This yummy pesto sauce is made with kale, basil and extra virgin olive oil, which are both skin-loving ingredients thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Whether you top your salmon or zoodles with this kale & basil pesto, it will leave your dinner guests and your skin begging for seconds. Here’s why:
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable (like broccoli and cauliflower) which are known cancer-fighters. It’s extremely high in vitamin K at almost 700% of your daily needs in one cup. Outside of its skin benefits, kale supports heart and eye health, too.
A part of the mint family, basil is an aromatic herb that has been used for medical and religious purposes for centuries. Some of its uses include supporting heart health and protecting against diabetes.
Let’s go through why these two greens ingredients are superstars in the skin department.
The antioxidants found in both kale and basil help to combat free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that form as a result of smoking, natural bodily processes and toxins in the diet and environment. A buildup of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, which can then contribute to a variety of diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
However, antioxidants decrease the harmful effects of free radicals. This helps to reduce signs of aging or damage to the skin.
At the core of acne are oxidative stress and inflammation. And acne-sufferers usually have higher levels of both in their body. When this happens, a perfect storm for acne bacteria and clogged pores starts brewing. Hello, breakouts.
Thankfully, kale and basil are powerhouses in the anti-inflammatory department. Research shows that the essential oils found in basil – citronellol, eugenol and linalool – work to decrease inflammation in the body and skin.
Studies have shown that basil can promote a healthy liver. This herb can reduce the risk of fat build-up in the liver and support the production of detoxifying enzymes.
When it comes to kale, this a place all cruciferous vegetables shine. Kale contains isothiocyanates (ITCs) that support detoxification at a cellular level and support the enzymes involved in phase 2 liver detoxification.
A properly functioning liver is super important for clear skin because it helps eliminate toxins and filter hormones. If the liver is overloaded with chemicals and hormones, however, skin issues like acne can start to pop up.
On top of its high content of healthy fats, the extra virgin olive oil in this vegan basil pesto can lower inflammation in the gut. It does so by decreasing harmful bacteria, supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria and increasing microbially-produced short-chain fatty acids.
Reducing inflammation in the gut is the key to clear skin. And not just for acne– rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and many topical skin issues are linked back to the gut.
It’s why I have it as the first pillar in my acne program, The Clear Skin Solution.
So if you suffer from acne, be sure to add this vegan basil pesto to your anti-inflammatory menu plan.