Aging is a natural process that can be a beautiful part of life. However, some effects of aging can leave you feeling and looking bogged down — especially when it comes to your skin. Years of free radical damage and life stressors wreak havoc on your skin. The good news is you can prevent some of this damage by adding healthful foods to your diet.

In fact, research has found that a diet consisting of fruit and vegetables consumption may be the most healthy and safe method to maintain youthful appearing skin. Here are some of those healthful foods you should be adding to your diet to make your skin glow:

1. Oranges and other citrus fruit

1. Oranges and other citrus fruit foodprevent.com

Oranges contain lots of Vitamin C — 85% of your daily value in one small orange, to be exact. Vitamin C has been well-known to fight the common cold. Why? Well, not only is this vitamin a vitamin, but it also acts an antioxidant that fights disease, illness and even skin-harming free radicals.

Conversely, a lack of Vitamin C has been a well-known reason for scurvy, which is a condition that causes skin lesions, makes your skin more susceptible to bruising and slower to heal.  A study actually found that Vitamin C has what researchers called, “anti-scurvy properties” that boost collagen in the skin.

So, peel an orange, squeeze some lemon in that water or add a lime to that salad if you want your skin to be healthy.

2. Sunflower seeds

2. Sunflower seeds foodprevent.com

Sunflower seeds may be those things that you find strewn out in shrodes all over the baseball stands and field. You may even have a bit of a disdain for them due to this. However, those baseball players and fans may very well have some healthy aging skin in their near future because sunflower seeds have some pretty awesome nutrients.

These tiny seeds are loaded with copper, vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium,vitamin B6, folate and niacin. But the most critical skin-saving component is Vitamin E. This vitamin has long been said to have healing properties when applied to the skin. And while these accounts are mostly anecdotal with little research behind the claims, there is research that backs up the consumption of Vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds.

In fact, research has found that Vitamin E may protect both animal and plant cell membranes from light-induced damage to the eyes and skin.

3. Carrots

3. Carrots foodprevent.com

Carrots are inexpensive, and come in mass amounts like the rabbits who eat them. But, there’s no wonder those rabbits are so cute, fluffy, energetic and non-wrinkly. Carrots are full of vitamins including one all-important, beta carotene.

Beta carotene is probably the most well-know of the the carotenoids which is actually what gives carrots their orange color. Research has also found that Beta carotene is metabolized in many organs including the skin, which is a large reason it is so beneficial for the skin. What’s better, studies have found that Beta carotene supplementation protects against sunburn.

4. Eggs

4. Eggs foodprevent.com

While it’s not a plant, the egg has something that is very hard to come by in the food world, but is critical for healthy skin and bones. That thing is Vitamin D. Sure, the best way to get Vitamin D is from exposure to the sun, and that may seem simple enough. However, Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem, especially in the aging population.

focused review on Vitamin D and the skin concluded that a deficiency could have significant ties to  disorders including skin cancer, psoriasis and  ichthyosis, as well as  autoimmune skin disorders such as vitiligo, blistering disorders, scleroderma and systemic lupus erythematosus. Atopic dermatitis, acne, hair loss, infections and photodermatoses were also noted as being related to insufficient amounts of Vitamin D.

So, when you can’t get outside, make sure to eat your eggs.

5. Blackberries

5. Blackberries foodprevent.com

Blackberries are among the many, if not all plants that contain the skin protectant polyphenols. We just picked blackberries because they’re tasty and are full of other things like Vitamin C, fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin A and a great number of antioxidants. Plus, they blend awesomely well in a smoothie.

But, back to the polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-derived and are basically the plant’s defense against the sun’s UV rays that then transfers to you when they eat them. Research even says that polyphenols like the ones found in blackberries not only provide protection from UV rays, but also show significant anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-DNA damaging effects — which might as well all equate to anti-aging.

So, eat your blackberries, and keep your skin young, vibrant and healthy.

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