You Are What You Eat: Using Food for Beautiful, Healthy Skin

Strawberries
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"A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," sang Mary Poppins. Sounds good, right? Wrong, says holistic nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos. She says that you can use food as medicine - and there's no sugar needed!

Anti-aging cures abound on the Internet and in health food stores, with supplements that promise to provide you with a healthy body, glowing skin and youthful energy. But Peggy says that by choosing the right foods, you can enhance your health while enjoying beautiful skin. "What you EAT affects the look and quality of your skin, while stress, poor diet, UV and environmental toxins can cause free-radical damage resulting in premature aging," explains Peggy.

Try these five foods to protect your skin and produce a youthful, glowing, healthy complexion:

Olives

Use olive oil in your cooking and on your salads to hydrate. In addition, olives provide you with vitamins A and E. These vitamins protect your skin's oil and minimize free-radical damage. "Olives also help strengthen connective tissues, improving skin tone and protecting against UV radiation. The rich phenol content protects skin against oxidization. It helps repair cells, protects against damage and soothes the skin, helping it renew and regenerate. Olives are also naturally rich in squalane, which is a key ingredient in many store-bought skincare products. Squalane absorbs easily into the skin, keeping skin moist as well as restoring lost moisture," says Peggy.

Sweet Potatoes

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If you limit your intake of sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving, you're missing out on a great way to boost your skin's health! High in beta carotene, these treats have significant anti-aging benefits. Sweet potatoes rejuvenate your skin by encouraging the growth of new skin cells. In addition, if you are struggling with acne, beta carotene can normalize oil production.

Strawberries

High in vitamin C, these tasty fruits can firm and tone your skin. Vitamin C prevents wrinkles and free-radical damage. It also helps your body produce collagen for firm skin.

Cucumbers

Low in calories, high in water, cucumbers are great for hydrating your skin. "Proper hydration reduces the appearance of wrinkles, eliminates dryness and helps with elasticity. While water is the first thing to come to mind, the juice from watery veggies, such as cucumber, provided the same benefit. Plus the added value of vitamins, mineral and nutrients cleanse the skin and reduce inflammation and puffiness," advises Peggy. And don't peel those cukes: The skin of the cucumber contains silica, which strengthens collagen and improves skin elasticity.

Savi Seeds

Providing you with plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids and protein, these seeds tone and moisturize your skin. Omega-3s are important for enhancing your skin's elasticity, reducing inflammation, restoring moisture and overall health.

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