sunscreen, since they only have an SPF of about 1.3, they can still greatly magnify the effects that your standard sunscreen has.
If so, it may be worth learning how to grow your own tomatoes at home, because nothing compares to the taste of a freshly picked tomato off the vine.
Since you need to be mindful of space, you would be best off opting for a dwarf variety, such as cherry tomatoes. Here are a few other varieties worth considering, with each one having its own unique taste:
- Pretty Patio
- Red Cushion
- Early Salad
- Tiny Tim
Since cherry tomatoes are quite small, they do not require a large pot, and you can opt for a small to medium sized container instead. Alternatively, try growing them in a hanging basket, as these enable them to be high off the ground, meaning that they will take up far less space.
Spinach does not require much space to grow, and only needs a few hours of sun each day, making it perfect for your windowsill.
Wondering how spinach benefits your skin?
The answer is: in so many ways!
- Anti-Aging – spinach contains a high amount of vitamin A, which is known for being one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there, because it speeds up cell turnover, maintains skin health, and slows down the aging process.
- Skin Repair – everything from UV rays to pollution can damage your skin, but spinach contains plenty of vitamin C, which helps your skin cells to heal and repair themselves
- Dark Circles – dark circles under the eyes can be frustrating to deal with, but the vitamin K found in spinach is great for clearing these
- Hydration – spinach is quite a moisture-rich food, making it great for keeping the skin and body hydrated
Wondering how to have a never-ending spinach supply on your windowsill?
Simply grab a shallow planter – 6inches deep is all you need. Then, sow some spinach seeds, keep the soil moist, and then sit back and watch your greens grow.
The more you harvest your spinach leaves, the faster they will grow, so make the most of them once they reach an adequate size.
With over 80 different nutrients found in basil, it is a surprise that this humble herb is not being touted as the next superfood.
There have been plenty of studies carried out on this ingredient, all of which point to the incredible benefits that basil can have for the body and skin.
Here are a few:
- Antibacterial properties make it great for fighting bacteria and acne
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- A great source of vitamin A
- High in magnesium, which can help to regulate the skin’s oil production
- Also contains significant levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, iron and manganese
If you have already had a look at some of the basil seeds and plants out there, you are likely already aware of the sheer variety available. There are over 60 varieties of basil that you can grow, each with slightly different appearances and tastes, although they will all contain similar nutritional levels.
This is an easy herb to grow on your windowsill, requiring nothing more than a small pot and regular watering.
No matter where in the world you live, you should be able to grow chillies on your windowsill, as long as the area is relatively warm, and receives sunlight. This is a beautiful plant to grow, as the chillies are so colorful and ornamental as their shades transform, and the flowers that come before this are a delight to look at.
Many people do not realize that just a tablespoon of chilli contains 108% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, an antioxidant that does so much for the skin.
Here are a few of the other skin, as well as general health, benefits that chillies can have:
- Contains B vitamins and folic acid, both of which are great for the skin
- Helps to fight infections
- Maintains a healthy circulation
- Decreases blood pressure
- Improves cognitive function
If you are new to growing plants, you may be best off buying a mature chilli plant from a garden center, and simply potting this up in a container of your choice for your windowsill.
However, if you have a green thumb, you should definitely sow your own chilli seeds, as this gives you so much more choice over the varieties that you can choose. From tiny vibrant purple chillies to elegant electric yellow chillies, you could even choose a variety based on the color scheme and décor of the room that it is to go in.
5. Garlic Greens
While it is possible to grow actual garlic bulbs on your windowsill, garlic greens, which are also known as garlic scapes, are a much quicker, and easier, alternative. This is basically garlic in a younger form, before its cloves have had time to mature.
When it comes to the skin, garlic greens are an antiseptic, and are also anti-inflammatory, making them effective at helping with a wide range of skin conditions.
This is an easy one to grow, if you follow these steps:
- Purchase some fresh garlic cloves, and then plant each clove into some soil, with its pointed side facing upwards
- Keep the soil moist, but do not over-water
- In a few days, you will see a green shoot emerging from each clove
- Once the shoot is long enough, harvest it by cutting off a few inches from the top
Wondering how you would use garlic greens?
