Eat these veggies regularly to keep your skin looking young! Below are the best vegetables for ageless skin.
Aging may be inevitable, but there are ways to help your skin look young with proper nutrition. In fact, our skin is an organ and is constantly regenerating and growing new cells. With healthy nutrition choices, you can actually improve how healthy your skin looks over time!
Improving the quality of our skin starts with healthy lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep, moderating alcohol, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and exercising regularly.
However, nutrition alone plays a huge role in healthy skin. Some of the best nutrients to improve skin health and prevent aging are vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and antioxidants.
Let’s take a look at the vegetables highest in nutrients for skin health, and how to incorporate them regularly for ageless skin!
1. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are rich in vitamins A and C. One of the richest sources of vitamin C, a red bell pepper contains nearly 170% of our daily recommended vitamin C intake!
Getting enough vitamin C assists in the production of collagen, a component of building a new, healthy layer of skin. Chop these up for a snack and dip them in hummus or tzatziki for a filling, high-volume snack!
Bell Pepper Nutrition Facts
One cup of chopped, raw red bell pepper (149g) provides 39 calories, 1.5g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, and 0.5g of fat. Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Vitamin C: 190mg
Carbs: The non-fiber carbohydrates in red bell peppers are mostly glucose and fructose, both of which are naturally occurring sugars. Raw green bell peppers have slightly fewer carbs and less fiber than their red counterparts, with 6.9g of carbohydrate and 2.5g fiber per cup.
The glycemic index of bell peppers has not been studied. They are presumed to have no effect on your blood sugar due to their low carb content.
Fat: Bell peppers are very low in fat, and most of that fat is healthy polyunsaturated fat.
Protein: As is typical for vegetables, bell peppers have only a small amount of protein. For a balanced diet, be sure to include protein sources such as legumes, nuts, dairy, meat, or fish in your diet.
Vitamins and Minerals: Red bell peppers are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. Vitamin C, perhaps one of the best-known antioxidants, offers a variety of health benefits: supporting immune function, facilitating cell repair, aiding in the absorption of folate, and assisting in collagen production for healthy bones, skin, and hair.
Vitamin C also facilitates iron absorption, so it may help prevent iron deficiency anemia (by building the body’s stores of iron) or aid in the recovery from mild anemia. Red peppers also contain some iron.
Red bell peppers deliver other key antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage. These include carotenoids such as lycopene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Bell peppers are also a source of vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese. A large red bell pepper provides 1.3 milligrams of manganese, contributing 55% to 75% of your daily needs for that mineral.
Oranges are notorious for their vitamin C content, but a half-cup of broccoli actually contains even more than most citrus fruits! Broccoli is also a source of zinc and lutein, which both contribute to healthier skin.
Zinc is an antioxidant that helps our skin heal from injury, including sun damage. Lutein is a type of carotenoid like Vitamin A that helps increase skin elasticity and protects against harmful sun exposure.
Broccoli Nutrition Facts
The USDA provides the following nutrition information for one cup (91g) of raw, chopped broccoli.
Vitamin C: 81.2mg
Carbs: One cup of raw, chopped broccoli contains only 31 calories, 6 grams carbohydrates, and very little sugar (1.5 grams). More than a third of the carbohydrates found in broccoli come from fiber (2.4 grams), making it a filling, heart-healthy food choice.
The glycemic index estimates how a food affects your blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI) for broccoli is 10. Broccoli is a low GI food, meaning it has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
Note that GI only reflects how the food affects blood sugar when you eat it alone. Consuming the food with another food changes the GI. For instance, adding fiber or fat will slow down the release of blood sugars, lowering the GI.
Fat: Broccoli has only a trace amount of fat and is cholesterol-free. However, it contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Consuming two cups of broccoli delivers nearly 0.5 grams of this anti-inflammatory fatty acid.
Protein: For a vegetable, broccoli has a significant amount of protein, 2.5 grams per one-cup serving. But you still should include other protein sources in your diet to meet your daily needs.
Vitamins and Minerals: Broccoli is bursting with vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C, providing over 81mg, or about 135% of your daily needs. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, important in bone health and wound healing.
You’ll consume 116% of your daily recommended intake in a one-cup serving of broccoli. Minerals in broccoli include manganese, potassium, and phosphorus. It’s also an excellent source of the B vitamin folate and a good source of vitamin A, manganese, potassium, and other B vitamins.
Calories: Broccoli contains 31 calories for one cup (91g) of raw, chopped broccoli. The calories in broccoli are 66% carbohydrate, 27% protein, and 7% fat. Broccoli is a high volume, low-calorie food.
Tomatoes are a gold mine of nutrients, with vitamin C and lycopene being the most dense nutrients in a tomato. Whether you buy them canned or fresh, tomatoes are a source of this skin-promoting vitamin.
Fresh tomatoes have more vitamin C than cooked ones, but cooked tomatoes actually release more lycopene, which offers a host of other skin health benefits! Lycopene is an antioxidant that helps undo skin damage and can smooth out changes to skin texture over time.
Serve them in a tomato salad with olive oil, salt, pepper, and vinegar for an age-fighting quick side salad.
Tomato Nutrition Facts
One small (2 2/5″ in diameter) tomato (91g) provides 16 calories, 0.8g of protein, 3.5g of carbohydrates, and 0.2g of fat. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin K. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Vitamin C: 12.5mg
Vitamin K: 7.2mcg
Carbs: A small tomato (91g) contains 3.5 grams of carbs. Of the carbohydrates, 2.4 grams are from naturally occurring sugars, and 1.1 grams come from fiber. Tomatoes are considered a low glycemic index food.
Fats: Like most fruits and vegetables, tomatoes contain very little fat.
Protein: There is just under 1 gram of protein in a small, fresh tomato.
Vitamins and Minerals: Tomatoes are a great source of potassium and vitamin C. Several beneficial forms of vitamin A are also present in tomatoes, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Calories: One small tomato (91g) provides 16 calories, 73% of which come from carbs, 18% from protein, and 9% from fat.
4. Purple Cabbage
This vibrant veggie is chock full of antioxidants and vitamins for skin health. Purple cabbage contains Vitamins A, C, and anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that may improve skin health after UV damage from the sun.
A cup of purple cabbage packs more than 50% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Without enough vitamin C, collagen production will decrease in the body. Collagen is responsible for the elasticity factor of our skin which keeps our skin appearing plump and may contribute to a younger look.
Fun fact, cooking hearty vegetables like cabbage will make them shrink in size by nearly half. That one cup serving of cabbage quickly wilts into just a half-cup serving once it’s cooked!
Purple Cabbage Nutrition Facts
Purple cabbage, also referred to as red cabbage, belongs to the Brassica genus of plants. This group includes nutrient-dense vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
It tastes similar to green cabbage. However, the purple variety is richer in beneficial plant compounds that have been linked to health benefits, such as stronger bones and a healthier heart.
Purple cabbage is also thought to lower inflammation and protect against certain types of cancers. Moreover, it’s an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or fermented and added to a variety of dishes.
Despite being low in calories, purple cabbage contains an impressive amount of nutrients. One cup (89 grams) of chopped, raw, purple cabbage contains the following nutrients:
Protein: 1 gram
Carbs: 7 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Vitamin C: 56% of the Daily Value
Vitamin K: 28% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV
Vitamin A: 6% of the DV
Potassium: 5% of the DV
Thiamine: 5% of the DV
Riboflavin: 5% of the DV
Purple cabbage also provides small amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.