7 Miracle Foods for Healthy Skin
Before you reach for the bounty of cleansers, moisturizers, and toners in your bathroom, add the following seven foods to your diet to clear the way for a beautiful complexion. "The nutrients found in these foods benefit the skin because they nourish us from the inside out," says Sue Moores, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. According to Moores, glowing skin starts at the supermarket.Sweet Potatoes
The pumpkin-colored hue of sweet potatoes not only looks pretty on your dinner plate, but its shade also works wonders on your complexion. Sweet potatoes boast large amounts of beta carotene -- an antioxidant whose red, yellow, and orange pigments dress many vegetables in their vibrant colors. Beta carotene's protective qualities defend against the damage that sun exposure will cause, says Moores.
Serving size: 1 medium size potato
Quick tip: For an extra dose of fiber, leave their skin on when preparing these tasty treats.
Add luster and softness to your complexion by feasting on salmon, a fish with one of the richest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats nourish the skin by reducing the body's production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and averting fine lines and wrinkles.
Serving size:3-4 ounces
Calories: about 150
Quick tip: Buy extra fillets at the market and freeze them; having salmon on hand is the best way to ensure you'll keep up your skin's nutritious regimen.
This tropical fish, like salmon, is also sky-high in anti-inflammatory fats, and it harbors another beautiful skin booster: the mineral selenium. According to Moores, "Selenium has the ability to reduce the risk of sunburn and promote an even skin tone." Snapper itself has a sheen to envy -- in many fine restaurants the fillets are often served skin side up to show off its luminous scales.
Serving size: 3-4 ounces
Calories: about 110
Quick tip: Bake snapper in a bit of olive oil with a layer of chopped almonds on top -- a supper your skin will sing about!
An uncelebrated hero of supple skin is kiwi. This tangy-sweet treat packs more vitamin C per ounce than practically any other fruit. Vitamin C helps maintain the collagen in our skin, keeping it firm. But this nutrient can quickly evaporate through exposure to air, water, or heat, Moores says. Kiwi is an ideal carrier since it locks in the juicy benefits firmly beneath its furry skin.
Serving size: 1 medium fruit
Quick tip: For a quick and easy way to peel kiwi, cut the ends off first. The rest should be a cinch.
Slow down the development of saggy, wrinkled skin by spooning sunflower seeds over salad. These seeds are replete with vitamin E -- a powerful antioxidant that decelerates the aging of skin cells, keeping us looking younger longer. Vitamin E is also known for its ability to diminish the appearance of scars.
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Quick tip: Pair unsalted sunflower seeds with raisins for a snack that strikes a perfect balance between savory and sweet.
Choose turkey over other lunchtime meats for its high concentration of zinc. "This mineral maintains collagen and elastin fibers that preserve skin's elasticity and firmness," says Moores. The healthiest variety to ask for at your grocery's deli counter? Roasted or smoked; flavored turkey, such as honey turkey or turkey pastrami, contains sugar and salt additives.
Serving size: 3-4 ounces
Calories: about 120
Quick tip: Instead of a sandwich, toss turkey with spinach leaves. The latter is another nutritious food packed with zinc.
Dietitians continue to debate just how much liquid we should consume each day, but for Moores, the requisite eight to 10 glasses still stands. "Our body is 70 to 80 percent water, and if we are not drinking enough, our cells don't regenerate and remove waste, resulting in a buildup of impurities." Moores suggests alternating glasses of water with hot tea or unsweetened iced tea -- green or black. These beverages boast their own supply of acne-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients (healthy substances from plants).
Serving size: 1 cup
Quick tip: To avoid diluting your delicious cold brew with plain ice, fill ice trays with tea. Add a few cubes just before you drink!
Originally published on LHJ.com, April 2006.
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