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7 Foods for Prettier Skin
Eating the right foods can banish breakouts, prevent fine lines and give you a radiant glow. Here, your science-based, healthy-skin diet.
"The superhydrating and soothing omega fatty acids in avocados make skin look supple and radiant and lessen inflammation, redness and even acne," says Howard Murad, MD, the founder of Murad Skincare and a FITNESS advisory board member. Along with adding this fruit to your meals, Frank Lipman, MD, the founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, suggests applying it directly to your face for a megamoisturizing mask. To make: Whip half an avocado and a drop of honey in a bowl until smooth, apply to skin for 10 minutes, then rinse.
Find them in: Kiehl's Since 1851 Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($29, kiehls.com)
Can't stand those unsightly, tiny red veins that pop up out of nowhere around your nose and on your legs? The fix: Eat blueberries, mulberries and cranberries, which help heal and prevent broken capillaries, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a dermatologist in Meriden, Connecticut, and the founder of Perricone MD skin care. Berries are also antioxidant powerhouses and play a crucial role in turning back the clock. Along with vitamins A and C, they contain anthocyanin and ellagic acid. "Anthocyanin and vitamin C help lessen free radical damage, and ellagic acid minimizes inflammation and prevents the breakdown of collagen, the springy fibers that make up skin's support structure," Dr. Murad explains. Aim for about a half cup a day, says Dr. Lipman, who suggests a bowl of berries as a snack or for dessert.
Find them in: Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Deep Wrinkle Night Cream ($16, Target stores); Perricone MD Blue Plasma ($95, sephora.com)
"Resveratrol, found in red grapes, is an antioxidant that protects the skin against free radicals [molecules that over time cause DNA damage and speed up aging], reduces inflammation and encourages cell renewal," Dr. Murad says. "That makes it an essential ingredient in shielding skin from the damaging effects of the sun." Research has shown that it also helps fight lines and erase sun damage. While vino is the most notable source, red grapes, peanuts and dark chocolate contain it, too. In addition to eating these foods, take a supplement (150 milligrams) daily to get enough resveratrol to score its benefits.
Find it in: SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E ($145, skinceuticals.com); Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Serum ($175, chanel.com)
Coconut oil is the ultimate moisturizer, even for people with sensitive skin. "It's an emollient that helps strengthen the outer layer of skin so that it retains more moisture," Dr. Murad says. Plus, the oil is packed with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that shields the skin from free radicals. Along with slathering coconut oil all over your body, add a little to your morning smoothie. "Coconut oil is packed with good fats that are crucial for healthy, soft skin," Dr. Lipman explains. He recommends a tablespoon a day to get the beauty benefits. We like Vita Coco Coconut Oil ($14, amazon.com).
Find it in: Murad Skin Smoothing Polish ($30, murad.com); Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme ($90, tataharperskincare.com); Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Concentrate Hydration Booster ($38, sephora.com)
In addition to being packed with H2O (they are 96 percent water), "cucumbers are an excellent source of silica, a trace mineral that helps make skin stronger," Dr. Murad says. If you have an oil slick on your T-zone by midday, look for silica in makeup or face cream. "It helps skin absorb moisture and creates a matte finish," Dr. Murad notes. Cucumber is also a natural anti-inflammatory that can soothe skin, which is the reason behind the old trick of placing chilled cucumber slices on eyes to take down puffiness. Try a green juice with cucumber in it for a hydration boost post-workout, or have a cucumber salad with dinner instead of standard greens, suggests Stephanie Middleberg, RD, the founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City.
Find them in: Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner ($32, spacenk.com); Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Restorative Treatment Serum ($54, jurlique.com)
Green Leafy Veggies
"Spinach, broccoli, kale, chard and collard greens are rich in lutein, which increases skin hydration and elasticity," Dr. Murad says. After you down a kale salad or a green drink, some of that lutein is converted to vitamin A, the powerful collagen-boosting anti-ager that can keep your complexion glowing and ward off wrinkles. "Vitamin A also improves how quickly skin sheds dead cells, which makes your skin tone more even," Dr. Murad explains. If you obsess over your pores, put away the magnifying mirror and eat more broccoli and spinach. They contain the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory alpha lipoic acid, a substance that helps shrink pores, prevents lines and puffiness around your eyes, and promotes radiance, Dr. Perricone says.
Find them in: Murad Complete Reform ($69, murad.com)
Your skin needs vitamin C to produce collagen for more elasticity, a smoother appearance and fewer lines. Research has found that a diet that lacks the nutrient can lead to more wrinkles. And because vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant, it protects skin from the damaging effects of the sun, stress and pollution and helps even out skin tone. Along with classic citrus fruits like oranges, mandarins and lemons, others, including berries, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes and papayas, are excellent sources. To absorb the max amount of the vitamin, pair these vitamin C-centric fruits with iron-rich foods like spinach and beans, Middleberg suggests.
Find them in: Sunday Riley Artemis Hydro Active Cellular Face Oil ($125, spacenk.com); Renee Rouleau Vitamin C Eye Brightener ($60, reneerouleau.com); Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Beauty Drops ($22, ulta.com)
The Gorgeous-Skin Diet
Brooke Alpert, RD, a dietitian in New York City, created this meal plan to supercharge your complexion.
Breakfast: Coco-berry smoothie: Puree 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 2 scoops protein powder, 1/2 cup probiotic-rich kefir, and 1 handful berries in a blender; serve over ice.
Snack: Smash 1/2 avocado in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes; eat with 6 small multigrain crackers.
Lunch: Spinach salad with 4 ounces grilled chicken, 1 ounce goat cheese and 1/4 cup sliced peaches and oranges; top with 1/2 tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice with chopped garlic to taste.
Snack: A sliced apple with 1 tablespoon almond butter (or about 25 almonds).
Dinner: Four ounces poached salmon over 1 cup each sauteed kale and broccoli with 1/2 cup brown rice.