Winter foods for healthy skin
Pick a pink one, though, because pink grapefruit gets its pink-red hue from lycopene, a carotenoid that may help to keep your skin smooth. In a study published in 2008 in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, researchers found that of the 20 individuals studied, those who had higher skin concentrations of lycopene had smoother skin. You can also get lycopene from tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, guava and red peppers.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Grapefruit Chicken Satay Salad
Drinking a single cup of coffee daily may lower your risk of developing skin cancer. In one study of more than 93,000 women, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee a day reduced their risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. And the more they drank—up to about 6 cups or so per day—the lower their risk. Decaf didn’t seem to offer the same protection.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Greek Iced Coffee
Edamame is rich in isoflavones—and isoflavones act like antioxidants, scavenging for and mopping up harmful free radicals caused by sun exposure. Isoflavones may also help to preserve skin-firming collagen—which begins to decline starting in our twenties.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Hoisin Beef & Edamame Noodles
Tofu may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it is rich in isoflavones. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, mice fed isoflavones and exposed to ultraviolet radiation had fewer wrinkles and smoother skin than mice that were exposed to UV light but didn’t get isoflavones. The researchers believe that isoflavones help prevent collagen breakdown.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Southwestern Tofu Scramble
5. Egg Yolk
Egg yolks contain the carotenoid lutein, which like lycopene protects skin from UV damage. Lutein also helps to keep eyes healthy—mounting research links lutein with reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.
Related recipe from Eating Well: Devilish Egg
Research suggests caffeine in tea (coffee too) may help to protect your skin against skin cancer. Caffeine basically kills precancerous and ultraviolet-damaged skin cells by blocking a protein that they need to divide, explains Paul Nghiem, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of Washington Medical School. In a study where mice were exposed to harmful sunburn-causing ultraviolet B rays caffeine inhibited the formation of skin tumors.
Soymilk may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it is rich in isoflavones. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, mice fed isoflavones and exposed to ultraviolet radiation had fewer wrinkles and smoother skin than mice that were exposed to UV light but didn’t get isoflavones. The researchers believe that isoflavones help prevent collagen breakdown.
Carrots contain the carotenoids beta carotene and lycopene—both of which may shield your skin against UV damage. In one study, participants who were exposed to UV light had almost 50 percent less skin reddening after they drank about 1 2⁄3 cups of carrot juice or ate 2 1⁄2 tablespoons of tomato paste daily, in addition to their regular diet, for 10 to 12 weeks.
Tuna—and other omega-3-rich fish—may help keep your skin looking youthful and prevent skin cancer. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the omega-3 fats in fatty fish, has been shown to preserve collagen, a fibrous protein that keeps skin firm. And EPA in combination with the other omega-3 in fish, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), helps to prevent skin cancer by reducing inflammatory compounds that can promote tumor growth, says Homer S. Black, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the department of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Aim to eat two servings of fatty fish each week: not only are the omega-3s good for your skin, they’re good for your heart too.