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Top 10 Superfoods That Will Illuminate Your Skin

two green apples, green coffee, and a book on the bed

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Taking care of your skin is a powerful habit that can be achieved in many ways.  In today’s blog, we will discuss the various types of food that will help you achieve more radiant and clearer skin.  Some of the mentioned will surprise you, but hey, what’s the harm in trying?

  1. Chocolate: It contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, such as epicatechin and procyanidins, that protect against damage and inflammation produced, including erythema and transepidermal water loss, by UV-induced free radicals[1][2]. Another benefit of these antioxidants is

  1. their ability to increase dermal blood flow which, in turn, raises the concentration of nutrients and oxygen delivered to skin cells[1] 2]. Chocolate flavanols have also been shown to have a positive effect in the prevention/reduction of facial wrinkles, loss of elasticity, skin cancer, acne, psoriasis as well as poor wound healing[2][3]. Chocolate is chock-full of minerals and trace elements, especially calcium and magnesium[4]. While the first one plays an important role in skin barrier integrity[5], the latter stimulates collagen synthesis[6]. In order to achieve these effects, it is important to consume minimally processed dark chocolate, sans milk and sugar, which preserves the highest amount of flavanols[7]. The recommended daily intake is 20 grams [7].

  2. Apples: This perennial fruit showcases a wide array of minerals, acids (citric and malic), vitamin B & C, potent antioxidants (primarily catechin, proanthocyanidins and quercetin), and pectin (a polysaccharide starch) [8]. All these components, particularly those present in the peel, can increase the lifespan of skin cells up to 78.5%, and thus delay the onset of aging[8]. In clinical trials, apple extract proved to inhibit melanin synthesis, the natural pigment of the skin, as well as elastase action, an enzyme that breaks down elastin[9]. This means that apples encourage a more even and elastic complexion[9]. Apple pectin, on the other hand,  promotes epidermal growth and helps skin cells attach to the basement dermal membrane[10].

  3. Tomatoes: They are rich in potassium, vitamin C, folic acid (vitamin B9), lycopene (a carotenoid), and phenolic compounds (such as catechin, quercetin, resveratrol, rutin, and tannins) [11] [12]. B-complex vitamins and vitamin C have a positive effect on the wound healing process by supporting keratinocyte proliferation and collagen production[13]. Potassium is an essential part of the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), so tomatoes contribute to the proper hydration of the skin[14]. Lycopene and polyphenols exert a photoprotective effect against UV radiation as well as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action; hence, helping to ward off acne, skin cancer, and premature aging[15] [16].

  4. Olive oil: The phenolic compounds seem to be everywhere, and olives are no exception. These antioxidant molecules, mainly oleuropein derivatives, lignans, and flavonoids, scavenge free radicals, reactive oxygen species, and all sorts of nasty microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, etc.) [17]. The protective action of olive polyphenols can lower the risk of developing different types of cancer[17]. As you can expect, olive oil is jam-packed with superb fats. Of those, 98% to 99% are triglycerides made up primarily of oleic and linoleic acid[17]. Among the other lipid compounds, we can find phytosterols and squalene, and tocopherols[17]. All these fats contribute to the proper barrier function of the skin, improved texture, enhanced wound healing, inflammation reduction, premature aging prevention, and photoprotection[18][19]

  5. Carrots: They are rich in carotenoids (α and β-carotene, lycopene, β-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin), flavonoids (anthocyanins), phenolic acids (caffeic and chlorogenic),  and vitamin C[20][21]. Carotenoids and polyphenols diminish oxidative damage,  prevent premature aging, act as anti-inflammatory agents, and protect against skin cancer[20][21]. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is essential for the synthesis of collagen and inhibits melanin secretion[22]. Additionally, it improves skin tightness, lessens wrinkle depth, enhances wound healing, and supports the production of skin barrier ceramides[22].

