For a more youthful glow and added sun protection, look inside your fridge and pantry. There’s a deep connection between nutritious food and healthy skin.

By Marge Perry
August 26, 2020
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From the Inside Out…

One easy thing you can do for healthier skin? Eat foods high in antioxidants, such as fresh berries, citrus, leafy greens, grapes, watermelon, cherries, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. Antioxidants fight free radicals caused by sun, pollution, and other environmental stressors — and by doing so, minimize lines, elasticity loss, wrinkles, and dull and uneven skin tone.

… & From the Outside In

Some of the same ingredients that support your skin’s health when eaten also work when applied on the outside in topical lotions and serums. In a recent study, skin treated with an antioxidant-rich cream showed a 37 percent improvement in wrinkles after 16 weeks. Another study found sunscreens containing topical antioxidants were more effective at protecting against sun damage than sunscreen alone. 

28: That's the number of days it takes your skin to slough off and replace its outer layer of dead cells. Just thing: every 28 days, your skin's surface is renewed!

Skin Savers

blueberries, avocado, strawberries, oats, and almonds
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Sunscreen, protective clothing, and annual checkups can protect against skin cancer. Foods high in these key nutrients may help, too, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation

Beta-Carotene

Boost your immune system with orange foods, including carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe, and mangoes.

Lycopene

Go for red (and pink) when you eat. Lycopene eaters are significantly less likely to get sunburned. Eat plenty of tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, and blood oranges.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s fight both the inflammation linked to skin cancer and COX-2, an enzyme linked to skin cancer promotion. Eat plenty of fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna, as well as nuts and seeds, including walnuts and flaxseeds.

woman in kitchen preparing healthy salad
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Polyphenols

These antioxidants, found in green and black tea, inhibit tumor growth and repair UV-damaged skin. Green tea helps fight skin cancer, both when consumed and applied topically. One study showed that drinking 5 to 6 cups of green tea a day significantly reduces risk of skin cancer.

Vitamin E

This is the skin’s superpower nutrient: Vitamin E absorbs energy from damaging UV light, helping to prevent free-radical damage. Snack on almonds and sunflower seeds and include plenty of asparagus, avocado, and spinach in your diet.

8 million: The number of Americans who have psoriasis, an immune disease that causes red, scaly patches on the skin, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Diet alone can’t cure this chronic inflammatory disorder, but some people report reduced symptoms when they follow an anti-inflammatory diet that includes avocado, olive oil, cold-water fish, seeds, and nuts.

Save Those Grounds

coffee beans and coffee grounds
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The jury is still out on whether drinking a cup of coffee provides any antiaging benefits. But here’s something coffee really is good for when it comes to our skin: The grounds make a terrific exfoliator. Because they don’t dissolve in water, they keep their texture. Mix coffee grounds with sugar and a little plain yogurt (there is evidence fermented dairy may be good for skin, too) for an inexpensive, effective exfoliating wash. 

REDUCE rosacea: Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes facial flushing and redness, and can also appear as small acne-like pimples. There is no known cause, but according to the National Rosacea Society, diet can trigger flare-ups. Patients report reactions to spicy food, alcohol, tomatoes, citrus, and chocolate. Studies show a diet with fiber-rich and probiotic ingredients may help.

Healthy Skin Starts in the Kitchen

honey
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Anti-inflammatory turmeric, exfoliating yogurt, and hydrating honey nourish your skin, according to Dr. Jessica Wu, dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face. Use her DIY mask for a beauty-boosting facial.

Honey-Turmeric Face Mask

Stir together 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. ground turmeric, and 1 tsp. honey with a fork until it forms a smooth paste. (Stir in 1 to 2 Tbsp. buttermilk to thin as needed.) Apply evenly to face and leave on 10 minutes. (This mixture can stain, so wear an old T-shirt and have a towel handy to catch drips.) Wipe off with a damp cloth and wash your face with your favorite cleanser. Pat dry.

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.

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