The Mediterranean is as world-renowned for its ancient empires and sun-drenched coasts as its wide range of cuisines. Therefore, it’s no secret that researchers from across the globe agree this diet rich in healthy fats and fresh produce packs major anti-inflammatory properties. So its no wonder timeless beauty icons like Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz hail from the Mediterranean.
Sebastopol, California dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey says, “food is medicine, and just like poorly prescribed medicine, it can also harm your health and skin.” Skin health is crucial because its the largest human organ and the body’s first layer of defense to the outside world. So eat your way to a gorgeous glow in no time with these top seven foods from the Mediterranean.
1. Red Wine
The Mediterraneans have tended vineyards for centuries, therefore wine has always been prominent in the culture. A study from the University of Los Angeles California says the antioxidant resveratrol, found in red grapes, inhibits growth of bacteria causing acne among other health benefits. In fact, French beauty brand Caudalie uses these resveratrol-rich red grapes in many of their products for its complexion benefits. When consumed in moderation, you’re actually helping to slow down the signs of aging with this longevity-molecule. So go ahead and pour a glass of vino with that salmon dinner!
2. Starchy Vegetables
Vegetables like spinach, artichokes, and eggplants are staples of dishes throughout the Mediterranean. They counteract the aging effects of free-radicals on the skin with high levels of vitamin C and other minerals and nutrients. Not only do they promote flawless skin, but they fuel your brain and circulation.
Packing the powerful antioxidant lycopene, red tomatoes protect skin from cancer cause by sun exposure. Molecular Dermatology Professor Mark Birch-Machin from Newcastle University in England says, “eating them protects our mitochondria, the energy producers in all our body cells including skin.” Natural tomato paste can be used to flavor many Mediterranean cuisines so next time you cook look for recipes rich in the power fruit.
4. Olive Oil
Swap butter and margarine for smooth olive oil next time you eat or cook a meal. This heart-healthy fat is full of vitamin E and beta-carotene which boost healthy skin, hair, and nail growth. Polyphenol antioxidants promote collagen production so youthful skin stays firm and resilient with aging.
Like olive oil, almonds are high in monounsaturated fats which protect you from heart disease and make you skin glow. The nuts help your body retain water, therefore keeping your skin hydrated against the elements of the day. Experiment with using almond flour instead of white flour next time you bake for a healthy and equally satisfying alternative.
Not all fats are created equal, and not all are bad. In fact, studies have shown that eating avocado with your vegetables greatly increases the antioxidants your body absorbs. Case in point: more beauty boosters protecting the elasticity of your skin. Bonus is that you can enjoy some fresh guacamole with a squeeze of lime.
7. Goat’s Milk
This calcium-rich alternative to cow’s milk has less sugars and lactose, so it is easier to digest. A bonus of healthy fatty acids and triglycerides in goat’s milk keep your skin moisturized and soft. But you may need to purchase this wildcard food at a specialty store because its produced in only certain regions.
Adding these foods from the Mediterranean will not only boost the flavor and variety of your diet, but they will make you feel beautiful inside and out. Get ready for glowing skin year-round with fresh ingredients and a healthier plate.