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Why they work: This fruit is packed with vitamin C, which helps guard against the wrinkling effects of sun damage. Plus, says Debra Jaliman, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, the juice in pomegranate seeds contains both ellagic acid and punicalagin. The first is a polyphenol compound that fights damage from free radicals; the second is a supernutrient that may increase your body's capacity to preserve collagen, the subdermal connective tissue that makes skin look smooth and plump.
Serve yourself: A cup of pomegranate seeds -- not just juice -- every week, suggests Jackie Newgent, RD, a nutritionist based in New York City.
Why it works: These delicious little blue wonders contain more antioxidants than almost any other food does. Translation: They can give your skin extra protection against the skin-damaging free radicals that result from sun exposure, emotional stress, and even overexercising (especially running).
Serve yourself: One-half cup every day will help to prevent the cell-structure damage that can lead to loss of firmness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Why they work: These vital veggies contain special phytonutrients, or antioxidant compounds, that help guard against damage caused by the sun. Spinach is loaded with beta-carotene and lutein, two nutrients that have been shown to improve skin elasticity, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry.
Serve yourself: Every week, aim for three cups of either kale or spinach, or a combination of both, suggests Newgent.
Why they work: Sardines, salmon, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which strengthen skin-cell membranes, helping keep moisture in. Consuming two servings of fish a week can reduce chronic skin inflammations, such as eczema and psoriasis.
Serve yourself: No more than six 6-ounce portions a week to avoid mercury contamination.
Why it works: This healthy brew, says Dr. Jaliman, contains catechins (one of the most effective compounds for preventing sun damage like hyperpigmentation) and polyphenols (antioxidants that combat free-radical damage and may reverse the effects of aging).
Serve yourself: At least one cup a day to see results in as little as a month.
Why it works: This refreshing, sweet treat contains the ultimate antioxidant, vitamin C, plus lycopene and potassium, which regulates the balance of water and nutrients in cells.
Serve yourself: At least one to two cups a week.
Why it works: The "good fats" in olive oil are highly beneficial; they contain heart-healthy omega-3s, which improve circulation, leaving skin rosy and supple.
Serve yourself: A tablespoon a day, says Newgent.
Fine lines, dark spots, and furrowed brows also can be repaired -- or prevented -- with some skincare basics.Yes! You Should...
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November 2007.