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Anti-Aging Fruits and Vegetables That Can Help You Age Beautifully

People often comment to me that I don’t look my age, (45!). The inevitable follow-up question is: What’s your secret? I answer them truthfully: Much of it is genetic (my Mom is 73 and looks like she’s in her early 60s), but I have done three things consistently for most of my adult life: get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

That’s not just theory; research shows that what you eat affects how you look.[1] In fact, fruits and vegetables can help preserve your skin’s youth and keep it supple and smooth better than any expensive skin cream. They support your skin in four different ways:

1.  They build collagen. Your skin needs collagen to look smooth and full, because this component of connective tissue gives your face structure. When collagen breaks down, your face starts to sag. Many fruits and veggies are high in vitamin C, which is necessary for building collagen.[2] Try berries, broccoli, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, papayas, and tomatoes to increase your vitamin C intake!

2.  They aid skin cell turnover. Produce also contains flavonoids that help rejuvenate existing skin cells and promote the production of new skin cells, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.[3] You can get flavonoids in apples, blueberries, parsley, peaches, and tomatoes. Quercetin, a kind of flavonoid found in apples, may also protect skin from UVA damage.[4]

3.  They prevent AGEs. Youthful-looking skin has snap; like a rubber band, it can easily bounce back from being stretched. One important factor in keeping skin elastic is slowing the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These occur when proteins deleteriously react with sugars, and they cause skin to become stiff. Compounds like the antioxidant lipoic acid can combat AGEs. Want to know where you can get that? Eat some Spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes!

4.  They make you glow. Red, orange, and yellow produce get their coloring from carotenoids, another skin-friendly nutrient. (Green vegetables often have carotenoids, too. You just can’t see the color under the darker green pigmentation.) Carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin help give skin a healthy glow, as shown in a 2015 study that found a correlation between carotenoid intake and rosy skin tone in Caucasian women.[5] Broccoli, carrots, kale, peaches, papayas, spinach, and tomatoes all contain carotenoids.

So, if you want healthy, youthful-looking skin, bypass the wrinkle creams in the skin care aisle of your drug store, and head straight to the produce aisle of your grocery store instead.

What other steps do you take to keep your skin looking young? Share with us in the comments below!

References

[1] Katta R, Desai SP. Diet and dermatology. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 Jul;7(7):46-51.

[2] Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun;4(2):143-6.

[3] Chondrogianni N, et al. Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin. Exp Gerontol. 2010 Oct;45(10):763-71.

[4] Erden Inal M, Kahraman A. The protective effect of flavonol quercetin against ultraviolet induced oxidative stress in rats. Toxicology. 2000 Nov 23;154(1-3):21-9.

[5] Pezdirc K, et al. Fruit, vegetable and dietary carotenoid intakes explain variation in skin-color in young Caucasian women: a cross-sectional study. Nutrients. 2015 Jul 15;7(7):5800-15.

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