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Video: Want a flawless face? Feed your skin

  1. Transcript of: Want a flawless face? Feed your skin

    NATALIE MORALES, anchor: This morning on TODAY'S BEAUTY , forget the drugstore and cosmetic counters, if you want beautiful skin , just head right into your kitchen. Courtenay Smith is the executive editor of Prevention magazine. She is here with the power foods that'll keep your skin glowing. Courtenay , good morning.

    Ms. COURTENAY SMITH (Prevention Magazine): Good morning.

    MORALES: So is it really true that you are what you eat and it comes from within?

    Ms. SMITH: The foods that are in your kitchen...

    MORALES: Yes.

    Ms. SMITH: ...are just as important to keeping your skin young, glowing, smooth as the creams in your bathroom.

    MORALES: So beauty starts in the kitchen. So let's get started with some power foods. And starting with leafy greens . How are these good for you and for your skin?

    Ms. SMITH: Romaine lettuce in particular, six leaves provides 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A.

    MORALES: Wow.

    Ms. SMITH: This revitalizes our skin by increasing cell turnover.

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. SMITH: And it's not just your face that benefits, the potassium in romaine boosts circulation and this may help prevent circulation-related problems like varicose veins in our legs.

    MORALES: Oh, OK. And it'll give you a little healthy glow, too. OK. So go for the leafy green salads like the romaine salads. Yes.

    Ms. SMITH: Yeah. And you know what, the tomatoes...

    MORALES: Tomatoes.

    Ms. SMITH: ...that are on that salad, what I want people to remember is eating red helps keep skin from turning red. One study found that people who eat the most tomatoes and tomato products...

    MORALES: Uh-huh.

    Ms. SMITH: ...are 25 percent more protected against sunburn.

    MORALES: Oh, wow.

    Ms. SMITH: Great natural protection.

    MORALES: That's wonderful. OK. Who knew?

    MORALES: Now strawberries. Love strawberries. And strawberries, they actually can help your skin keep from sagging. Is that true?

    Ms. SMITH: It is true.

    MORALES: I'm going to start eating them right now.

    Ms. SMITH: The strawberries, one cup as up to 130 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. SMITH: And this is a powerful antioxidant that boosts collagen. Collagen is what keeps skin firm...

    MORALES: Right.

    Ms. SMITH: ...and smooth and prevents the sagging.

    MORALES: Helps cell turnover and all of that.

    Ms. SMITH: Yes.

    MORALES: Great. And what about the apples here?

    Ms. SMITH: The apples may help protect you against skin cancer .

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. SMITH: The quercetin in their peel is an antioxidant that studies show it helps provide a hefty dose of protection against UVB rays that burn our skin and trigger skin cancer .

    MORALES: Mm-hmm. OK.

    Ms. SMITH: And I have to say just a couple a week also helps protect women against heart disease . So your body will feel great, too.

    MORALES: Even better. OK. Now let's move over to the proteins. And you like soy and eggs. And they -- one keeps the skin firm, the other protects from UV damage, so which one are we talking about doing each?

    Ms. SMITH: Well, the great news about soy protein , like edamame here, is...

    MORALES: Strawberry in my teeth.

    Ms. SMITH: ... women -- a study recently found that women in their 30s and 40s...

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. SMITH: ...who ate soy protein as part of their diet noticed a significant improvement in skin firmness and fine lines.


    Ms. SMITH: So who doesn't want that?

    MORALES: Great. And the eggs?

    Ms. SMITH: And the eggs, the antioxidants in eggs quadruple protection against the UV rays that cause fine lines, brown spots and cancer . So again, multiple protection. And also, women who eat eggs, their skin is better hydrated.

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. SMITH: So you're getting the moisture....

    MORALES: Good. And speaking of hydration, nuts, too...

    Ms. SMITH: Yes.

    MORALES: ...have a lot -- a lot to do with that, too, right?

    Ms. SMITH: Loaded with good fats.

    MORALES: Uh-huh.

    Ms. SMITH: The almonds deliver a surge of moisture and they also -- a handful a day boosts vitamin E.


    Ms. SMITH: And vitamin E is one of the most important antioxidants for keeping skin healthy.

    MORALES: So almonds and the walnuts.

    Ms. SMITH: And the walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids that keep skin moist and supple.

    MORALES: OK. And finally, hot chocolate . This is great news.

    Ms. SMITH: Doesn't this look fantastic?

    MORALES: I know. But it's dark hot chocolate , right, that's the difference.

    Ms. SMITH: Yes, it is.

    MORALES: What does this do for us?

    Ms. SMITH: Women who ate hot chocolate made with dark chocolate , they positively glowed after one study immediately...

    MORALES: Wow.

    Ms. SMITH: ...because of the boost in circulation. That lasted for two hours. And when they followed the habit for 12 weeks, their skin got softer and firmer.

updated 4/9/2010 10:55:59 AM ET 2010-04-09T14:55:59

Can you really eat your way to younger-looking skin? You bet! The foods in your kitchen are just as important for keeping skin soft, smooth and glowing as the creams in your vanity. Here, we reveal the top 8 power foods that feed your skin in beautiful ways.

As a bonus, these nutritional superstars also do wonders for the rest of your body — build brainpower, lower cholesterol, improve sleep and more. Ready to take the inside-out approach to loving your skin for life? Say hello to your new grocery list.

