Everyone says it: You are what you eat. And this is especially true when it comes to your skin. The bad news is that sugary foods apparently lead to the production of molecules that can age your skin. But there are plenty of other tasty foods that are good for you. Here are just five of them.
Wrinkle-free skin could be staring right back at you from your salad plate. A 2012 study found that red tomatoes help protect the skin from sunburn and skin aging caused by sunlight exposure thanks to the powerful antioxidant lycopene -– the natural pigment that makes tomatoes red. This ingredient is able to neutralize or "quench" harmful molecules. Professor Lesley Rhodes, dermatologist at the University of Manchester, said in a press release that: “The tomato diet significantly boosted the level of the protein procollagen, which helps keep the skin supple. These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin aging process. This is in addition to the significant reduction in sunburn." Lycopene also appears to strengthen skin by impeding the effectiveness of enzymes involved in the breakdown of collagen in the skin. Collagen helps keep skin firm while also acting against wrinkling. By the way, tomatoes ARE a fruit, botanically speaking, although they are generally considered a vegetable in the kitchen.
Not only does kiwi taste good, but it's also packed with antioxidant vitamins C and E, which help protect against UV damage. One study even showed that kiwi can help you achieve a radiance, much like a tan, in just a few weeks. And vitamin C has long been associated with less skin dryness and wrinkling. While people usually think of citrus fruits when they think of vitamin C, kiwis actually boast more vitamin C -- one serving offers 137.2 milligrams -- than oranges.
Avocados, which are actually classified as a fruit, are rich in mono-unsaturated fat that is actually good for your heart, making it a so-called "superfood". But avocados also offer remarkable benefits for aging skin. They boast antioxidant carotenoids like alpha carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein. These free radical quenching compounds provide substantial protection for your skin from the environmental damage that can cause fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. They also contain a sizable amount of vitamin C, which is also good for healthy skin. Still not convinced? Well, even celebrities swear by the use of avocado as a face mask.
Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries taste great -- and they're also good for your skin. Packed with antioxidants, berries can protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. In addition, blueberries are vascular constrictors, meaning they help decrease redness for those with sensitive skin. And strawberries spur production of collagen fibers that keep your skin smooth and supple, thanks to all the vitamin C they contain. Raspberries, too, can protect your skin from the sun and skin cancer, thanks to their antioxidants and vitamin C.
Not only can lemons fight against throat infections, indigestion and constipation, and a whole bunch of other troubling health issues, they also can help remove wrinkles and blackheads. The vitamin C in lemons boosts collagen production while the citric acid helps treat acne and pimples. In Mexico, women create a scrub by mixing sugar and lemon juice together. The sugar crystals act as an exfoliant and the lemon juice contains alpha hydroxy acid, found in many anti-aging treatments, which helps remove dead skin cells. (Just make sure you rinse well before you go out in the sun!)
What foods, if any, do you eat for your skin? Let us know in comments.