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Consumers spend billions of dollars every year on miracle potions, serums, and creams, each claiming to help us regain the dewy complexion that most of us took for granted in our teens and twenties. Don’t get us wrong: Here at Jenny, we like to be pampered as much as anyone. But we’re also just as interested in what we put into our bodies as what we put on our faces. And, as it turns out, the foods we eat can have a big impact on our skin. Here are a few of our favorite "glow-getter" foods, and why we love them.
Red & Green Veggies. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and the one that’s most visible to the rest of the world—but beyond watching our sugars and saturated fats, we don’t often think about how our diet affects it. Luckily, the wisdom on this subject is very easy to follow: What’s good for your body is good for your skin. Period. Eating a diet that includes a colorful range of vegetables will give your body a nutritional boost… and good health is beautiful, inside and out. Red-orange veggies like carrots and tomatoes contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. Spinach, kale and other leafy greens also have high concentrations of vitamin A; this along with the greens’ naturally high water content helps your skin maintain a healthy cellular turnover and youthful brightness.
Citrus Fruits. If you’ve spent any time at a makeup counter, you may have noticed that nearly every anti-aging skin care line has at least one vitamin C product… and with good reason! Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen, the protein that forms the basic structure of your skin. It also helps your skin repair itself, aiding in the development of scar tissue. Once we hit our mid-thirties, our bodies’ natural collagen production slows down dramatically, and our skin begins its battle with gravity. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit can help give your complexion a natural boost. Just remember: Since it’s water-soluble, any excess vitamin C is flushed out through the kidneys on a daily basis. If we can’t store it and the body can’t make it, we have to keep consuming it—a great excuse to eat an orange every morning.
Whole Grains. We’ve been hearing about the benefits of whole grains for years. Processed (or "refined," as they’re often called) flours can cause a blood sugar spike, followed by the inevitable crash—messing with your energy levels throughout the day and potentially leading to the all-too-familiar afternoon snack attack. Whole grains, by contrast, are unprocessed and generally loaded with nutrients your body can put to good use. Wheat germ is rich in biotin, which assists your cells in processing fats to help keep your cells healthy. Buckwheat is high in fiber and protein, which help with satiety and balancing blood sugars. And earthy, super-good-for-you quinoa has high quantities of antioxidants.
Nuts & Seeds. Skin care companies have spent decades dreaming up patented formulations and cutting-edge compounds with fancy names. But as far as multitasking ingredients go, we’ll take good old vitamin E any day—this skin care standby has powerful antioxidant properties, protecting skin from the free radicals and helping to maintain healthy moisture levels. Most nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and flax seed also provide omega-3 fatty acids, which help support the health of our cell membranes. Healthy cellular barriers are able to maintain higher moisture levels, which is a key factor in maintaining the proverbial "youthful glow." Just be conscious of the high fat content in nuts; a little goes a long way.
Seafood. Is there nothing a fresh fish dinner can’t do? Already proven to be an excellent choice for overall health, seafood and shellfish also have properties that support a glowing complexion. Salmon and other fatty fish contain high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is also rich in zinc, which helps our bodies regulate oil production and encourages healthy cellular turnover. As with all the foods discussed here, preparation plays a large part; a sea bass fillet is a better choice than deep-fried fish sticks.