Eat your way to beautiful skin

Hello world! My name is Mai. I am a firm believer in the theory that you are what you eat. Here are the 10 foods to nourish your skin from inside-out:

  1. Dark chocolate: Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it firmer and more supple, Dr. Bank says. “And dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant,” adds Nicholas Perricone, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. For maximum flavonol content, eat chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cacao. A couple of squares a day should be enough to improve luminosity. “When applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness,” says Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of Feed Your Face.
  2. Yogurt: The protein you get from eating dairy helps skin become firmer, so it’s more resistant to lines, Dr. Wu says. Greek yogurt is especially beneficial. “The protein content is often double that of regular yogurt,” Dr. Perricone adds. Eat a single serving daily to make your complexion smoother,
  3. Pomegranates: They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants, Dr. Perricone says. Polyphenols fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. One pomegranate or a few glasses of juice daily should do the trick. When applied to skin, the fruits’ antioxidants help smooth lines and moisturize, Dr. Bank says.
  4. Broccoli: This cruciferous veggie is high in antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. The vitamin C in broccoli aids in collagen production and keeps your skin healthy and supple, while vitamin E protects your skin cell membranes and guards against UV radiation damage.
  5. Almonds: These nuts are one of the best food sources of vitamin E. Eat whole almonds as a snack or add sliced almonds to salads, cereal, yogurt, stir–fry or baked goods. You can also toast almond slivers and serve them on top of fish, chicken, or even rice or pasta dishes. The vitamin E in almonds can help nourish your skin and protect it from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Just be sure to eat them in moderation, since almonds and other nuts are calorie–dense.
  6. Fish: Salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and rainbow trout all contain omega–3 fats, which help fortify skin cell membranes, protect against sun damage, and may also reduce the risk of certain forms of skin cancer. These healthy fats allow water and nutrients into the skin while keeping toxins out, and may also fight inflammation in the skin. Just don’t cancel out the benefits of eating fish by preparing it in unhealthy ways. Avoid deep–fried fish, and go for baked, grilled, roasted or poached instead!
  7. Water: It’s not a “food,” per se, but water is crucial when it comes to skin health because it flushes toxins out of your body, delivers nutrients to your cells, and keeps your organs functioning. It also helps keep your cells plump and full, which makes your skin look firmer and clearer. To get more water in your daily diet, fill up a large reusable container with ice–cold water each morning, and keep drinking from it throughout the day. And drinking water isn’t the only way to keep your skin cells hydrated. Many fruits and veggies are more than 75 percent water (by weight), so they’re a terrific source of H2O, too.
  8. Blueberries: This low-profile berry was ranked number one in antioxidant activity by the U.S. Department of Agriculture compared to 40 common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in blueberries protect you from premature aging, so add half a cup to your yogurt or cereal every day.
  9. Spinach: This leafy green vegetable is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Spinach is loaded with lutein, which keeps your eyes healthy and sparkling. Spinach is also a good source of vitamins B, C, and E, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Trade your lettuce for spinach, or saute spinach for a quick, healthy side.
  10. Olive oil: When researchers in a 2012 study in PLOS ONE analyzed the diets of 1264 women, they found that a higher consumption of olive oil (more than 8.4 grams or 2 teaspoons a day) was associated with 31% fewer signs of aging compared to people who ate less than 3.8 grams (about 1 teaspoon). Olive oil beat out the other oils tested, including sunflower and peanut. Why? About 75% of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, which may play a role in the youth boost. The antioxidant polyphenols in olive oil could also quench damaging free radicals.
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