By Mattie Kemmel
As beauty products get more high-tech, the top complexion cures still come from the most natural quarters: the aisles of your supermarket. “Increasingly, studies are finding links between certain nutrients and wrinkle reduction, radiance, and acne prevention,” says David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. Here are 10 cream-of-the-crop ways to nourish your skin from the inside and out.
Get Glowing with 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.
Protect with 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,
Soften Skin with Walnuts
“Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity,” Dr. Bank says. The nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. Snack on a handful of walnuts each day to improve your complexion’s texture, and slough tough calluses.
Fight Crow’s-Feet with Peppers
“Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes,” Dr. Wu says. Also, studies found that carotenoids — the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies — can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun, Dr. Bank says. Aim for about two cups of peppers daily.
Brighten Up with Sunflower Seeds
Loaded with vitamin E, sunflower seeds keep your skin supple by protecting its top layers from the sun. Eat a handful daily. A high essential-fatty-acid content makes sunflower seed oil a treat for parched body parts, such as lips and heels, when topically applied.
Zap Zits with Kidney Beans
They’re high in zinc, and studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels, Dr. Wu explains. “That may be because of zinc’s healing properties.” Have a four-ounce serving of kidney beans to help you stay in the clear. In addition, studies show topical zinc to be as effective against acne as antibiotics are. Body lotions with zinc.
Look Younger with Oatmeal
Steel-cut oatmeal is less processed than other varieties, so it retains more vitamins. “Plus, it takes longer to break down in your body, which helps keep your blood sugar stable,” Dr. Wu says. “This is important because studies found that spiked blood sugar elevates your body’s level of androgens, hormones that can contribute to wrinkles.” Oats are also exceptionally skin healing.
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