Eat for a Healthy Complexion

Friday, August 20, 2010 | Things We Love

IStock_000000694240Medium We’ve all heard the age-old adage “you are what you eat”—that folksy caveat about the impact of dietary choices on the body. But could this kernel of conventional wisdom also apply to the skin? According to skin care experts who view the skin as the body’s largest organ (you read correctly), the answer is a resounding “yes”. So, is it possible to eat your way to fewer lines or blemishes? Maybe not entirely, but you can certainly give your skin a push in the right direction. Here’s a look at the top skin smart contenders vying for a spot in your shopping list.

A powerhouse of vitamins and monounsaturated fats—the “good” fat shown to help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol—avocados help nourish the body’s cells and prevent moisture loss. For your skin, that translates to healthy hydration, which can mean fewer visible lines and wrinkles down the road.

Salmon is a dieter favorite for a reason—it’s one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids on earth. Omega-3s have been shown to boost brain function, lower triglyceride and VLDL cholesterol levels and enhance immunity. In the skin, omega-3s help lock in moisture and may even aid recovery from UV exposure, according to recent studies.

Good news for vegetarians and chili fans—the legumes you love also love your skin. (Try saying that five times real fast.) Rich in isoflavones—powerful antioxidants—beans help ward off the free radical damage largely blamed for the appearance of premature lines and wrinkles.

Another skin care favorite, grapes—along with blueberries and pomegranates—are an excellent source of antioxidants known as polyphenols. Like isoflavones, polyphenols help fight damaging free radicals in the body and skin. However, this berry-bound antioxidant may also help improve elasticity in the skin by nourishing strong collagen.