Foods For Your Skin welcomes guest blogger Valerie Johnston. You can follow her on twitter @healthline and find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/healthlinenetworks.
There is a fortune being made in peddling skin creams to aging baby boomers these days, who appear to be searching for the fountain of youth in a bottle. Instead of scouring the shelves of your local drugstore, try checking out your own refrigerator and pantry. A lot of ingredients needed for healthy, glowing skin may already be at your fingertips. Only you may not be applying them topically; the best way to improve your skin is from the inside out.
Green Leaves for Great Skin
The all around favorite for maintaining healthy skin is green tea, thanks to its antioxidant polyphenols, which help prevent DNA damage, protect the skin from UV rays and help repair existing damage. Sipping green tea also improves hydration.
When it comes to green, spinach and kale are great sources of lutein, which also helps with skin hydration.
For Maintaining Elasticity
Low-fat dairy, and especially yogurt provides plenty of antioxidant vitamin A in a readily absorbed form. Your skin absolutely craves this vitamin, which promotes production of collagen, a protein critical to your skin’s structure. Collagen and elastin combine to give your skin its elasticity.
Fish can also help fight wrinkles and sagging, especially wild salmon, which is rich in the antioxidant pigment astaxanthin. A great source of lean protein, tuna, swordfish and salmon also supply plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight UV radiation damage, reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
Dark chocolate, once fraudulently accused of causing acne breakouts, is now touted as a super food. Loaded with antioxidant flavonoids, dark chocolate not only protects the blood vessels and heart, but also protects your skin from UV damage. Applied topically, cocoa butter preserves skin’s moisture and elasticity.
To Maintain a Healthy Glow
Nuts are high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which boost your circulatory system. Almonds are a favorite, but for healthy skin, Brazil nuts are loaded with antioxidant vitamin E and have been shown to boost skin circulation. Also excellent sources of selenium, Brazil nuts help keep your immune system functioning properly.
Defending Against Free Radicals
Berries are your skin’s ultimate line of defense against free radicals; the brighter in color the better. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries and black raspberries are chock full of natural pigments with powerful antioxidant properties. These high concentrations of antioxidants not only ward off diseases like cancer, but round up damage-causing free radicals created by solar radiation, pollution and cigarette smoke.
Another disease fighting ingredient is the spice turmeric, which gives mustards and curries their brilliant color and zesty flavor. Consumed in India with nearly every meal, turmeric’s powerful disease fighting ingredient is called curcumin, a collection of surprisingly powerful chemicals. Not only is curcumin believed to fight off squamous cell carcinomas, it reduces inflammation and skin damage from free radicals.
The Bs Have It
Whole grain foods are a terrific source of B vitamins such as niacin, folate and rutin, along with magnesium and zinc, all of which are extremely important for healthy skin. They are also a good source of digestive fiber, unlike their refined cousins.
Olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, but also contains antioxidant plant phytochemicals believed to improve your health. Scientists are still adding up the many benefits of olives and olive oil, both internally and when applied to the skin to treat dermatitis.
SPF Fruits and Veggies
Kiwi contains more antioxidant vitamin C than citrus, which is essential for maintaining and building collagen. And kiwis, sweet potatoes and blueberries are also loaded with vitamin E, which helps protect the skin from radiation damage.
Tomatoes have also been proven to protect the skin from sunburn and wrinkling due to sun damage. One study concluded that women who ate more tomatoes were better protected from UV radiation than those who did not. Loaded with the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes are also another excellent source of vitamin C.
Loaded with vitamin C, cantaloupe also protects skin from sunburn and reduces inflammation, as do pomegranates.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.