5 Foods That Are Summer Skin Savers
Summertime is about to be in full swing. Ballparks, beaches, swimming pools, and theme parks are about to be teeming with crowds as people head outside for fun under the sun. The sun’s rays have quite a few health benefits — like putting you in a better mood and providing vitamin D. However, they can also do some serious damage to your skin. But, as the old saying goes, you are what you eat — and this applies to your skin too. We all know we should be drinking plenty of water to keep ourselves and our skin healthy, but there are foods that will enhance the skin’s appearance, protect against the harmful effects of the sun, and sometimes reverse damage from years when we weren’t so skin savvy. Here are five foods you need to be eating for your best summer skin.
Trying to reverse damage to your skin accumulated that has over the years? Heat up some tomatoes. U.S. News explains that the lycopene in tomatoes can combat damage caused by free radicals, while protecting against future damage. Free radicals, the Harvard School of Public Health explains, grab electrons from any and every possible source. Once the electrons are lost, the DNA of the now electron-less substance is altered, which can negatively impact its functioning. Antioxidants are a remedy for this, giving away electrons to free radicals without taking from others.
To get the most from your tomatoes, you’ll want to cook them. Ina Garten’s Food Network recipe for roasted tomatoes will have you turning up the heat; serve the tomatoes with bread, in pasta, on a salad, or pop them into your mouth as is!
- 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
- 4 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.
2. Tropical fruits
For more free radical protection, turn to tropical fruits like pineapples, kiwi, and papaya. Joy Bauer states that the vitamin C naturally found in the skin can be replenished when we eat foods that are also high in vitamin C, like tropical fruits. When the skin has plenty of vitamin C, it will maintain firmness and elasticity. This is because vitamin C helps produce collagen, which the Harvard School of Public Health notes is important for healthy gums, blood vessels, teeth and bones too. Keep dessert fresh and full of vitamin C this summer by making Bon Appétit‘s fruit tart, via Epicurious.
- 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ small pineapple, peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced
- 3 kiwis, peeled, thinly sliced
- 1 large mango, peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfold crust. Using wet fingertips, press together any cracks to seal. Rub crust with flour. Place crust, floured side down, in 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Fold overhang in; press firmly, forming double-thick sides. Pierce bottom of crust with fork. Bake until golden, about 14 minutes. Cool completely.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in whipping cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Spread filling in prepared crust. Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 1 hour. Arrange pineapple, kiwis, and mango atop tart. Stir preserves in saucepan over low heat until melted. Brush preserves over fruit. Chill tart up to 2 hours.
WebMD points out that one of the other ways the sun impacts our skin is by causing wrinkles. Fortunately, diet can help here too; AARP lists flaxseed as a food that can prevent wrinkles from forming because it is full of omega-3 fatty acids, the good kind of fat we want in our diets. You only need about half a teaspoon per day to get the skin plumping properties of flaxseeds working. In this PBS Parents recipe for zesty baked tortilla chips, ground flaxseed goes into the seasoning on homemade tortilla chips — a great snack to have around the house.
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- non-stick cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the tortillas on a cookie sheet or cutting board in a single layer. Generously spray and coat the tortillas with non-stick cooking spray. Turn the tortillas over and generously spray the other side. Stack the tortillas on top of each other and evenly cut 3 times to make 6 chips per tortilla.
Add the cheese, garlic salt, flaxseed, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika to a large freezer bag and seal. Massage the spice blend with your fingers on the outside of the bag until the spices are well mix. Add the tortillas to the bag and seal. Gently shake the bag until the chips are evenly coated with the spices. Divide the chips between two cookie sheets. Make sure the chips are lined in a single layer without overlapping. Coat the chips with cooking spray again. Bake for 10 minutes then rotate the chips. Bake an additional 5 to 8 minutes until the chips are crispy. Remove from the oven and allow the chips to cool before serving.
4. Raw Nuts
Different varieties of nuts can have different skin benefits, depending on the vitamins and minerals contained inside the little protein powerhouse. Kerry Torrens, the nutritional therapist for BBC Good Food, gave almonds high marks for skin health because the nut is high in vitamin E, which improves the skin’s overall appearance. Walnuts were praised for their omega-3s, so if you aren’t into flaxseed, walnuts are a potential alternative for fighting wrinkles.
Being more active in the summer creates the potential for scrapes and cuts — from falling off a bike, or stumbling while hiking perhaps. When you want a wound to heal, selenium is the nutrient that you want, and brazil nuts are a good way to get it in your diet. Pack a homemade KIND bar when you’re heading out the door this summer, and get all three types of nuts at once with The Yummy Life‘s copycat recipe.
- 1½ cups whole roasted unsalted almonds
- ¾ cup whole roasted unsalted peanuts
- ¾ cup roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup roasted Brazil nuts (15 whole nuts), coarsely chopped
- ½ cup of: puffed millet, rice, any puffed whole grain, or crispy brown rice
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup, or light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions: If any of the nuts are raw, roast them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Grease or spray a large bowl, 9 x 13 baking sheet, wooden spoon or rubber spatula, and bottom of drinking glass. Set aside. Add toasted nuts to large bowl. Add puffed rice/millet and flaxseed meal. Stir to combine; set aside.
In 1½- or 2-quart saucepan, combine honey, rice syrup, salt, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 260 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Immediately, pour mixture over nut mixture, stir until evenly coated. Quickly transfer to prepared 9 x 13 pan, use hands to spread mixture evenly in pan; press the mixture to close in holes and distribute evenly all over the pan. Using bottom of prepared drinking glass to tap and compact mixture in pan. Let cool 20 minutes (pan will still be slightly warm). Invert pan on cutting board and tap until mixture falls out in one piece. Cut into 20 bars. If they cool too much and become too hard or brittle to cut easily, put in warm oven for 1 to 2 minutes to soften; proceed with cutting.
Corn is in season in summer, just in time for some skin saving to take place. Eating Well says that corn contains lutein, a carotenoid which (like lycopene and tomatoes) protects the skin from damage caused by UV rays. If the corn is picked over in your area, you can still get the benefits from frozen corn, since freezing the vegetable does not seem to alter its protective properties. National Center for Biotechnology Information adds that lutein can also protect against damage to parts of the retina that occurs when light hits the eye.
Get a healthy dose of corn this summer, so you have healthy skin and ensure you can actually see it too! For a tasty seasonal recipe, try the fire-roasted corn salad from Entertaining via Williams-Sonoma; it serves eight.
- Juice of 3 limes
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ pound feta cheese, diced
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
Directions: In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, ground cumin, and chili powder. Pour in the ¾ cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream while whisking to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush a little olive oil on each ear of corn. Grill the corn, turning the ears often so they cook evenly, until lightly charred, about 10 minutes.
Steady each ear of corn on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut down along the cob to strip off the kernels. Alternatively, remove the kernels with a kernel cutter. Put the kernels in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, feta, and the vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Transfer the salad to a platter and sprinkle with the cumin seeds. Serve immediately.