The Best Foods for your Skin

How much do you spend on skin care every month? The answer to that question varies from person to person based largely on age and the damage they've endured from sun exposure and pollutants, but you'd be surprised how it can add up. Let's go with some follow-up questions; are you getting your money's worth? Do the products you buy deliver on their promises? You'd be surprised how often the answer to both those questions comes up as "no!"

Well, lucky you, I'm going to let you in on a skin care secret none of the big cosmetic companies want you to know. The secret isn't what you put on your skin, it's what you put in your stomach that really matters! Whether you're looking for the best all natural skin care products available, a means to reduce wrinkles and firm skin or simply something to give you healthy, glowing skin, you'll find everything you need at the grocery store.

Here's to Berry Healthy Skin!
Here's to Berry Healthy Skin!

Now, don't get me wrong, there are commercial skin care products that really do work. But for a fraction of the price and without exposing yourself to any chemicals, you can do your body greater overall good by just eating some berries, fruit, nuts or beans. Why? Because no matter what they put in your skin care products, it's the free radicals in your body that are doing the most damage to your skin and the antioxidants in those foods that will counteract, prevent and even reverse the damage.

Free radicals? Antioxidants? What is this, a chemistry lesson? I promise I'll keep it short, too the point and I won't get technical. As simply as I can say it, the very act of living is destroying your skin. Your cells, as a natural part of their function, use oxygen and produce free radicals. Free radicals effectively damage your cells (the membranes, specifically) and open the DNA in your cells up for further damage. This is called oxidative damage. The cumulative results can be anything from a variety of diseases and cancers to less significant but still worrisome damage to your skin. And the antioxidants? Well, they are the things free radicals fear most. In short, they scavenge free radicals and prevent them from doing their damage.

Now we could obviously get a lot more technical, but you came here for skin care advice, not a biology primer, so I think the above description will do. Just remember, free radicals bad, antioxidants good. Armed with that information, your next goal is to find foods you like, are willing to eat regularly and that are antioxidant rich. I don't know about you but, in my experience, most "good-for-you" foods usually come with the bonus of grimace-inducing flavors. Great news here, antioxidants are the exception. In fact, some of the most antioxidant rich foods are sweet, delicious fruits and berries!

In a list of antioxidant rich foods that are good for you and your skin researched by US Department of Agriculture, a significant number consist of fruits or berries. Topping the list, berries like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are sure to have plenty of fans. Likewise, plums, red delicious apples, Granny Smith apples are tasty and healthy. Of course there are vegetables in the list too (pretty clear those are good for us) but there were also some surprises such as unsweetened baking chocolate, various spices and nuts.

The Government even makes skin care confusing

If you would like to review the USDA's list in its raw, confusing and tough to follow format (wouldn't expect anything less from a government agency) you can see the PDF at http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Articles/AICR07_ORAC.pdf If you get a headache reading that, there is a simpler, unaffiliated break-down of foods that are good for your skin which bypasses all the technical jargon and just provides a simple list of foods with which you can't go wrong.

The lesson here isn't that you should avoid cosmetic solutions to skin problems but that the best anti aging skin care solutions to fight years of free radical damage or to prevent it from happening in the first place are found in your grocery store. Combined with other healthy habits such as adequate hydration, minimal sun exposure and a good general skin care regimen, you can literally shave years off your face while adding years to your life.

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MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 7 years ago from Henderson, NV

The entire cosmetics industry is pretty much self regulated. There are few studies of the dangers of cosmetics and plenty of argument. EWG.org publishes the cosmetics safety database here: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/splash.php?URI=%2...

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