Now that I've hit my mid-twenties, suddenly I've realized that I can't eat the way that I used to, even though I'm an avid runner. With that said, I've started to invest in a lot more fruits and vegetables recently, which got me wondering: Which fruits and vegetables are the best for your skin? After all, you're going to be grazing like a rabbit, you might as well get the biggest benefits! Thankfully, numerous studies have come in on this topic, and I've highlighted a few below.
According to the American Chemical Society, strawberries are the best fruit for your skin. The ACS compared the antioxidant activities of twelve common fruits via ORAC score, and the results were the following:
In this exciting 2006 study by the American Botanical Council, the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score of 27 vegetables were compared, and artichokes, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli, red chicory, red chili, and yellow pepper had the highest ORAC score, indicating that these vegetables have the highest antioxidant activity. Further, according to University of Pittsburgh clinical professor of psychiatry Dr. David Servan Schrieber, M.D. Ph.D. in his book Anticancer, it is beneficial to consume inflammation-fighting mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cabbages, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower), as well as vegetables rich in carotenoids/antioxidants (e.g., tomatoes, carrots, yams, squash, sweet potato, apricots, beets, and other brightly or richly colored vegetables).
The grocery store can act as your own personal Sephora, as this study in The Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology affirms that eating a beneficial ingredient is actually more beneficial than topically applying it. However, the study further suggests that topically applying beneficial ingredients (like antioxidants) and ingesting them together is most beneficial. In general, for the greatest benefit, look for brightly colored fruits and vegetables with relatively low water content, such as strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. These dense, richly pigmented fruits and vegetables are likely to be the most rich in antioxidants. Also look for mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, which have been found to have anti-inflammatory activity. Overall, it's hard to do wrong in the produce aisle, but a few upgrades here and there never hurt anyone! Here are some other food-related posts you might enjoy:
If you enjoyed this post, you would most likely also enjoy Dr. Servan-Schreiber's book Anticancer. A clinical professor with an M.D./Ph.D., Dr. Servan-Schrieber was diagnosed with brain cancer for the second time when he started to investigate the anti-cancer potential of certain foods and lifestyle choices on his own. Now a healthy individual, Dr. Servan-Schreiber's advice is both life-changing and doable. I don't want for this to sound like an advertisement - I was recommended the book by a Ph.D.-level colleague of mine, and I truly think that it might help someone else out there. I highly recommend Anticancer!