Most of us know that eating your fruits and veggies is a good habit for overall health, but it can also work wonders for your skin—giving it a younger and tanned appearance. Researchers at the University of Bristol studied the effects of carotenoids, or yellow or red antioxidants—in fruits and vegetables like yellow and red peppers, spinach, tomatoes, carrots and melons—and found that they not only support a healthy immune system and fertility, but also play a role in healthier skin.
What’s more is that the scientists found that if you eat enough of those yummy fruits and veggies, then your skin may develop a glow that's similar to what you might get at the beach. Their study showed that those who had the most glowing skin also had higher levels of carotenoids. Dr. Ian Stephen, the study’s lead researcher from the University of Bristol, stated, “Most people in the West think that the best way to improve your skin color is to get a suntan. But our research shows that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is actually more effective.”
Paula Simpson, celebrity beauty nutritionist, adds, “The deep-colored ones, such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers and melons contain potent antioxidants such as the carotenoids that are known to give the skin a healthy glow and have been shown to help protect the skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure. Most nutrition and health associations recommend a minimum of five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables per day."
Fruits and veggies are nutrient-packed foods that contain a "synergy of nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants that are the building blocks to the production of healthy new skin cells," says Simpson. "New skin cells are produced every three to five weeks [slower as we age], and if you are eating the right nutrients, these cells will be healthier."
Not only can fruits and vegetables give you a radiant skin tone, but they can also help you look younger. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, says that every aging-related issue—from memory loss, to brain functioning and wrinkling skin—stems from two basic processes in the body: inflammation and oxidation. Eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties and that contain antioxidants (like fruits and veggies) will help protect you against both. Bowden agrees that you should get at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables—since their antioxidant content helps the body to fight off free radicals that cause oxidation.
Other skin-healthy foods include extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, salmon, avocados, lean proteins, high omega-3 eggs, walnuts, blueberries, apples and grapes. You’ll also want to drink enough pure water to keep your skin—and your body—hydrated.
So eat your fruits and veggies. Now you don’t have to go to the beach to get that “young and tan” look.