Face it: What you eat really does make a difference in the way you look


Illustration by Joseph Daniel Fiedler

Many cosmetics promise skin-enhancing benefits. But the real fountain of youth may be on your dinner plate. As it turns out, the proof was in the pudding all along.

Not only does eating certain foods improve skin quality naturally, it’s also a safe, affordable, and surgery-free way to help skin look and feel great.

Beaumont Hospital dermatologist Dr. Tina Pickett-Baisden suggests a skin-enhancing diet. Vitamins A, C, and E are among the important ingredients.

“Those nutrients contain antioxidants that soak up the free radicals,” Pickett-Baisden says. Because free radicals damage skin cells, antioxidants help maintain a youthful appearance.

She also recommends eating foods containing omega-3 fats, which aid in restoring and strengthening skin while helping it retain moisture. They foster clear, plump, softer skin, and help decrease blackheads.

Pickett-Baisden also reminds patients to drink water. Hydrating skin rejuvenates skin cells, rids the body of toxins, and encourages healthful perspiration. Even mild dehydration can lead to aging and dryness of the skin.

Pickett-Baisden cautions, however, that there is no fast track to more youthful skin. Moderation is key, she says. Over-eating foods containing specific nutrients will not help.

“It’s not going to be noticeable overnight,” she says. “Improvements should show in six months to a year but, once it begins, it will continually improve.”

So, in a dermatologist’s opinion, can the foods we eat really change the look of our skin?

“Definitely,” she says.

Apparently, an apple a day can help keep the dermatologist away.

Kitchen Beautiful

Keep a plentiful supply of these skin-friendly ingredients on hand:

• Berries, plums, artichokes, prunes, and pecans are particularly rich in antioxidants.

Blueberries and green tea are known for high antioxidant content and provide more than a fair share of vitamins that benefit skin’s appearance.

• Greens, squash, carrots, and papayas contain vitamin A, which fights skin damage.

• Vitamin C protects skin from environmental hazards, such as UV rays. Citrus fruits typically are high in C, which is said to help skin produce collagen, aid in healing wounds, and fight dullness that can be caused by sun exposure.

• Omega-3 rich foods include fish, ground flax seed, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

• Vitamin E, which is found in avocados, spinach, and asparagus, helps skin look luminous, especially when present with vitamin C. Together, they become an anti-aging one-two punch.

• Hydration is simple but often neglected. Drink water often, and go easy on caffeinated and sugary beverages.

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