Which Fruits and Vegetables are Best for Your Skin?


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.

Best Fruits for Your Skin

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:

  • 1.  Strawberry
  • 2.  Plum
  • 3.  Orange
  • 4.  Red grape
  • 5.  Kiwi fruit
  • 6.  Pink grapefruit
  • 7.  White grape
  • 8.  Banana
  • 9.  Apple
  • 10.  Tomato
  • 11.  Pear
  • 12.  Honeydew melon

Best Vegetables for Your Skin

In Borba Age-Defying Skin Balance Water, 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 Bottom Line

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!


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17 thoughts on “Which Fruits and Vegetables are Best for Your Skin?

  1. Jeni says:

    I read “Anticancer” earlier this year – it was good! I’ve made a few changes in my diet after reading the book (like putting tumeric on food) but there are still a lot more changes I should be making to get even healthier.

  2. nadia says:

    I was told by my doctor that blueberries provide the most abundant antioxidant! how come its missing from this list??

  3. futurederm says:

    @Jeni – I’m so glad you liked the book too!

    @Satyricon331 – Other factors, such as a fruit’s intrinsic vitamins, minerals, and fiber content, may affect your health and thereby your skin. I decided to report only on the factor that was easy-to-compare and already mentioned in a published peer-reviewed study, which was antioxidant potential. But you’re absolutely right – there is more to it than just antioxidant potential.

    @Nadia – Blueberries are wonderful! They do have a very high antioxidant content, as do raspberries, acai berries, and goji berries (amongst others). However, the ORAC score of blueberries and the other mentioned berries has not been recorded in any study in comparison to all of the others, at least not to my knowledge. Next time I will be sure to include footnotes…thanks!!!

  4. angie says:

    i also heard strawberries are one of the most heavily sprayed (pesticides) fruits….

    guess moderation is key for everything…

  5. Carol Aguilar says:

    My Doctor told me the worst fruit you could buy are the commercially grown and pesticide sprayed strawberries. The workers in the fields where the sprays are used get terribly ill from the chemicals. She told me to ONLY buy organically grown pesticide free berries.

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