It would be wonderful if you could simply pop a pill every day that would give you perfect, glowing, blemish-free skin. Unfortunately, we’re all still waiting on that little miracle. But until it happens, there are actually several foods to eat that can improve your skin—and they all just happen to be seasonal summer foods on the shelves right now.
Here are five (delicious) skin-boosting foods you’ll want to throw in your grocery cart this summer.
1. Tomatoes. A cup of raw tomatoes contains around 5 mg of lycopene, a carotenoid found in orange and reddish fruits and vegetables that can help fight free radicals in skin from sun overexposure. (Plus cellular damage that can lead to cancer and a host of other diseases.) Take your daily “dose” of health sliced with cucumbers and tossed in a splash of olive oil and balsamic and sprinkled with chopped fresh basil for a fresh appetizer or side dish.
2. Berries. These nutritional powerhouses have long been admired for their high antioxidant content, but those same antioxidants that can help fight disease can also fight signs of premature aging. Blueberries have been ranked number one in antioxidant activity by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and those antioxidants—coupled with phytochemicals, or chemical compounds that occur naturally in blueberries and are responsible for that rich blue hue—neutralize free radicals that can cause damage and disintegration in skin cells. Raspberries, black berries, and strawberries also contain the same age-fighting antioxidants. Try yours sprinkled over oatmeal or yogurt or blended into a smoothie.
3. Fish. Certain fish like salmon contain high quantities of omega-3s, or fatty acids essential for healthy skin. The omega-3s block harmful substances from entering the skin’s membrane and reduce your body’s production of inflammatory chemicals and wrinkle-causing agents. To get more fish in your diet, replace your standard burgers on the grill with a few salmon fillets, or serve yours chopped in a salmon salad sandwich with light mayo.
4. Avocado. Packed with vitamins C and E (more than any other fruit!), avocados are a delicious way to speed up the healing and rebuilding of your skin cells. Avocado extract has also been shown to be effective at lowering UV-induced cellular damage from sun exposure. Combine these green beauties with foods high in selenium (such as shellfish, mushrooms, grains, and onions) for maximum results, or use an avocado as a DIY facial–simply mash a few slices, spread on skin for 15 minutes, and then rinse with cool water and pat dry.
5. Carrots. Make like a rabbit this summer with this crisp orange vegetable. You body converts beta carotene-rich carrots into Vitamin A, highly touted for its ability to assist in the development and rebuilding of skin cells for a smoother texture. Grate a handful of carrots into a salad or enjoy them raw dipped in hummus.