WRINKLE-FIGHTING VEGETABLES

Wrinkle Fighting Vegetables

Eat your vegetables. They are good for you. (It’s worth repeating.) Choose raw vegetables over cooked ones, as cooking can damage and extract nutrients from vegetables, rendering them less effective. Dietitians recommend that adults eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. What is a serving? One cup (30–70 g) of leafy vegetables, like kale or spinach, or a half cup (50–75 g) of other vegetables, like green beans, bell peppers, carrots, or Brussels sprouts. It’s easy to get four servings into your diet. A salad is typically 2 cups (110 g) of lettuce and ½ cup (50–75 g) of vegetables. That’s three servings! To get plenty of wrinkle-fighting nutrients, aim for four or more servings of vegetables each day.

Bell Peppers

A pot of gold may lie at the end of this rainbow of nutrients. The best wrinkle-fighting bell pepper is the sweet red variety, but whether it’s green, red, yellow, or orange, these brightly colored vegetables have great effects on the skin.

Dual-Action Vegetables

Bell peppers are a rich source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is fat-soluble and attacks free radicals in the fatty part of your cells making them harmless. Vitamin C is water-soluble and attacks free radicals in the watery parts of your cells. Therefore, bell peppers defend your skin by launching a dual attack on free radicals (which can damage your skin’s structural integrity by weakening the collagen).

Smooth Skin and Healthy Arteries

Did you know that free radicals are also major players in the build-up of cholesterol in your arteries? This build-up can lead to nerve and blood vessel damage. Proper blood vessel and nerve health is important to healthy, beautiful, youthful skin, because, without healthy blood vessels near your skin, the skin cannot get the wrinkle-fighting nutrients it needs from the blood to prevent signs of aging. By providing vitamins A and C, two potent free-radical destroyers, bell peppers not only prevent the skin from aging by stopping free radical damage but also ensure that the supply route to the skin and the blood vessels is functioning properly.

Protects Like Sunscreen and Increases Skin Firmness

Red bell peppers also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help your skin maintain its youthful appearance. In 2003, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that lutein and zeaxanthin, when present in the skin before exposure to UVB radiation, protect it from inflammation and damage. Such inflammation and damage are known to lead to the formation of wrinkles.

Lutein also increases skin elasticity, which plays a vital role in wrinkle prevention. Continual bending of the skin, such as when you frown, weakens the skin and can result in the formation of wrinkles. By increasing the skin’s elasticity, lutein can help it bounce back and reduce the risk of wrinkle formation

A Wrinkle Cure with a Crisp Taste

Known for their crispy, refreshing taste, bell peppers are also a great source of water, which helps hydrate your skin cells and ensure that they work properly. Dehydrated skin cells are less able to repair damage to the skin. Moreover, water is essential to keeping your skin looking firm, moist, and healthy.

Fight wrinkles with these crispy peppers. Chop them into small pieces and add them to salads, nachos, pizzas, pasta sauce, or chili. Slice them into snack-sized treats and include them in your veggie trays. An essential ingredient in Ratatouille (p. 270), bell peppers also show up in our Black Bean and Spinach Soup (p. 222). They are a colorful addition to any meal and a delightful, delicious way to fight wrinkles.

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