Turns out pomegranate seeds (which are naturally high in antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering compounds) and your skin might be an even better pairing than pomegranate and couscous. A bold claim, we know! The reason? Extract from the fruit's jewel-like seeds contain ellagic acid, a powerful polyphenol that can help prevent collagen breakdown and the inflammation caused by UVB rays, according to a recent study in the journal Experimental Dermatology. And experts agree. "Pomegranate through its antioxidant action may theoretically protect the collagen and elastin within skin against UV damage associated with sun exposure," explains dermatologist and Prevention advisor Dr Stephen Shumack. The perfect complement to your SPF.
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Salmon and trout: The collagen stimulators
Hiding inside of oily fish is a tiny but mighty molecule that could change your skin for the better... creatine. And there's a reason it's also found in most health food supplements body builders take. "It's one of the building blocks for protein and muscle development," explains Shumack. It's also an amino acid found in the body, most meats and fish like salmon and trout. So, how does it affect your skin? "Theoretically, creatine may provide access to the building blocks of skin collagen, but this is yet to be proven in day-to-day use," adds Shumack. Production of creatine declines with age, so seek out these skin savers and slather away.
Tomato: The pore minimiser
A firm favourite in salads and sandwiches, tomatoes also contain the potent antioxidant lycopene, which "reduces the prominence of sebaceous secretions that improve the look of your pores," explains Shumack. This anti-ageing all star is also one of the best multi-tasking skin protectors around. When applied topically, it defends against free radicals and contributes to metabolic functions linked to growth and repair. Even better news: a study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the US found that lycopene has the ability to reduce inflammation, boost cell renewal and inhibit DNA damage caused by UV exposure. That's what we call one very clever veg.
Pumpkin: The skin plumper
A Sunday roast staple, this popular vegie is rich in disease-preventing carotenoids, vitamin E and omega-3s. Even better? It also boasts fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (known for their cell renewal properties) as well as vitamin A. The oil in the seeds, however, has one particularly attention-worthy ingredient: zinc. "Zinc is an essential trace element in the body very important in the production of collagen and connective tissue in the skin," explains Shumack. "Pumpkin, which contains large amounts of zinc, could be beneficial for those who may have lower levels." So when you're not slathering it on your face, throw it into salads or roast it instead of potato and serve alongside your next steak.
Chia seeds: The ultra hydrator
The seemingly endless variations of chia (from pods and butter to chips and bars) are rich in fibre and protein. The oil the seeds harbour, however, is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a must for hydrating creams and serums, according to Shumack, who adds there's also a suggestion that omegas have an anti-inflammatory effect when applied topically. Bonus: they're also packed with antioxidants for softening dry skin, reducing chronic redness and smoothing fine lines. Now that's what we call one serious supergrain.
Red raspberry: The free radical fighter
We'll admit that part of the reason we love this berry so much is that it tastes pretty great in smoothies and juices. But its high levels of anthocyanins and ellagitannins are responsible for its buzz in the beauty industry. In addition to fending off free radicals, these antioxidants also boast anti-inflammatory properties, according to a US study by the University of Rhode Island, making it an effective treatment for eczema and psoriasis. And here's more good news: the oil from the seeds contains vitamins E, A and essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 to hydrate and rejuvenate skin.