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The Skinny on Feeding Your Skin

Antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A are substances that protect against the oxidation or breaking down of cells in the body, including the skin. The best protection is an array of antioxidants, from brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Try to include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, red peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, plums, purple grapes, beets and tomatoes in your daily dietary plan. Don't want to look like a prune? Eat more of them. Prunes, also called dried plums, are super high in protective antioxidants.

Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, which is a spongy network of fibers that keeps skin plump and wrinkle-free. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, red peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries and kiwi fruit.

Beta Carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body is critical for skin health, too because it's involved in the growth and repair of skin cells and may protect against sun damage. Note: Vitamin A supplements in high doses can be toxic so go for carrots, pumpkin, mangos, sweet potatoes and other orange colored foods indicating they're naturally rich in beta carotene.

Vitamin E helps protect healthy cells and guards against sun damage, too. Foods where you'll find Vitamin E include wheat germ, fortified cereals, nuts and seeds. There's even some research that suggests Vitamin E can join forces with Vitamin C for an extra boost of anti-aging skin protection. So how about a glass of orange juice with a handful of almonds for an afternoon snack to nourish your skin?

Beauty on the half-shell? Oysters are a great source of the mineral zinc which is involved in wound healing and the formation of new collagen. Rather have sushi? The mineral selenium found in tuna and crab may help delay aging by reducing sun damage and protecting skin's elasticity.  

Healthy fats such as Omega-3 fats found in salmon, flaxseed and walnuts and the mono-unsaturated oils found in olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nut butters are heart healthy and help keep skin moisturized from the inside out. Registered dietitian Lenore Greenstein says, "I am always worried about fat-phobic people. They don't realize dry skin and thinning hair can be a side effect of a diet too low in fat."

There's something to that "fountain of youth."

Drinking water throughout the day keeps skin moist and helps rid the body of toxins. Overdoing it at the bars or even coffee bars can show on your face, too.  Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine which can dry and dehydrate your skin, robbing the cells of needed water, and causing fine lines to be more visible.  


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