Top vegetable: Romaine lettuce
Why you’ll glow: Six leaves provide more than 100% of your DV of vitamin A, which revitalizes skin by increasing cell turnover. The mineral potassium in romaine gives skin a refreshing boost of nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation.

Health bonus: That same serving of romaine contains 45% of the DV of vitamin K, which a recent study shows activates a protein that supports vascular health — making a future with bulging leg veins less likely.

Runner-up: Tomatoes
Why you’ll glow: Eating red helps keep skin from turning red. Volunteers who consumed 5 tablespoons of high-in-lycopene tomato paste daily for 3 months had nearly 25% more protection against sunburn in one study. Even better, skin had more collagen, which prevents sagging. Another reason to toss an extra tomato into your salad: German scientists report that higher skin levels of this antioxidant correlate to fewer fine lines and furrows.

Health bonus: Research suggests that lycopene may also lower your chances of heart disease: In one study, women with the highest levels of it had a 34% reduced risk.

Top fruit: Strawberries
Why you’ll glow: A cup has up to 130% of the DV of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that boosts production of collagen fibers that help keep skin smooth and firm. More C may mean fewer fine lines too: Women with lower intakes were likelier to have dry, wrinkled skin. Early research also shows that ellagic acid, an antioxidant abundant in strawberries, protects the elastic fibers that keep skin from sagging. Sweet!

Health bonus: Strawberries may lower your risk of cancer by inhibiting the development of malignant cancer cells. In one study, people eating the most strawberries were 3 times less likely to develop the disease. 13 cities with the worst skin

Runner-up: Apples
Why you’ll glow: Quercetin, an antioxidant in the peel of many varieties, provides hefty protection from the “burning” UVB rays that trigger skin cancer. A few offering the biggest dose: Monroe, Cortland, and Golden Delicious. The next time you plan to spend time in the sun, pick one of them to start your day (of course, you still need to wear sunscreen).

Health bonus: Eating two or more apples a week for 1 year reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 15% in one study of 34,000 healthy postmenopausal women. Whatever variety you choose, be sure to eat the peel, the source of nearly all the antioxidants.

Top protein: Soy
Why you’ll glow: Fine wrinkles and skin firmness improved after women in their late 30s and early 40s ate foods like tempeh that contain the soy isoflavone known as aglycone, found one study. Volunteers consumed an amount of aglycone comparable to 3 ounces of tempeh a day for 12 weeks.

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Health bonus: Adding soy to your diet may reduce your risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancers and diabetes and prevent a recurrence of breast cancer, finds new research. The best sources: whole foods. Try substituting edamame for any vegetable and tempeh or tofu for meat and poultry in stir-fries and soups.

Runner-up: Eggs
Why you’ll glow: Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in eggs, more than quadrupled protection against the UV damage that leads to lines, brown spots, and cancer in one study on women. Skin was also markedly softer, firmer, and better hydrated.

Health bonus: Eating just one egg a day significantly increases blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin (but not cholesterol), which may stave off macular degeneration by protecting the retina from light damage, finds a study in the Journal of Nutrition. Video: Dermatologist spills skin secrets

Top nut: Almonds
Why you’ll glow: “Eating a handful of almonds every day boosts levels of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for skin health. You’ll get a surge in moisture too — a boon for those prone to dryness.

Health bonus: Though nuts are high in calories, women who ate them at least twice a week were less likely to gain weight than those who rarely did, in a new study of over 50,000 women.

Runner-up: Walnuts
Why you’ll glow: These nuts are storehouses of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that’s a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin moist and supple. A 1⁄2-ounce serving of walnuts provides 100% of the recommended daily intake of ALA.

Health bonus: Eating walnuts at dinner may deliver better shut-eye. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center discovered that walnuts contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

Top fat: Cocoa made with dark chocolate
Why you’ll glow: Women in one study positively glowed after drinking 1⁄2 cup, thanks to a significant increase in circulation that lasted 2 hours. But a daily cocoa habit may rejuvenate your complexion even more. Women who drank 1⁄2 cup of cocoa high in flavonoids (as is dark chocolate) every day for 12 weeks in another study had significantly softer, smoother, and better hydrated skin. Try Nestlé Hot Cocoa Dark Chocolate.

Health bonus: An 8-ounce cup of cocoa improved blood flow to the brain for 2 hours in British research. Besides better functioning on complex tasks, participants showed more brain activity in MRI scans — an indication of enhanced brain function that may reduce the risk of dementia.

Runner-up: Extra-virgin olive oil
Why you’ll glow: This healthy fat contains essential fatty acids that help skin resist UV damage, finds a Lancet Oncology study. EFAs are also part of the cell membranes that help hold in moisture. The body can’t synthesize EFAs, so consume about 1 tablespoon of olive oil daily to keep skin supple.

Health bonus: Recent research suggests that hydroxytyrosol, a component in olive oil, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent obesity and diabetes by revving the energy centers in your cells. Using it at meals also warded off the next round of hunger pains in one study, so you’re less likely to snack.

Copyright© 2012 Rodale Inc.All rights reserved. No reproduction, transmission or display is permitted without the written permissions of Rodale Inc.


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