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Best Foods for Healthy Skin: What to eat to look better.

By Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, Men's Health

Did you know your skin is an organ? It is, in fact, your body’s largest organ. And like your heart, brain, and liver, it won’t function properly—read: look and feel like it should—without the right nutrients. Of course, skin-care companies don’t make profits by telling you what to eat. That’s why the authors of the Eat This, Not That! book series have created this guide to the best foods for your skin. The upshot: Eating better not only helps to protect you from skin-expanding fat cells, it’ll help you prevent acne, wrinkles, and even cancer.  
These root vegetables can grow up to be purple, blue, or yellow, but the conventional sticks that you find at the grocery store are replete with a bright-orange pigment called beta carotene. This pigment performs a plethora of important functions in your body, and one of those might be to prevent skin cancer. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that people with the highest intakes of carotenoids were six times less likely to develop skin cancer than those with the lowest intakes. Plus, those orange pigments have a tendency to deposit themselves directly into your epidermis, giving you a brighter, healthier glow.
Over time, excessive exposure to sun can discolor your skin and break down connective tissue called collagen, allowing wrinkles to furrow into your loosened skin. But tomatoes offer a solution. In one British study, some sun-bound subjects were given a daily dose of tomato paste, while others received only olive oil. After 12 weeks, those in the tomato-paste group were 33 percent more resistant to sunburns. The critical element is a phytonutrient called lycopene, which, like beta-carotene, falls under the carotenoid class of antioxidants. The researchers estimate that five tablespoons of daily tomato paste is tantamount to wrapping the skin in a permanent layer of SPF 1.3 sunscreen. And here’s another perk: After the study, the researchers noticed that those in the tomato-paste group had healthier mitochondria in their skin cells. No time to pick up fresh produce? Don’t worry: Processed tomatoes carry even more skin-strengthening lycopene. Keep jars of salsa, marinara, and fire-roasted tomatoes in your cupboard for quick hits.
If it was good enough for Olive Oyl’s man, then it’s good enough for us. As it turns out, the vegetable that gave Popeye his macho biceps is actually a real-life skin saver. After compiling the results of an 11-year study, Australian researchers found that eating at least three weekly servings of leafy vegetables could reduce the risk of skin cancer by more than 50 percent. They singled out spinach as the best choice, and as an explanation they pointed to the synergistic impact of vitamins A, C, and E, along with the carotenoid cocktail of lutein and zeaxanthin. Another possible contributing factor is chlorophyll. Spinach is one of the best sources for this green pigment, and research has proven it to both slow the growth of bacteria and promote the development of new tissue.  That’s why chlorophyll has been used for decades as a method for speeding the healing of epidural wounds. 
Sunflower Seeds
Sunflowers seeds are great tossed into salads or oatmeal, and for every quarter-cup you eat, you’ll take in about 90 percent of your day’s vitamin E. Why is that important? Because vitamin E is an antioxidant with powerful skin-protecting capabilities. That’s why cosmetic companies use it so often as an ingredient in skin-strengthening creams. A study in 2005 found that lotions carrying vitamin E were better at reducing inflammation related to UV radiation than those creams that skipped the E. And as an added bonus, researchers in Maryland found that more vitamin E in the diet was associated with a decreased risk of mortality from all causes. Try eating sunflower seeds alongside vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables. As it turns out, the C helps the E work more effectively.
Of all the compounds we find in food, few can claim as wide an array of benefits as omega-3 fatty acids, and salmon is one of the world’s best sources. These acids have the power to soften arteries, blunt arthritis pain, improve brainpower, and—last but not least—smooth skin. That’s because omega-3s are like Spartan warriors when it comes to battling inflammation, and to prove it, researchers in California attempted to treat acne patients using nothing but orally ingested fish oil. After two months of treatment, the subjects had less swelling, less redness, and an average of 36 percent fewer facial lesions. And get this: One 4-ounce salmon fillet has more than 2 grams of omega-3s, which is more than twice as much as the subjects consumed on a daily basis.
Bonus Tip: Check out our to make sure don’t wind up drowning your salmon in unwanted calories.
Hopefully, your skin is absorbing enough H2O through the food and beverages you’re already consuming. But if you want to play it safe, work a couple extra glasses of water into your daily routine. When your body is dehydrated, wrinkles have a tendency to look more pronounced. Add that fact to the 2007 study showing that a standard 16.9-ounce bottle of water was an effective way to increase blood flow to the skin, and you’ve got a pretty good case for pouring another glass. Plus, the more time you spend drinking water, the less time you’ll have for sodas and fruit drinks, both of which were linked to wrinkles in an Australian study.