1. Shop the rainbow
The best place to find anti-aging skincare isn’t the beauty counter — it’s the grocery store, says Los Angeles-based dermatologist Jessica Wu, author of Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days. “A diet rich in antioxidants neutralizes free radicals, which speed up visible signs of aging, like wrinkles.” Load up on colourful fruits and vegetables, advises Wu. This just in: Green and yellow veggies appear to have the greatest anti-wrinkle effect, reports a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Here’s what colourful fruits and vegetables to buy to load up on antioxidants:
Red: Tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, red peppers, pink grapefruit
Orange: Carrots, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, papaya
Yellow: Yellow squash, yellow peppers, pineapple, lemon
Green: Spinach, kale, avocado, kiwi, asparagus
Blue/purple: Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, purple cabbage
2. Say yes to carrots
Did your mother ever tell you you’d turn orange if you ate too many carrots? Turns out she’s partly right—and that’s a good thing. A recent study in Evolution and Human Behavior reveals that people who eat a lot of carotenoids—the antioxidant family in carrots, pumpkin, red peppers and kale—have a more golden skin tone than those who tan, and as a result appear more attractive to others. “So you’re better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun if you want to improve the perceived attractiveness of your skin tone,” says lead researcher Ian Stephen.
Tip: Unsaturated fats help your body absorb carotenoids. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil to maximize health benefits.
3. Drink more H20
Water helps deliver nutrients from food to skin cells. “Women need about two litres of water a day,” says Annick Robinson, a Montreal-based fitness coach and nutritionist. “And I recommend an extra glass to balance out other beverages, like coffee or pop, and two glasses for every boozy drink.”
4. Feed on fish to fight off acne
Bid blemishes farewell by boosting your omega-3 intake. “Fresh fish, like salmon, tuna or mackerel, is an excellent source of these fatty acids,” says Valori Treloar, co-author of The Clear Skin Diet. They help to balance the inflammation (read: zits) that too much omega-6 can cause. Yikes! The average North American diet is full of processed foods and hydrogenated oils that are rich in omega-6, so the more fish, the better. Good news: Omega-3 fatty acids also help to delay the onset of wrinkles.
5. Eat tomatoes to increase your body’s natural SPF
News flash: The Canadian Dermatology Association says up to 90 percent of skin changes — like lines or spots — are caused not by the “natural” aging process, but by repeated exposure to UV rays. Of course, sunscreen is still vital, but serving up extra sun protection on your plate can help prevent wrinkles. “Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which, when eaten daily, can reduce sunburns by 40 percent,” says Wu.
6. Cook with quinoa
A favourite among vegans and vegetarians, this light, nutty-flavoured grain is a super source of protein. It’s also gluten-free and easy to digest. “Our skin replaces itself every two to three weeks, and protein is an essential factor in the regeneration process,” says Valori Treloar, co-author of The Clear Skin Diet.
Prep 10 min
Total 10 min
Plus 1 hour to chill
1 cup quinoa
1/4 English cucumber
1 green pepper
5 green onions
1 large bunch parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1. Pour 1 3/4 cups water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Rinse quinoa with cold water several times. Drain and stir into boiling water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 to 15 min, until all water is absorbed and quinoa grains are transparent.
2. Dice cucumber, tomatoes and green pepper while quinoa cooks. Thinly slice green onions and finely chop parsley. In a bowl, whisk oil with lemon juice, salt and chili powder.
3. Add hot quinoa to oil mixture and toss well. Cool to room temperature. Toss with chopped vegetables and parsley. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Serves 6.
Per serving: 237 calories, 5 g protein, 24 g carbs, 14 g fat, 4 g fi bre, 213 mg sodium.
7. Eat like a celebrity
Want gorgeous skin like an A-list star? Hollywood dermatologist Jessica Wu shares her four food picks for a glowing, celeb-worthy complexion:
Dark chocolate: Loaded with flavanol antioxidants and lower in sugar than its milky counterpart, dark chocolate helps protect your skin’s collagen. Have a small square at lunch every day.
Healthy oils: High in essential fatty acids, evening primrose, algae and hemp-seed oils are really helpful if you have eczema or dry skin. Drizzle 1/2 tsp over your favourite salad greens.
Nut butters: Natural peanut or almond butter delivers protein, without any additional salt or sugar. Spread on bagels or crackers instead of butter, or dab on wholewheat waffles instead of syrup.
Greek yogurt: Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and it’s also low in sugar. Top with berries and it’s almost like eating cheesecake, or enjoy it as a midday snack.
8. Get a boost from vitamins and minerals
Collagen is the connective protein in our skin that keeps it from sagging. As we get older, our bodies don’t produce as much, causing skin to lose elasticity. The result is more wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. Kick-start collagen production and skin repair with these nutrients:
Vitamin A: Works together with zinc to repair damaged skin tissue. Where to find it: Look no further than sweet potatoes and carrots to help your complexion.
Vitamin C: Helps to rebuild your stores of collagen and can improve stress-related acne. Where to find it: Citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit are a great source, and are also known for their antioxidant qualities.
Vitamin E: Helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and roughness and may help scars heal. Where to find it: Leafy greens, almonds and olive oil.
Magnesium: In combination with vitamin C, magnesium is another key element of collagen production. Where to find it: Spinach, brown rice, soybeans, lentils and avocados.