  6. Watermelon: They contain B-complex, magnesium, potassium, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citrulline, and lycopene[23]. We have previously talked about the brightening, collagen boosting, and rejuvenating properties of vitamin C[22]. Minerals have a deep effect on the skin and prevent transepidermal water loss [4].  B vitamins stimulate healthy turnover as well as proper wound healing[24]. Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that has been shown to shield the skin from harsh environmental conditions and ward off premature aging[25]. The bioavailability of the carotenoid lycopene is higher in watermelon than in tomatoes[26]. This antioxidant can delay the aging process via the neutralization of free radicals and photo-protection [26] [27]. Furthermore, lycopene prevents skin cancer and improves skin texture (greater smoothness and reduced wrinkle depth)[26].

  7. Green tea: It is composed of polyphenols (~90%), amino acids (~7%), and trace amounts of carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins[28]. Among the polyphenols, the ones that stand out are the group of catechins, predominantly epigallocatechin-3-gallate[28]. These antioxidants boast powerful anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties; hence, they are recommended in the treatment of different cutaneous diseases such as dermatitis[29].  Catechins also provide anti-wrinkle DNA protective effects against solar radiation by eliminating free radicals[28][30].  

  8. Berries: They comprise a wide array of fruits like acai, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and strawberries, among many others[31]. Berries contain a long list of polyphenol compounds such as anthocyanins, flavanols, flavonols and tannins[31]. These antioxidant powerhouses are responsible for anti-inflammatory and protective effects against UV-induced oxidative stress[31]. They also suppress microbial overgrowth, promote wound healing, provide relief against itching and edema (fluid accumulation)[31]. It is not a surprise that berries are considered one of the star ingredients when it comes to preserving/restoring radiant skin, especially when dealing with chronic dermatological ailments. 

  9. Grapes: Although they are technically berries, we wanted to delve into the amazing benefits of grapes as they are truly in a league of their own. Resveratrol, a stilbenoid polyphenol, is the hero compound found in grapes[32]. It could literally take us an eternity to list all its benefits, but resveratrol is one of the strongest antioxidants out there that starves off inflammation and the proliferative effect of cancer cells[32]. The latter has been observed in the blockage of the pathways that lead to the development of squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and other types of tumors[32]. Actually, resveratrol makes cells behave in a normal way[32]. Besides all these amazing properties, resveratrol can protect the skin from UV-rays-mediated aging[32]. Proanthocyanidin is another polyphenol present in grapes that inhibits the oxidation of glutathione, lipids, and proteins when we expose ourselves to sun radiation[33]. It can also encourage the swift repair of the skin caused by UV damage, inhibit microbial overgrowth, and keep the blood vessels in good shape[33].  

  10. Turmeric: We like to call this the “queen of all spices”, given its out-of-this-world properties. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been proven to exert multiple positive actions on the skin including age-defying, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound healing[34]. The evidence that favors turmeric´s consumption is absolutely overwhelming. This means that its usage translates into healthy skin renewal, a more luminous complexion, increased moisture levels, less visible aging signs, through preservation of the integrity of collagen and hyaluronic acid, better management of acne and other infectious conditions, as well as potentiation of atopic dermatitis, cancer, and psoriasis treatments[34].

Now that you have learned about the top 10 foods that can better your skin, make sure to include them in your diet in order to enjoy a luminous complexion. To learn more about your skin, make sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Linkedin.

 

References 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696435/
[2] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264796774_Cocoa_Bioactive_Compounds_Significance_and_Potential_for_the_Maintenance_of_Skin_Health
[3] https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/146/1/46/4585665

[4] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5929942/

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8489778/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19735513/
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437301/
[9] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263626489_Whitening_and_Anti-wrinkle_Effects_of_Apple_Extracts
[10] https://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Article/2011/05/24/Complex-sugars-from-apple-pectin-may-have-anti-aging-effects#
[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972926/
[12] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/10-foods-that-are-high-in-potassium/
[13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29672394/
[14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22464763/
[15] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16465309/
[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972926/
[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877547/
[18] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E#topical-application
[19] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E#topical-application
[20] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21864090/
[21] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770766/
[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
[23] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/#R82
[24] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29672394/
[25] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012805376800023X
[26] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286888377_Lycopene_photoprotection_and_skin_care_The_benefits_of_organic_quality
[27] https://academicjournals.org/journal/JMPR/article-full-text/055AE2D66886
[28] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30813433/
[29] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ddg.12737
[30] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390139/
[31] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7346205/
[32] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060966/
[33] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916869/

[34] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770633/

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