The Truth About Eating Antioxidant Foods For Your Skin

“Hi everyone. I’m @dermdoc. It’s been 3 weeks since my last acai berry shake.”

It’s been 4 months since I ate a blueberry. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a shot of pomegranate juice. Back when I was consuming 18 pounds of antioxidants a day, I used to look like this.

Now look at me.

Don’t let this happen to you! Eat your blueberries (only wild, please). Snack on some walnuts (just the red ones). And don’t forget your green tea (the white kind only). Otherwise you’ll be a wrinkled, spotted, mess; plus, you’ll die of a heart attack.

I love food. I love to eat local farmers’ market produce, I eat lots of fish and olive oil, and I even drink an occasional smoothie. But I don’t eat this way because it keeps me looking young. I eat real food because I enjoy it, because it tastes good, and because it makes me feel good. There are health benefits to eating well, including perhaps some advantages for your skin. But commonly held beliefs that eating antioxidant-rich foods will keep you looking young and cancer-free are still far from being scientifically proven.

So if you’re feeling guilty because your tightened family budget doesn’t allow you to buy the latest antioxidant berry, then stop it. Below is a list of all the scientific research (in people) that showed eating antioxidant-rich foods made people look younger, smoothed their wrinkles, or reduced their risk for skin cancer:

Yup. That’s all of them.

“Eat real food. Mostly plants. Wear your sunscreen.” – @dermdoc

Photos: Leedav (berries) and Tetsumo (old man), both from flickr.

Pomegranates and Skin Care

The pomegranate has been used for medicinal purposes since the times of the ancient pharaohs of Egypt. The fruit was mentioned in the Bible and the Koran, was used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine in India, and can today can be found even at Starbucks!

Pomegranate seed oil has been shown to be protective against skin cancer in a study of mice. This is probably due in part to the ellagic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant found in high quantities in pomegranates as well as strawberries and raspberries. Ellagic acid has been shown to inhibit the growth of skin and other cancers.

Pomegranate juice is said to have more antioxidant properties than comparable quantities of green tea or red wine. It is this antioxidant property that helps soak up damaging free radicals which cause fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, and other signs of aging.

Most recently pomegranate fruit extract also seems to mediate ultraviolet light damage, enhancing sunscreens. Look for more skin products featuring this ancient fruit in the future. Until then, enjoy fresh ones on your salad while they are in season.