If you’ve ever met a French woman and tried to guess her age, it is quite likely that your guess would be years off. French women are known for taking exceptionally good care of themselves. And, if it’s one thing they never overlook, it is their skin. The classic French woman has flawless, radiant skin, that makes her look years younger than she really is. But how do French women maintain such beautiful skin? Many reports point to the plethora of anti-aging and other skin care products that they use. While creams, especially those with SPF, play a substantial role in keeping skin beautiful, they generally focus on the outside of the skin. The food we eat, and the vitamins and minerals in them, also play a significant part in keeping our skin healthy and young looking, from the inside out.
In the last decade, there has been substantial research on how specific foods – superfoods – can help defend against certain diseases, while others help us maintain overall health. Research suggests that foods high in certain antioxidants—vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin A —nourish and protect skin, keeping it looking young and healthy, while other nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids help fight off harmful toxins in the body.
So, if you can’t afford expensive anti-aging creams but would like to maintain a clear complexion and a youthful glow, look no further than the produce section!
12 Superfoods for Great Looking Skin:
- YOGURT: Yogurt contains live bacteria called acidophilus, which promotes good digestion. But, yogurt also contains vitamin A, the vitamin that maintains the body’s protective skin layers, preventing dry, cracked skin and nasal passages.
- BERRIES: Berries of just about any kind provide great health benefits for the body. But there are a few specific types that do wonders for the skin. Strawberries contain one of the highest levels of antioxidants which help stop free-radicals (produced from sun damage) from damaging the skin. Other good berries include raspberries and cranberries and, more unusual berries, like acai berries and goji berries, also get rave reviews from experts. Acai berries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins and flavonoids that help defend the body against life’s stressor and, like strawberries, can help neutralize free-radicals and prevent sun damage. Goji berries, which look like red raisins, are used to enhance immune-system function, improve eyesight, protect the liver, improve circulation, and promote longevity. But, Goji berries also are a rich source of vitamin C, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help fight wrinkles.
- NUTS: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to skin health. These healthy fats help maintain cell membranes so that they are effective barriers—allowing water and nutrients in, and keeping toxins out. Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, which also helps protect cell membranes and guard against UV radiation damage. Some research suggests that vitamin E may work in combination with vitamin C to provide an extra boost of anti-aging skin protection.
- CANTALOUPE: Cantaloupe has been known to keep the skin firm and bright. Just 1/4 of a cantaloupe melon is an excellent source for vitamin A, converted from the melon’s high concentration of beta carotene. Beta carotene/vitamin A is involved in the growth and repair of body tissues, and may protect against sun damage. Cantaloupe is also full of vitamin C, the potent antioxidant that encourages skin cell turnover and supports the formation of collagen – the connective tissues that give your skin its elasticity and youthful fullness.
- GREEN TEA: Green tea contains the highest levels of EGCG, which reduces inflammation and lowers your risk of skin cancer. Even more benefit-rich than green tea, Japanese matcha tea offers 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice.
- SALMON: Like walnuts, Salmon is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is necessary for cell membrane health.
- LEAFY GREENS: Dark leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, are rich in vitamin A which is great for clearing up acne and promoting skin repair.
- WHOLE-WHEAT BREADS: Whole-wheat breads are high in selenium, which helps safeguard the skin from sun damage and delays aging by protecting skin quality and elasticity. If you’ve had your fill of carbs, good sources of selenium also include Brazil nuts, tuna (canned light in water), crab, and wheat germ.
- CITRUS FRUITS: Citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges, are very high in vitamin C, a strong antioxidant which protects skin cells from being damaged by the body’s free radicals.
- HONEY: Research has shown that honey has many “healing” properties, aiding digestion, soothing a sore throat, and helping to fight off the cold and flu. But, due to its antioxidant properties, just a small amount of honey a day also can keep the free radicals away.
- DARK CHOCOLATE: If you needed an excuse to eat chocolate, well here’s a great one! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and, the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants.
- WATER: Although it’s not technically a “food”, drinking lots of water each day can help keep your skin hydrated and refreshed. Drinking water can also help flush out the harmful toxins from your body, which can help prevent those untimely breakouts.
Not only are these superfoods less expensive than anti-aging creams, but you don’t have to go to a fancy department store to buy them – they are available in your local grocery store! So, the next time you head to the market, remember that healthy, young looking skin is just an aisle away.