Feeling ruddy in the face? Pores feeling a little big? Dry skin? Sallow color? Fear not—the answer might just be under your nose, literally on your plate.
Not only is your skin the largest organ in your body, it’s also the most visible, and it’s at risk of being damaged by the effects of free radicals in our atmosphere.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness and wrinkles. By now we are all pretty well-schooled in avoiding UV rays (with daily and relentless sunscreen applications), but what nutrients can we feed our skin with to make it glow?
According to nutritionist, Maria Patricia Restrepo, “Artificial foods are the biggest no-no, as they literally suck the liveliness from our skin.” With that in mind, she recommends instead “opting for live, fresh foods—food that exists in its original state.” She notes that great skin can be helped by eating high levels of the chemical elements needed for optimal connective tissue found in foods such as collard greens, beet greens, beets, and papaya.
We went on to scour the web to bring you a comprehensive list of foods that will make you feel more like Charlize Theron on the red carpet, and less like her character in Monster.
This fruit—rich in essential oils and B-complex vitamins that nourish the skin—is so good for the complexion that many make masks out of it and smear it right onto their face.
Flavonals, the antioxidants in dark chocolate, reduce roughness in the skin and protect against sun damage; studies show that women who drink cocoa fortified with 326 milligrams of flavonals a day have better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays than those who didn’t get as much of the antioxidants.
This sweet oil is loaded with “good fats” that restore moisture to the skin.
This ‘80s weight loss favorite is making a comeback this year as a go-to for optimal skin maintenance. Cottage cheese has selenium and other essential minerals known to combat flaking skin and dandruff.
These are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to erase spots and smooth fine lines.
FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is not only effective against colds. It’s also an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage. New research shows that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of vitamin C, not only neutralizes free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage. Blueberries, blackberries and guava are loaded with V-C.
This gem from the East reduces redness, swelling and irritation and is thought to be one of the best combatants against the body’s inflammation.
These tropical fruits have more than 80% of the required vitamins known for restoring skin cells.
There’s a fungus among us—or at least there should be, as shrooms contain a lot of Vitamin B12 and can dramatically repair damaged tissue.
OYSTERS & MUSSELS
Bet you didn’t know mollusks would make your mug magnificent. But it’s true: oysters are loaded with zinc, which help fight saggy skin by giving its elasticity a boost. Mussels, which are loaded with iron, help prevent the skin from appearing pale and pasty.
RED & GREEN VEGETABLES
The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which prevents cell damage and premature aging, and colorful veggies, such as red peppers and spinach and other leafy foods are loaded with beta-carotene.
Full of polyphenols, red wine helps prevent cell oxidation that causes the skin to age.
SEA BUCKTHORN BERRIES
Nourishing the skin and hair and stimulating collagen production, this Himalayan fruit is loaded with antioxidants, Omega-7 and vitamin C.
Rich in Vitamin A, these healthy orange ‘taters, help speed up our body’s cellular turnover.
Processed (or refined) flours can cause spikes in insulin, which can create acne. Switching to whole grains instead of processed carbohydrates is not only good for your diet, it can actually improve your skin.