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As the saying goes, we are what we eat… Now this can work to your advantage or disadvantage, depending on the foods and beverages you choose to indulge in. What you put on your plate has power to improve your skin.
This vegetable is orange thanks to high levels of beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A (which also happens to be a form of the main active ingredient in Retin-A). This vitamin is an antioxidant has been found to decrease the skin’s oil production, and there’s also some evidence that it can improve psoriasis. You can also find vitamin A in leafy greens, squash and mangoes.
In addition to the protein you get from snacking on almonds, you also get a big dose of vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant helps prevent signs of aging caused by free radicals and may even bolster your skin’s defense against skin cancer. Studies also suggest that vitamin E consumed orally can increase its levels on the skin’s surface, which is good news for those with dry skin.
Safflower and Sunflower Oil
Swapping out your olive oil for safflower or sunflower oil can work wonders for your skin. It still has the great taste, but it’s higher in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid helps your skin hold onto water (by helping your skin produce ceramides.) These oils are great to eat or use topically for those with dry skin.
If you were to only eat one vegetable (although I advise you get a wide variety), make it broccoli. It contains myriad good-for-your-skin vitamins including A (a retinoid); C, which is a fantastic antioxidant that also supports collagen production; and K, which speeds bruise healing and may even help improve dark under-eye circles.
Fruits and vegetables owe their vibrant colors to antioxidants, and berries are a wonderful source. If your diet includes blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and the like, you’ll get a range of protective antioxidants that shield your skin from free radicals.
Not only is dark chocolate a treat for your sweet tooth, it’s a treat for your skin, too. Cacao contains high levels of polyphenol antioxidants, but any old chocolate won’t do. Look for high cacao concentrations (high quality chocolates will give a % on the label) because these have less sugar, which can actually be bad for your skin.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, the high concentration of water in watermelon can actually reduce the water retention that leads to puffiness around the eyes. And because watermelon is low in sugar (as compared to many other fruits), you don’t have to worry about glycation, the chemical reaction that compromises collagen and leads to lines and wrinkles.
Pineapple contains enzymes that help break down the purple pigment in bruises. A herbal pill called Bromelain that is used to treat bruising is actually a pineapple extract that many surgeons suggest using after cosmetic surgery. If you bruise a lot, eating pineapple may make them clear sooner.
Many foods are good for your skin. Green tea, red wine, and tomatoes are other foods shown to have skin benefits. It is important to vary your diet with skin improving ingredients that have been shown to be beneficial for your skin type.