Eat Right To Keep Healthy Skin

Eating Carbs The Healthy Way, fruits, vegetables
CBS/The Early Show
Lots of people spend hundreds of dollars on all the "latest, greatest" skin-care products. You may even have been tempted to pick up a product that promises to keep your skin looking vibrant and young, wiping away wrinkles overnight.

But, says Health magazine contributor and clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller, all the skin-care and beauty products in the world won't keep your skin looking good if you're not eating the right foods.

Clinical studies have found that eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and omega-3 fatty acids can help skin retain its healthy glow and look youthful.

You may be surprised to learn that you'll often find a lot of the healthiest foods along the walls when you're shopping: the fresh fruits and vegetables, the whole grain breads, the fresh seafood section, and more.

According to Heller, foods for healthy skin include those rich in lycopene. That's a pigment that gives many fruits and vegetables their red color. It's a proven antioxidant, and antioxidants are important because they reduce the risk of several types of cancer and they prevent the formation of harmful byproducts of metabolism called free radicals.

Free radicals are thought to be responsible for damaging the body's cells, as well as their genetic makeup. In addition, studies are showing that lycopene in combination with other carotenoids may help to reduce sunburn and damage to skin from ultraviolet rays. And when you protect the cells from damage and disintegration, you also guard against premature aging.

So in order to prevent damage to your skin, keep it looking younger, and give yourself added protection from the sun, you should include lycopene in your diet. And you can get it in a variety of foods. Among them: tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit.

Next up, beta-carotene. It's a form of vitamin A, and is an antioxidant that offers added protection against sun damage. Vitamin A is essential for vision, growth, healthy skin and your immune system. Beta-carotene can be found in deep yellow, orange and red foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, spinach, mango and apricot.