Great complexion is an asset we all wish for, whether we admit it or not.
Thanks to mainstream media, the pressure of looking good has reached a whole new level over the past couple of decades.
Everywhere you look – from the city billboards to the Internet, television and even glossies, celebrities are seen everywhere striking a pose with their perfectly sculpted bodies and dewy skin.
This only has you wishing you had the kind of bucks they do to afford the expensive skin care products, makeup, surgeries, and skin treatments to look half as good as them.
The real truth, however, is that a thick bank balance and pro photoshop tricks isn’t all that helps them look the way they do.
A healthy diet and an active lifestyle also play a crucial role in helping them maintain healthy skin (case in point: Miranda Kerr’s gorgeous skin). And celebrities aren’t the only one advocating healthy eating for healthy skin. University of Washington Medical Center advises “to keep your skin healthy, eat a well balanced diet.”
Here are the top five veggies that can help you fight your skin problems:
No.1: Leafy Green Veggies Help Treat Dry Skin
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Tired of using those heavy-duty moisturizers that promise intense moisturization but still leave your skin feeling dry? You probably need to focus more on what you eat than what you externally use on your parched skin.
Leafy green vegetables are a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamins A, E and C, known for their immune-boosting and skin-protecting properties.
According to UC San Diego Health, Vitamin A, which is found in bright color vegetables and fruits like yellow and red sweet peppers, carrots, mangoes and dark, leafy greens is responsible for forming and maintaining healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue and mucus membranes.
The author, Melanie Peters also explains that Vitamin A is a cancer fighter. Dark pigments in plant foods, called carotenoids, are converted into beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from being damaged, reducing the risk of cancer.
Another nutrient found in leafy greens, Vitamin E is particularly helpful in moisturizing the skin. It’s a natural emollient (moisturizer) that helps condition the skin and heal scars.
Leafy green vegetables also contain silica that helps contribute to the production and maintenance of the skin’s structural and connective tissues.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are the structural building blocks of these tissues and hyaluronic acid, a type of GAG contributes to the skin’s hydration and healing process. A study conducted by Wound Repair and Regeneration reported these findings.
No.2: Tomatoes Prevent UV Damage
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A glass of Virgin Mary with a Margherita pizza do a lot to please your taste-buds. Did you know, however, that the king ingredient used in both the recipes is also great for your skin?
The harmful UV rays of the sun can deeply harm your skin and may even result in cancer.
Kristina Swartzendruber, educator at Michigan State University explains that the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene contained in tomatoes helps protect skin against damage and makes skin less sensitive to UV damage.
In other words, the beta-carotene and lycopene in tomatoes is a natural sunscreen that helps your body fight oxidative damage, prevents sunburn, and premature wrinkles. Lycopene even plays a huge role in protecting you from cardiovascular diseases.
No.3: Bell Peppers Make Your Skin Firmer
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Though dull and saggy skin is a part and parcel of old age, certain lifestyle habits like drinking and smoking can accelerate your aging process. If you see your skin aging faster than you should, ditch the bad habits and enrich your diet with vitamin C-rich bell peppers, especially the red and yellow varieties.
According to Alexander Michels, Ph.D., the antioxidant vitamin C helps boost the production of collagen, the skin’s structural protein necessary for its elasticity.
Vitamin C thereby helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your skin. Its antioxidant properties have also been shown beneficial in preventing and treating UV-induced skin damage.
No.4: Carrots Keep Your Skin Glowing
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If your skin seems to have lost its color, you can bring it back by munching on carrots every day! Carrots contain a carotenoid pigment called beta-carotene that gets converted by your body into vitamin A.
It is a pigment found in plants that gives them their color, and it’s name derived from the Latin name for carrot, wrote Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD on his study, Beta-carotene on University of Maryland Medical Center.
Beta-carotene not only gives your skin a gorgeous golden glow, but it also fights oxidative and UV damage. The Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology reports in a study that the topical application of beta-carotene even helps treat melasma, a condition associated with skin discoloration.
No.5: Cucumbers Relieves Skin Irritation And Swelling
Love cucumbers in your salad? Well, here are more reasons to include them in your daily diet! University of Kentucky reports that cucumbers contain 96 % water. By eating cucumbers, you are basically hydrating your body and face and helping your body eliminate toxins. But that’s really not the only benefit cucumbers bring to your skin.
The cooling properties of cucumber also prevent skin irritation and swelling caused due to sunburns. The way to apply it is to place a slice of cucumber over your anti-inflammatory properties.
It is said to help reduce puffiness and swelling just as aloe would.
Topical application of cucumber juice on the skin can also reduce the appearance of acne while preventing the outbreak of new lesions, owing to its natural astringent properties.
Include these delightful veggies in your diet and see them work their magic on your skin.
Do ensure that you also follow a healthy schedule comprising of an hour of daily exercise and eight hours of undisturbed sleep. Keep away from skin irritants like tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and always wear sunscreen before stepping outside.
Remember your lifestyle choices have a greater role to play than the skin care products and cosmetics you use in ensuring good skin health.
Originally published May 2015. Updated August 2015.