You could either use them to garnish dishes, or allow the leaves to replace garlic gloves in just about any recipe
Sprouts are likely to be one of the healthiest foods that you will ever grow, as they are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. In many cases, the nutrients contained in sprouts far exceed those that you will find in mature vegetables.
So, what exactly are sprouts?
Sprouts are basically seeds that have only just sprouted, meaning that sprouts can come in so many different varieties. You could create sprout versions of any plant out there, from sunflowers to coriander to carrots to beans.
While sprouts do require a bit of care and attention to grow, there are plenty of step-by-step guides online that will walk you through this.
Don’t forget, if you are a big fan of sprouts, you can stagger the way in which you grow them, as this will mean that you will have fresh sprouts to enjoy each and every day.
Microgreens are the next step on from sprouts, in that this is what the sprouts would look like if they had been able to continue growing. Just like with sprouts, these mini greens are usually much more nutrient-dense than their adult alternatives.
When it comes to growing microgreens, there is no reason as to why you cannot grow multiple seed varieties all together, as this will give you even more nutrients, as well as more flavor.
To give your skin a bit of a treat, these are some of the microgreens that you should consider growing:
- Broccoli and kale – broccoli and kale sprouts and microgreens contain high levels of sulforaphane, which can significantly protect the skin from UV rays, while reducing redness and repairing skin damage
- Arugula – high in vitamins A, C and K
- Purple Cabbage – Especially high in vitamin A
- Radish – high in vitamins, as well as many skin-boosting minerals, such as zinc, selenium, phosphorous, calcium, omega 3 and potassium
- Pak Choi – improves skin tone and reduces blemishes and discoloration
While standard, long carrots require quite a bit of depth in order to grow, there are many round and globe varieties out there that are perfectly suited for growing on a windowsill, and will taste far sweeter and richer than store-bought versions.
Carrots are a vegetable that you are best off growing from seed, and this can be done in just about any size of container, although keep in mind that the size and shape of your container will have a direct impact on the size of your carrots.
How long does it take to grow some carrots?
Usually just under a month, so it will not be long before you are enjoying your first harvest.
Wondering why you would want to grow carrots?
This root vegetable is packed with beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A once it is in your body. As mentioned above, vitamin A can help with a number of skin issues, from speeding up cell turnover to minimizing wrinkles and fine lines.
While you may think that eating carrots raw is best, the beta-carotene becomes much more bio-available when it is cooked, so do not be afraid to experiment with the many cooked carrot recipes out there.
Lemons are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that can do wonders for your skin. In addition to enjoying the benefits of vitamin C when consuming a lemon, do not forget that this is an ingredient that can also be used topically on your skin.
Here are a few ideas:
- Contains citric acid that can lighten and brighten skin tone
- Applying lemon juice to lips will exfoliate them
- Mixed with tea tree oil, lemon juice can be a great toner
- Lemon juice is antibacterial, making it great for blackheads and acne
Lemon plants can take two to three years to produce fruit, but, fortunately, two or three year old lemon plants are easily available at most garden centers. The plant itself is relatively easy to look after, but keep in mind that citrus trees enjoy moist air, so give them a mist with a water spray every once in a while.
Mushrooms are a common ingredient all over the world, but many people do not realize just how fantastic mushrooms are for the skin.
In fact, there are now so many studies out there that back up some of the many benefits that mushrooms can have:
- Anti-inflammatory properties that can help with acne, eczema and rosacea
- Rich in vitamin D, selenium and antioxidants, all of which protect the skin from environmental damage
- Improves skin tone
- Reduces wrinkles
- Heals oxidative stress
- Some mushrooms can enhance the layer of fat beneath the skin, resulting in a smoother and plumper complexion
In fact, mushrooms are so powerful that you will now find their extracts in many topical skin care products, from serums to creams.
You may be wondering…
“Can I really grow mushrooms on my windowsill?”
Well, technically, the answer is no, but you can still grow them in a cool and dark area of your house.
Your best bet, if you are new to growing mushrooms, is to purchase a mushroom-growing kit, as this will provide you with everything that you need, as well as clear instructions to follow.