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The best foods for your skin

Jessica Rubino

March 9, 2010

3 Min Read
The best foods for your skin

You eat to feed your hunger. You eat to feed your health. But how often do you eat to feed your skin? Your Skin, Younger by Alan C. Logan, ND; Mark G. Rubin, MD; and Phillip M. Levy, MD, offers key tips for obtaining a clear complexion, including the best foods to protect your skin from UV rays, natural signs of aging, sugar, and more. Some foods like antioxidant-rich kale and green tea came as no surprise. But others such as cocoa and coffee are boosting their reputations in the beauty world. Try revising your skin diet with these top ingredients.

Green tea: Filled with antioxidants, green tea is a topical and internal skin care all star. Its primary antioxidant, EGCG, can help prevent UV-induced skin cancer and protects collagen (which keeps skin tight) as you age. Studies show applying it topically and taking it internally is the most effective way to go for skin care. The authors caution that not all green tea's are made equal: matcha, for example, has the most antioxidants, while artificially sweetened options contain fewer antioxidants. Fresh brewed is always best.

Fatty fish: The authors recommend eating oily, low-mercury fish (wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel) at least five times per week. The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish protect collagen and limit UV damage.

Dark red and purple fruits: Blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, cherries, blood oranges, and dark grapes contain colored pigments called anthocyanins. Not only are these antioxidant-rich chemicals associated with lower risk of diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease but the anthocyanins in berries and grapes also protect skin from UV rays, prevent the breakdown of collagen, and maintain skin levels of an antioxidant called glutathione.

Tomatoes: Recent research showed that taking lycopene juice (tomato paste) supplement decreased sunburn reaction by 50 percent compared to a group that took a synthetic lycopene supplement.

Cocoa: Chocolate has been associated with breakouts, but research shows this omega-3 fatty acid-rich ingredient can be good for your skin due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Two studies from the Journal of Nutrition found its antioxidant flavonols reduced the severity of sunburns and improved blood flow to the skin, bringing nutrients to the surface and promoting circulation (this can improve dry skin, skin thickness, and scaling). But this doesn't mean you'll reap these benefits from a chocolate bar. You'd need 329 mg of cocoa antioxidants, which translates to a whole lot of sugar and fat to get the job done. One emerging solution, according to Your Skin, Younger: cocoa chewables that provide antioxidant amounts clinically proven to have skin benefits.

Brassica vegetables: Not only are they rich in free-radical fighting antioxidants, but brassicas like arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, horseradish, kale, wasabi, and watercress but they also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut (check out how bacteria can positively affect your skin), and contain chemicals that help promote cellular detoxification, including the skin's detoxification system called phase 2.

Coffee: This antioxidant beverages act as anti-inflammatory for the skin and helps fight free radical damage. Because coffee beans have been associated with an increased production of collagen, the beans also are popular topical skin care ingredients.

Turmeric and ginger:These spices, from the same plant family, also have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help fight damage from UV rays. Check out more of the top spices for skin care.

Foods to avoid for healthiest skin:> Corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, margarine, butter, fatty meats, full-fat cheese, refined carbs such as white rice and pasta

About the Author(s)

Jessica Rubino

Vice President, Content, New Hope Network

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