Our guide to beauty foods gives new meaning to “You Are What You Eat.”
Text: Katherine Brooking, MS, RD
May 27, 2010
1 of 13
If you’ve been filling up on doughnuts, soft drinks, and candy, it may be taking a toll on not just your health, but also your looks. Nutrient-rich foods can keep you fit and reduce your risk of heart disease and even some cancers. And research shows that some foods may enhance the radiance of your skin, hair, and give your metabolism a kick start. Here’s our list of beauty foods to keep you looking and feeling fit and beautiful this summer.
2 of 13
Did you know that in addition to being a delicious fruit strawberries can also keep your skin looking gorgeous? The vitamin C in strawberries acts as an important building block of collagen—the underlying supporting structure of skin. Just 1 cup of strawberries contains over 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.
Eating even one meal that contains capsaicin—the compound that gives hot sauce and chile peppers their heat—not only reduces levels of hunger-causing ghrelin, but also raises GLP-1, an appetite-suppressing hormone, indicates research in the European Journal of Nutrition. Scientists also found that people who drank capsaicin-spiced tomato juice before each meal over the course of two days ingested 16% fewer calories than those who drank it plain.
4 of 13
Just six leaves of romaine lettuce provide more than 100% of your DV of vitamin A, which revitalizes skin by increasing cell turnover. Plus the mineral potassium in romaine gives skin a refreshing boost of nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation.
5 of 13
Eating red may help save your skin from turning red! Volunteers who consumed 5 tablespoons of high-in-lycopene tomato paste daily for 3 months had nearly 25% more protection against sunburn in one study.
Quercetin, an antioxidant in the peel of many varieties, provides some protection from the "burning" UVB rays that can trigger skin cancer. For the biggest quercetin concentration, look for Cortland, Golden Delicious, and Monroe varieties.
7 of 13
Walnuts are storehouses of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that's a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin moist and supple. A ½-ounce serving of walnuts provides 100% of the recommended daily intake of ALA.
8 of 13
This healthy fat contains essential fatty acids that help skin resist UV damage, finds a Lancet Oncology study. EFAs are also part of the cell membranes that help hold in moisture. The body can't synthesize EFAs, so consume about 1 tablespoon of olive oil daily to keep skin supple.
9 of 13
Skin cells contain mostly water, and if you're dehydrated, skin can look and feel parched. While the “8 glasses a day” rule is no longer valid, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking when you're thirsty.
10 of 13
Tea is rich in antioxidants that decrease inflammation and protect cell membranes. Some studies have shown that tea may also reduce the damage of sunburns and overexposure to ultraviolet light. Green tea is especially rich in a compound known as EGCG which may acts as a "fountain of youth" of sorts for skin by reactivating dying skin cells.
11 of 13
Banana Face Pack for Dry Skin
Try applying some of mother nature’s benefits to your beauty routine. We found some of our favorite fruits and veggies do the body good, from the inside out, like with this dry-skin mask.
Mash half of a ripe banana; combine banana with ½ cup of plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply this pack on face and neck and leave for 10 minutes; rinse thoroughly. This natural pairing helps moisturize dry skin.
12 of 13
Cucumber Face Pack for Smoother Skin
Gritty sugar and cooling cucumber work together in this natural face mask, giving you a smoother, fresher face.
Peel 1 cucumber and mash; place in a strainer to drain water. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix well. Apply on your face and leave for 10 minutes, then wash with cold water.
13 of 13
Oatmeal Face and Body Pack for Sensitive Skin
No need to buy the latest beauty product on the shelves…you probably have what you need for this face remedy in your pantry.
Take 2 tablespoons oatmeal and 1 tablespoons baking soda and add water to make paste. Apply to face and all over the skin; rub gently and rinse.