We’re not knocking the power of a fantastic face cream, thickening mousse or high-tech teeth whitening session, but the foundation of your beauty is pretty grassroots—it’s your diet.
The health of every organ affects our appearance. Just as eating well can keep our heart in tip-top shape, we can shave years off our looks if we chew the right things.
Our skin is barraged inside and out by stress, hormones, junk food and weather, just to name a few. A healthy diet helps your skin withstand these insults via nutrients that help repair, maintain and enhance it.
“The more support you give your skin the more support it will give you,” says Doris Day, M.D., a New York dermatologist and author of “Forget the Facelift.” Whether it’s clearer skin you’re after or more lustrous locks, read on to find out which beauty superfoods can help you get even more gorgeous.
Whether they’re at the supermarket or on our face, lines are serious buzz kills. Sure, they’re a sign we’ve enjoyed a lifetime of laughter, but maybe we don’t want people to know exactly how much time we’ve spent on this earth—laughing or otherwise. Botox isn’t the only way to erase expression lines. Try eating soy.
Research shows that estrogen-like chemicals called isoflavones, of which soy is a rich source, help keep the skin furrow-free. After 12 weeks, women on 40 mg of the isoflavone aglycone not only had fewer crow’s feet, their skin also showed better elasticity. Meaning, it helped their skin bounce back so new wrinkles were less likely to form. Talk about a double-acting secret weapon!
Superfood picks: Soy, the ultimate chameleon, is like the Lady Gaga of food (minus the meat dress). It pops up in all sorts of forms. You’ll get beauty benefits from it in its whole forms: Tofu, soybeans, tempeh and edamame. Aim for one to two servings of soy a day.
A Healthy Glow
You don’t have to sunbathe—or mess with sunless tanners—to achieve a healthy glow. Phytochemicals (geek-speak for chemical compounds in plants) called carotenoids, which give red, yellow and orange produce their color, can give you golden hue as well.
Research in Evolution and Human Behaviour found that people who ate the most fruits and vegetables every day had a more golden skin color. People also rated the vegetable-bestowed glow more attractive than a sun-kissed one. The reason? Carotenoid-imbued skin can be a sign of reproductive health in the animal kingdom. Instead of practicing your come-hither looks, eat your carrots instead.
Superfood picks: Get your glow on with a healthy dose of red peppers, pumpkin and carrots, which boast high levels of carotenoids. Other good sources include apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, broccoli and leafy greens. No, that wasn’t a typo—the orange pigment hides out in many green veggies beneath green-tinted chlorophyll.
Less Puffy Eyes: Unless you’re a marshmallow, being described as puffy is never flattering. If you have under-eye bags as big as Birkins, downsize them by stripping excess salt from your diet. You may associate fluid retention with a bloated belly, but our faces also swell from too much sodium.