Our bodies release things called “free radicals” as byproducts in the process of turning food into energy. While these might not sound too menacing, free radicals cause damage by stealing electrons from nearby substances that yields them. What this basically means in layman’s terms is that these pesky molecules cause the substances around them to change in structure or function. For example, it can alter the instructions on a code in a DNA strand, in which many of us translate to the dreaded c-word: cancer. Thankfully, our bodies are not defenseless against free radicals.

Including antioxidants in your meals is beneficial for your body, including your skin. Antioxidants work by offering electrons to free radicals without turning into electron-thieves themselves. Vitamins A, C, and E reduces the damage caused by free radicals that increase the aging process. One of the best way to get antioxidants is to eat fruits and veggies that comprise of the three listed vitamins. If you’re wondering if it’s that simple for youthful-looking skin, it is!

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1. Berries

Age Defying Plant-Based Foods to Eat and Apply Externally

These fruits may be small, but they are jam-packed with antioxidants. Signs of inflammation on the exterior of the body include pimples, redness, and flakes on the skin. Berries contain specific phytonutrients that prevent these symptoms from occurring. In addition, berries are also loaded with Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C also helps reduce inflammation and boosts the immune system to prevent inflammation. Potassium serves to maintain a healthy water balance, which boosts the skin’s vitality. Although berries have gained recognition for skin benefits, they provide a host of other benefits. Did you know that they can also be used to create natural make-up?

2. Citrus Fruits

Age Defying Plant-Based Foods to Eat and Apply Externally

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Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are a few of the most popular citrus fruits thanks to their high content of Vitamin C. As we age, our skin’s collagen begins to lose elasticity and the overall volume begins to decrease. In turn, we see wrinkles and fine lines on our skin – not something we want, right? By increasing our absorption of Vitamin C, the aging process can slow down. Lemons, in particular, make good ingredients for DIY beauty treatments. The citric acid in lemon juice can be used to even out skin tone and reduce discolorations. You can also add a couple drops of lemon juice in your favorite natural moisturizer for a boost of Vitamin C.

3. Red, Orange, and Yellow Produce

Age Defying Plant-Based Foods to Eat and Apply Externally

Dark leafy greens are usually recommended for a healthy well-rounded diet. However, I think that other colored foods from the rainbow deserves some attention, don’t you? Beta-carotene is the pigment that lends plants their beautiful orange color. It protects the skin from sun damage. Once ingested, beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that counteracts damage caused by free radicals. For this reason, it’s often included in anti-aging products in the form of retinol. If anti-aging products isn’t your thing, be sure to eat plenty of red, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies. Doing so will give your skin a lovely glow from within. Though I must warn you to not eat so much or you’ll be blushing with surprise!

4. Avocados

Age Defying Plant-Based Foods to Eat and Apply Externally

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Move over, yogurt; avocados are the new-it ingredient for beauty masks! Avocados are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The MUFAS helps improve skin tone and maintains optimal water levels in the epidermis, which makes your skin look and feel soft. Omega-9 fats work to reduce skin redness and irritation and assist in repairing damaged skin cells. Antioxidant superstars include Vitamin C and Vitamin E. The latter serves to protect the skin against damage from sun exposure.

5. Coconut Oil

Age Defying Plant-Based Foods to Eat and Apply Externally

For some time now, coconut oil has been touted as one of the healthiest oils to use in recipes. Due to its medium chain triglyceride structure, coconut oil has the ability to increase fat burning potential. In addition to aiding in weight loss, it has found its way into the beauty world. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, helping skin to look its best. If you’re not sure how include this jar of heaven send in your beauty regimen, have a look at this list.

As you can see, antioxidants and good fats play an important role in promoting healthy, youthful skin. Be sure to eat plenty of foods that are abundant in Vitamins A, C, E, and healthy fats.

Lead image source: cookbookman17/flickr