Skin Superfoods: Eating Rx for Your Largest Organ
The connection between weight and diet is clear—a couple of days of overindulgence and you can see it on the scale and feel it in your waistband. But even though the relationship between diet and healthy skin is just as strong, it’s easier to discount – it’s just not as tangible.
Our skin is our largest organ, and the most visible indicator of our health and our age. Skin aging and loss of skin’s youthful, healthy glow can happen more subtly over time. Retinol treatments and spa facials can cost a month’s salary and prove ineffective, but luckily, the food we eat can improve an array of skin characteristics such as sun damage, acne and wrinkles.
According to a recent WomansDay.com article called 9 Superfoods for Beautiful Skin, certain superfoods in particular can combat specific skin problems, such as sun damage, acne or lines and wrinkles. For instance, avocados are the food to turn to for elasticity; if sagging is your bête noire, eat plenty of tuna.
It is perhaps no surprise that blueberries are a true superfood when it comes to skin. Packed full of antioxidants, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are well known to protect the skin against sun damage, and WomansDay.com cites blueberries as particularly effective against sun damage, owing to its anti-aging properties. Blueberries are particularly rich in flavones, which have an anti-inflammatory effect, making them popular anti-aging food. They play a role in the longevity of cells, and younger healthier cells means younger, healthier skin.
Wrinkles Banished – with Color
As important as disease prevention is, on a day to day basis, wrinkles are often the thing that causes us regular anguish. Besides the skin superfoods listed in article discussed above, there is also evidence to suggest that the colorful eggplant, along with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, is a great source for preventing skin aging. The eggplant is touted as a healthy skin food in The Color Code, Dr. James Joseph’s groundbreaking book that urges us to eat across the rainbow to maintain health and prevent disease.
According to the book, preventing wrinkles means essentially eating the same diet recommended for good health: one heavy in vegetables and fruits along with foods like legumes, yogurt, eggs and nuts. Not surprisingly, food culprits when it comes to skin are foods that should be eaten in moderation anyway: whole milk, red meat, butter and sugary foods.
Eggplant, like wild blueberries, is rich in antioxidants, and it’s antioxidants that fight oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases and aging. (In fact, the eggplant is a fruit, not a vegetable, and is classified as a berry.) Studies indicate that getting foods with antioxidants should be eaten at every meal – not just once a week. Eggplants fill the bill sometimes, but for other sources look to berries, greens, tomatoes, and things like tea and garlic.
In recent years, studies into oxidative stress have furthered research into antioxidants by allowing scientists to examine the performance of specific foods against oxidative stress in the body to determine those that are highly effective, including berries and eggplant. Researchers have also determined that health benefits go beyond the vitamin components – it’s actually the antioxidant power of polyphenols providing the healthy benefits. Polyphenols, found in foods like berries, appear to inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators, protecting the skin from wrinkles and from the signs of aging. That’s why health powerhouse and superfood blueberries are always on the top of the list when it comes to skin health and anti-aging.
Skin-tastic Eggplant Ideas
Now that you are face to face with your large purple doorstop, what do you do with it? The easiest eggplant solution: slice, dredge in skim milk and breadcrumbs and bake. Just be careful to avoid oil so as not to defeat the benefits. Beneficial phenolic compounds are found in the skin of many fruits and vegetables, including eggplants and potatoes, so in most cases, don’t peel it. Here’s a few more delicious strategies for making the most of your eggplant:
WebMD has a Grilled Eggplant, Pepper, and Goat Cheese Sandwich that’s veggie rich as well as tasty.
Food52.com offers award-winning Criss-cross Pan-fried Eggplant that will give your skin a glow.
Eggplant Rolls with Spicy Tomato Sauce from epicurious.com is a spa for your tongue and your skin.
Give your skin a boost from Sicilian-Style Eggplant Caponata courtesy of Whole Foods.
ThatsFit.com has a Grilled Whole-Wheat Pizza with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Feta that sounds indulgent, but skips the meat, provides the benefits of whole wheat, and features lycopene-rich tomatoes.
Incorporate wild blueberries into every meal from breakfast to dinner. Search a wild database of great wild blueberries recipes.
Dry Skin Prevention for Winter: CNN.com provides some help on how to bare your winter skin.