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The same substance that makes carrots good for your eyes—the antioxidant beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, also makes it good for your skin. “Once ingested, beta carotene is converted by our body into vitamin A, which is active in helping with vision, immunity, and skin health,” explains board certified dermatologist Kenneth Howe, MD, of Wexler Dermatology. Carrots also contain lycopene, which—in addition to beta carotene—may shield skin against UV damage. Researchers found that more beta-carotene was absorbed from cooked than raw carrots, so consider steaming, blanching, or roasting your carrot sticks.
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Because it’s able to tolerate frost, fresh kale is readily available throughout the winter. This leafy green is a powerhouse of skin-friendly nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin K (all you need for a whole day in one serving), and vitamin C, plus the essential minerals potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Its high sulfur content can help reduce skin redness and flakiness. Vitamin C is the real star here, though: It strengthens collagen fibers, those long strands of protein that hold our skin cells together, for firmer skin. A single cup of raw kale provides 100 percent of the RDA of vitamin C for women. These superfood veggies could be the next kale.
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This fall vegetable is rich in skin-friendly beta carotene (pre-vitamin A), which the body uses to produce the sebum that keeps skin and hair hydrated. It also supplies a good deal of vitamin C, which we know is key to building and maintaining collagen, plus potassium, and fiber. Looking for some seasonal cooking inspiration? Check out these mouthwatering butternut squash recipes.