Five Summer Foods to Feed Your Skin Well

The health of your skin is vital to your overall health and well-being. As the largest organ in your body, skin plays a huge role in keeping you healthy. The primary function of the skin is to protect you from environmental stressors.

Skin is composed of two layers, with each layer playing an important role. The epidermal outer layer is highly cellular and provides a barrier function, while the inner dermal layer ensures strength and elasticity and gives nutritional support to the epidermis. Normal skin contains high concentrations of Vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis, and assists in antioxidant protection against UV-induced damage.

It stands to reason that a skin-healthy diet would include Vitamin C-rich foods.


Red Bell Peppers

These beautiful peppers contain significant amounts of dietary fiber and vitamin B6. Rich in carotenoids, which help prevent wrinkles and increase blood circulation to your skin, helping it look more youthful. High in antioxidants, red bell peppers contain 317% of your daily Vitamin C requirements. As previously mentioned, Vitamin C is vital to young-looking skin. As we age, we lose collagen. Therefore Vitamin C is necessary as it stimulates collagen synthesis.

A great way to incorporate Red Bell peppers into your summer dinner routine is to grill them until charred. Allow them to cool in a paper bag. Slip the skin off. Puree the peppers with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. These soft roasted peppers make a fantastic sauce over grilled chicken or fish.

 

Strawberries

Loaded with Vitamin C, strawberries are a must-have for summer. A serving of these delicious berries contains 163% of your daily requirements of Vitamin C. Try tossing a few in your salad or smoothie. Like salsa? Try this salsa recipe with a strawberry twist.

1 pint strawberries

1 jalapeno (or sweet) pepper

Half of a small red onion

2/3 c finely-chopped cilantro, loosely-packed

Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons

 

Pint of salt and black pepper

 

Instructions:

Wash, hull, and finely dice the strawberries. De-stem and remove seeds of jalapeno (or sweet pepper for a milder flavor). Wash, peel, and finely dice half a small red onion, about ½ cup.

Toss all ingredients together until combined. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.


Zucchini

This yummy squash is chock-full of manganese, a mineral that helps to fight off sun damage on your skin. It also aids in the production of collagen, which increases skin elasticity, and helps fight off rashes from the heat and sun.

There are so many ways to incorporate zucchini into your diet easily. Using a spiralizer, you can make zucchini noodles (or zoodles). Take the zoodles and saute in olive oil with salt and pepper until crisp-tender. Pour pasta sauce over the top, and you’ve got a quick and easy, healthy dinner.


Cherries

Studies suggest that eating sweet or tart cherries can prevent and decrease oxidative stress, which plays a significant role in the aging process. In addition, cherries are loaded with Vitamin C (do you see a theme?) to get the collagen pumping and potassium to help keep your skin well hydrated. These nutrients will give you that dewy summer skin glow and prevent dry, flaky skin. Try this smoothie for a nutritious on-the-go breakfast.

 

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

¾ cup frozen pineapple

¾ cup frozen pitted cherries

½ cup lite coconut milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth

 

Green Beans

Plenty of research suggests that retinals (which are Vitamin A derivatives related to, but not the same as, retinol) can slow down the skin’s aging process. Green beans are a great seasonal skin beauty booster because they have beta-carotene in them, which converts in the body to retinal. Retinal keeps skin smooth and works to protect past and present sun damage. Please, please, still wear your mineral-based sunscreen.

 

Beautiful skin starts with what you eat. Enjoy the yummy goodness that summer brings. Your skin will thank you!