Are these superfoods better than Botox? Science says you might want to buy your anti-agers at the grocer.
As beauty editors, we fiercely love our anti-aging lotions and potions. But what you put in your face (or rather, your mouth) is just as important as what you put on it -- and maybe, according to dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD, even more so. Research shows that when you feed yourself, you feed your skin -- and all of those salty snacks and sweet treats have a way of mucking up your complexion.
"Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates speed up aging," says Wu, who adds that sugar is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to skin health. Neka Pasquale, acupuncturist, herbalist and certified Chinese nutritionist, agrees. "Your sugar intake can have profound effects on your appearance. It promotes dull, brittle skin through a process called glycation, and causes skin inflammation and wrinkles," says Pasquale.
Superfoods, on the other hand, may be the aging antidote you're seeking. Research suggests that some foods help protect against sun damage by amping up skin's defense against UV rays, while others ward off wrinkles caused by free radicals.
Here are the seven skin superfoods to reverse the clock from the inside out.
For Plumper Skin
Try: Cactus Water
There is a fountain of youth, and it's water -- simple as that, according to Wu. "Drinking water in general is good for your skin; it hydrates to keep your skin looking plump and aids digestion, which helps with acne breakouts," says Wu.
Get an extra dose of beauty benefits in your hydration routine by adding cactus water to the mix. Though coconut water has long been the plant-water darling, cactus water aims to change that. The drink contains tough-to-come-by antioxidants known as betalains, which are said to detoxify and revitalize skin. What that could mean for you: an extra-glowy complexion and less under-eye puffiness. Though more research is needed, animal studies have shown that cactus extract can help fight the effects of the sun's skin-damaging UV rays, while human studies suggest that taking prickly pear extract helps to regulate blood sugar.
Wu suggests drinking cactus water after binging on sweets to help your body handle the sugar overload. She warns to be careful of the type of cactus water, though -- some have added sugar and flavors. Look for cactus water with just prickly pear extract added.