What if you never had to use bronzer again? What if we told you all you needed was to modify what you ate? With so many great products out there, it is easy to forget that the food we put into our bodies is still the best way to get great skin. Now that summer is upon us, that healthy glow is what we are looking for. So we turn to carotenoid-rich fruits and veggies to not only keep us healthy, but to help us achieve this perfect shade of summer skin. According to some recent studies, people who ate a daily equivalent of 15 mg of beta-carotene, ended up with a golden tone to their skin, (bye bye bronzer!) which helped them feel better and look more attractive to others.
Carotenoids are colorful plant pigments, and are powerful antioxidants which have been found to act towards preventing some forms of cancer and heart disease. These precursors to vitamin A also boost your immune response, helping the body fight off colds and infections. Not at least some of them, the body can turn into vitamin A, the vitamin that supports healthy eyes, skin, and immune function. The carotenoid containing fruits and veggies are characterized by their bright colors, yellows, oranges and reds – and even deep greens. To get the most out of your carotenoid intake, carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables should be mixed with healthy fats, like yogurt or avocado. This is important since the body needs fats, remember to make them healthy, to convert these vitamin A precursors into vitamin A itself.
Try getting these foods in with some refreshing smoothies for the summer. Here are some smoothies combos to try:
1. Pumpkin/yogurt/avocado Smoothie:
Canned pumpkin boasts 17mg of beta-carotene and 12mg of alpha-carotene per cup. Both of these carotenoids are converted by the body into retinol, one of the precursors to vitamin A. The retinol combines with fat molecules from the avocado and yogurt, forming vitamin A. Vitamin A as mentioned is an essential skin nutrient which helps cell growth and replenishment.
Orange fruits and veggies tend to have a LOT of carotenoid in them – mango fits this description. Mango contains 2mg of beta-carotene in each cup of raw fruit, which is 2000 times the daily minimum value recommended. Again the combo of good fats by adding yogurt and avocado will supply your body with vitamin A to keep your skin looking fresh!
Leafy greens are also rich in carotenoids. One cup of kale has about 10x the minimum recommended daily value. Unless you are taking supplements, don’t worry about getting too much of this vitamin from regular foods. If you are taking Vitamin A supplements, talk to your doctor about how much is too much, or if you should be avoiding certain foods in your diet.
Cantaloupe contains both beta and alpha-carotenes, which we could have guessed by its bright peachy hue. 2 cups of cantaloupe contains about 6mg of beta-carotene, which is a sizable amount for only a few cups. With yogurt in the mix, you will get all the benefits vitamin A has to offer.