Your skin is the largest organ in the body and it endures a lot of wear and tear over its life. Knowing how to take care of your skin is important, but a lot of times discussions about skin care are focused on over-the-counter cosmetic products that make big claims about being able to turn back the clock. Sometimes it can be hard to tell exactly how those products achieve that claim, whether it’s through exotic ingredients or doctor-designed chemical compounds.
One easy way – and certainly a more cost-effective way – to get around this is to become an expert on foods that can help strengthen your skin. Not only do you get the benefit of helping your epidermis, but you also get the body-beneficial nutrients that come with a steady diet of fruits and vegetables.
Here’s how skincare specialist Dr. Jessica Wu described how the body uses nutrients to benefit your skin:
“I tell my patients that what they put in their mouths is as important as the products they apply on their skin. Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. If you crash diet or eat highly processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be.”
We’ve put together a list of four different fruits and vegetables that can increase your skin health.
Olive Oil Has That Mediterranean Magic
Prevention magazine’s Jessica Girdwain wrote a 2013 article titled, “25 Best Foods for Your Skin”. First on her list? Olive oil.
Her recommendation was based on a 2012 study in which researchers found that “a higher consumption of olive oil (more than 8.4 grams) was associated with 31% fewer signs of aging compared to people who ate less than 3.8 grams.” The 8.4 grams mentioned here is about 2 teaspoons, a daily amount you can easily consume just by whipping up a quick olive-oil based salad dressing.
Carrots Are Excellent for More Than Just Eyesight
Think carrots are good for eyes and that’s it? Think again, WebMD says. These sweet, crunchy vegetables have tons of Vitamin A, an antioxidant that fights against free radicals that float around in your body and damage cells. “Getting your carotenoids (phytochemicals that your body converts to Vitamin A) from foods is your safest bet,” WebMD says, “because you’re far more likely to get too much vitamin A from supplements than from foods rich in carotenoids.”
Carrots aren’t the only vegetable or fruit with high vitamin A content though. According to WebMD, other top sources are: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mangoes, spinach, cantaloupe, kale and tomatoes.
Tomatoes Can Tame the Sun
Those who’ve had to deal with pre-cancerous or cancerous skin spots can attest to the power the sun has over our well-being.
Sunscreens do an excellent job of protecting you – did you slather it on last time you went to the beach? – but it also doesn’t hurt to add some tomatoes to your diet. Dr. Wu says tomatoes include an ingredient that helps protect your body from harmful UV rays.
“They’re high in the antioxidant lycopene, which helps fight free radicals,” Dr. Wu says. “The antioxidant is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes have been cooked, which releases it from the plant cells.”
She also points out that you can pair your tomatoes with avocadoes or olive oil to help your body to absorb lycopene. Another tip? The redder the tomato, the higher the lycopene content.
Kiwi Kicks Up Your Vitamin C Content
These fuzzy little fruits have 120% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Why is that important? According to Lisa Drayer, author of The Beauty Diet, vitamin C stimulates the growth of collagen, one of the main building blocks of your skin.
“C stimulates collagen synthesis, which keeps skin taught and smoothes fine lines,” she told Prevention’s Jessica Girdwain.
Conclusions: It’s Time for More Fruits and Vegetables
There are dozens of other lists out there that will tell you which fruits and vegetables are best for your skin. We picked just a few of those recommendations, but if you want to learn more we suggest taking a look at the Prevention magazine article we mentioned earlier.
It offers a list of 25 different foods (not just fruits and vegetables) thatU.S. can help your skin.
Also, take a look at the Choose My Plate initiative, the government’s guidelines for meals. Their recommendation is to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
About the Author: J.R. Duren is a regular contributor to the Skin Guards Skin Care Blog.
This Skin Care Blog is proudly sponsored by SKIN GUARDS.