Antioxidants and Beauty

We all have heard that self acceptance is the answer to our insecurities, and that true beauty comes from within. But if your self-care routine includes pampering yourself with serums, lotions and other treatments, but you’re not noticing a real change, you might want to step away from the beauty counter and check out the produce aisle.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it takes on a lot of the stress we accumulate in our busy, modern lives. Environmental toxins from air pollution, sun damage and even the way we react to those little doses of daily aggravation all concentrate in the skin, causing free radical damage (aka unstable molecules that break down skin cells). This damage is what’s behind those familiar signs of premature aging and stress, such as wrinkles, dull skin, brown spots and moisture loss.

Oxidative stress (a fancy name for the accumulation of too many free radicals, or unstable molecules) is thought to be one of the key factors in rapid aging of the skin and loss of suppleness. And just like antioxidants benefit the internal organs by preventing cells from damage or death, they also can benefit the external. There are countless topical serums and lotions available containing Vitamin C (proven to play a role in the production of collagen) as well as Vitamin E, green tea, ferulic acid and others. These come in multiple formulations and price points, and some may give better results than others. But according to researchers, the very best way to get the antioxidant benefit your skin needs may just be the simplest: eat lots of antioxidant rich foods.

Immune-boosting Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits like oranges and bell peppers. Almonds, walnuts, mushrooms and even coffee are not only delicious, but contain high concentrations of polyphenols and Vitamin E. But bright, bold colored fruits and vegetables are nature’s best clue as to the presence of lots of beneficial antioxidants, since the protective pigments that give these plants their color are made up of the molecules that fight free radicals.

Bright orange carrots, deep leafy greens, yellow squash and ripe, juicy mangoes are vibrant sources of antioxidants that taste great. And red and purple foods such as eggplant, cherries, blueberries, acai berries and Kenyan Purple Tea really pack a punch: in addition to the benefits noted above, foods that have this coloring also contain anthocyanins, which not only benefit the skin but also can help control obesity and prevent cancer.

So if you’re looking for the very best anti-aging skincare and overall wellness, walk away from the vanity and turn to the kitchen. De-stressing from the inside out may just be the best skincare regimen around.

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