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Ten foods for healthy skin (guest blog post from 'An Apple A Day')

Posted Oct 03 2010 8:14pm
GUEST POST BY JOY PALEY OF 'AN APPLE A DAY'

10 Foods for Healthy Skin

If you're tired of shelling out big bucks for skin care products that don't seem to make a difference, maybe you should consider how what's on your plate might be affecting your skin. The skin is the largest organ of your body, and just like any other, it needs the right combination of nutrients to be at its best. Here are ten of the best neutraceuticals for encouraging healthy skin.

Almonds and Citrus: The sun is one of the worst enemies of healthy skin. Its rays cause free radicals in your skin to oxidate your cells; oxidation is what leads to aging and skin damage. In clinical trials, combinations of Vitamin E and Vitamin C together have been shown to have a protective effect against damaging UV rays. Almonds have one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin E, and citrus, of course, has high amounts of C. Spinach, Kale, Carrots: Beta-carotene is a chemical found in foods that is made into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A, like Vitamin E and C, has been shown to prevent skin damage in people exposed to UV rays from the sun. Vitamin A acts as a powerful antioxidant, zapping the free radicals in the skin. Spinach, kale, and carrots all have high amounts of beta-carotene. Cod Liver Oil and Fish Oil: The polyunsaturated fatty acids found in cod liver and fish oils help to strengthen your cells' membranes and protect them against sun damage. Since cell walls are made of fats, it's key to have an intake of the right type of fat in order to keep them functioning properly. Having healthy cell membranes makes skin cells stand up better against sun damage. Tomatoes and Greens: Lycopene is a nutrient that stops a certain type of oxidation in the body, called singlet oxidation. Once again, stopping oxidation is key to keeping cells from aging. Lycopene also has other benefits, such as promoting cardiovascular health by preventing good cholesterol from being oxidized into a form that is damaging to heart health. Green and Black Tea: Lipids, mentioned before, are important in healthy cell function; they ensure that cells keep their shape, and they control traffic in and out of cells. Teaflavins are a type of antioxidant found in teas that prevent lipid oxidation of the cells, thus promoting healthy cell functioning. Brazil Nuts: Selenium is a trace mineral that is used in certain proteins which act as enzymes that destroy free radicals. Thus, for these free-radical attacking proteins to function correctly, you need a bit of selenium in your diet. Brazil nuts are by far the best source of it, with nearly 10 times as much as the nearest competitor (tuna fish). Grapes, Grape Juice, and Wine (from red grapes): Grapes contain a wide range of great antioxidants. They scavenge superoxides, a very toxic form of oxygen that hurts cells.  Berries and Eggplant: Though berries and eggplant might not seem to have much in common, they both contain skin boosting chemicals that prevent aging of the cells. These chemicals, anthocyanins, catechins, cyanidins, and flavonols, act like Pac Man towards free radicals; they go through the body and gobble them up. Rosemary: Get out your favorite blend of Italian spices (or plant some in your garden; it grows like wildfire in temperate climates) because rosemary has a type of antioxidant you can't find anywhere else. The tasty herb contains carnosol, which scavenges free radicals and prevents the degradation of your cells' membranes. If you want your skin looking its best, you've gotta keep your cells healthy. Garlic and onion: The thiols in garlic and onion will protect your skin in the long run; they are chemicals that prevent cancer-causes molecules from binding to your cells' DNA.

Joy Paley is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on becoming a radiology technician for Guide to Healthcare Schools.

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