Who hasn’t ever aired a complaint about their appearance: wrinkles, puffy eyes, sleep-deprived? Go ahead, insert your issue here. Here’s the good news: A solution may be in what you add to your grocery cart. Try these beauty foods for a natural glow and radiance from your smile to your skin:
1. Foods for a healthy smile
Raisins: You might think that because raisins are sweet and sticky, they’re not good for your oral health. But research has shown that antioxidants in raisins fight the growth of a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease.
Other food solutions to try: Green tea. A daily cup of green tea significantly lowered Japanese men’s risk of developing gum disease.
2. Foods for healthy skin
Edamame: Collagen–the fibrous protein that keeps skin firm, youthful-looking and wrinkle-free–begins to decline starting in your 20s! Eating edamame and other soyfoods may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it’s 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.
Other food solutions: Sardines. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the omega-3 fats in fatty fish like sardines, has also been shown to preserve collagen.
3. Foods for healthy eyes
Cucumbers: Place slices over puffy eyes; cucumber’s anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce swelling, says Alan Logan, N.D., co-author of “Your Skin, Younger” (Sourcebooks, 2010).
4. Foods for better breath
Parsley: This herb has been shown to help kick garlic breath. The polyphenols (compounds that act like antioxidants) break down the smelly sulfur compounds in garlic. For the biggest benefit, combine garlic and parsley in the same dish, though it may be possible to get the garlic-breath-fighting benefits of polyphenols by eating it in dishes separate from the garlic, as long as they are consumed during the same meal.
Other food solutions: Basil, apples and spinach are also rich in polyphenols.
5. Foods for better sleep
Tart cherry juice: You’ve heard people say they need their “beauty sleep”–and it turns out there’s some truth to that, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. People rated study participants as healthier and more attractive when they slept 8 hours a night compared to when they were sleep-deprived.
Up your odds of getting that much-needed beauty rest by drinking a little tart cherry juice. In a small study, when adults with chronic insomnia drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day they experienced some relief in the severity of their insomnia. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.
– Brierly Wright, M.S., R.D.
EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.
(c) 2012 Eating Well, Inc. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.