7 Delicious Foods to Incorporate Into Your Diet for a Radiant, Clear Complexion
Read Time: 2-3 Minutes
We all know that beautiful skin starts from the inside out, with diet, exercise, and sleep affecting our complexions and overall radiance. But did you know that there are certain antioxidant-rich foods that can seriously impact our skin’s health? By reducing harmful free radical activity—which can be caused by environmental pollutants, sun exposure, and an unhealthy diet—antioxidants help keep our skin youthful and healthy. Incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your daily meals can make a huge difference—promoting firmness, clearness, and radiance while diminishing signs of aging and reducing acne and dullness. Below, we’ve compiled seven of our favorite antioxidant-packed snacks.
1. Pomegranate — The delicious, crunchy seeds of this superfood are packed with antioxidant-rich vitamins C and B5, potassium, and antioxidant polyphenols (plant-based micronutrients) that help the skin better retain moisture and promote improved circulation, which can lead to increased radiance. Vitamin C helps reduce the effects of photoaging after exposure to pollution and sun, while vitamin B3 helps strengthen our skin’s protective barrier and reduce redness.
2. Blueberries — Tart and juicy, blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. In fact, just ½ a cup a day can almost double the average amount of antioxidants consumed daily. Studies have shown that blueberries may help reduce inflammation, which can result in breakouts and redness, while helping to protect skin cells. In addition to anti-aging vitamin C, blueberries also contain quercetins, flavonols (plant-based compounds) with high antioxidant activity that help soothe and restore irritated, rough skin.
3. Green tea — Although all types of tea are beneficial for the skin and overall health, green tea is especially soothing, containing over five times the amount of catechins as black tea. Catechin polyphenols ramp up the skin’s defense capabilities and healing abilities while preventing the breakdown of collagen, which keeps our skin pliable and supple. A cup or two of green tea every day will help diminish the signs of aging while reducing inflammation, keeping skin soft and youthful.
4. Dark chocolate — Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Like blueberries, dark chocolate contains flavanols, which provide anti-inflammatory benefits and reduce redness. Dark chocolate is also packed with vitamins C and E, both of which help promote elasticity and fight the signs of aging; vitamin C helps regulate the production of collagen and limits free radical damage caused by environmental pollutants, while vitamin E prevents water loss and soothes dry, rough skin. The higher the cocoa level, the more antioxidants, so reach for at least 72% cocoa when shopping for the sweet stuff.
5. Tomatoes — Containing four antioxidant-rich carotenoids (naturally occurring pigments that give foods their vibrant hues; think carrots, and, yes, tomatoes), tomatoes are one of the most beneficial foods available for our skin. The carotenoid lycopene, in particular, is especially powerful and is found in very high concentrations in tomatoes. This unique antioxidant helps protect against the harmful effects of UV rays and aids in the regeneration of skin cells, resulting in a healthy, radiant glow. And the familiar vitamins C and E and quercetins? Tomatoes have those too.
6. Garlic — A delicious way to zest up pastas, salads, and, well, just about everything, garlic is packed with free-radical fighting vitamin C, as well as selenium, a trace metal with antioxidant properties that protects our skin cells from environmental damage and speeds up the skin’s repair systems, keeping your skin strong and better able to fend off damaging environmental pollution and UV rays. Garlic’s antimicrobial properties, meanwhile, are also beneficial for reducing and diminishing acne.
7. Spinach — Along with other leafy greens, like Swiss chard and the ever-ubiquitous kale, spinach is packed with various antioxidants, such as the powerful coenzyme (CoQ10). Found in every cell in the body, CoQ10 helps protect the skin’s barrier and also strengthens the heart muscles, which help maintain healthy circulation, and, therefore, that radiant glow we all seek. The antioxidant polyphenols found in spinach, like carotenoids, can also help protect against UV-related damage. If you find yourself struggling to meet a healthy greens intake, try making (or buying) an organic green smoothie you can take on the go.
Making time for healthy, homemade meals can be a challenge when balancing a busy schedule, but incorporating a few healthy, delicious antioxidant-rich foods into your diet can make a huge difference not only in energy levels and overall health, but also in our skin’s vitality and appearance. Reach for the organic versions of these and receive optimal benefits with none of the risk of pesticides (it’s better for the environment too). By fighting free radicals that cause signs of aging and promoting better moisture retention, antioxidants help keep our skin clear, radiant, and youthful, so stock up on these skin-food essentials, and afterwards, go ahead and treat yourself to some cocoa-rich dark chocolate. You’ve earned it.