At this point, you could probably rattle off the health benefits of kale in your sleep, and you’ve got a recipe file full of superfood-laden meals. But these nutritional winners are now stretching beyond the kitchen and into your skin-care products. The oils and extracts of superfoods like chia seeds, amaranth, and aÃ§aÃ berry are capable of great beauty feats, from keeping collagen in good shape to hydrating dry skin and tightening up manhole-sized pores.
Adding a healthy dose of these farm-to-face picks into your daily routine could mean the difference between skin that merely passes muster and a complexion that turns heads.
Amaranth: The radiance booster
Known for its cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering nutrients, this ancient grain is in facial oils. It fights DNA-damaging free radicals with the antioxidant vitamin E and helps keep skin hydrated with the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6â€”the same type of fats that make up healthy skin cell membranes. “They’re critical for helping the skin retain water and look more radiant,” says Ariel Ostad, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.
Chia seeds: The ultra hydrator
The seemingly endless variations of chia (from pods to butter to chips to bars) are rich in fibre and protein. The oil the seeds harbor, however, is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a no-brainer ingredient for hydrating creams and serums. Bonus: research suggests that omegas have an anti-inflammatory effect when applied topically.
Prickly pear: The pore minimizer
This up-and-comer is about to break onto the superfoods scene. Prickly pears contain antioxidants such as tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, as well as your skin’s most loyal ally: essential fatty acids. In addition to keeping dry skin at bay, they can prevent your pores from becoming so big they can be seen from space. Omega-3s and omega-6s keep the layer of collagen beneath your skin hydrated, healthy, and intact, which in turn keeps pores tight.
AÃ§aÃ berry: The free radical fighter
We’ll admit that part of the reason we love this berry so much is that it tastes pretty great in smoothies and juices. But its high levels of anthocyanins are what’s giving it buzz in the beauty industry. In addition to aÃ§aÃ berries’ link to improved heart health, these antioxidants prevent free radical damage to skin in products like NUDE Skincare Detox Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash ($42; nudeskincare.com). “It’s also good for eczema, psoriasis, and can even be beneficial for acne because it can help reduce swelling and inflammation,” Leonard says.
Avocado: The all-over body moisturizer
You already put avocado, a goldmine of healthy fats, on everything, so why not smear it on your skin? In addition to its hydrating fatty acids, it has vitamins E and D, which can help keep inflammatory reactions in sensitive skin to a minimum, according to research from the University of Western Australia. Its consistency is a little too heavy and occlusive for the delicate skin on your face, but it’s perfect in moisturizing body products.
Pumpkin: The collagen stimulator
True, a certain fall latte may have really cemented pumpkin’s stardom, but it’s also rich in disease-preventing beta carotene, vitamin E, and omega-3s. The oil in the seeds has one particularly attention-worthy ingredient: zinc, which is an enzyme important in collagen synthesis, and applying it topically can potentially increase your collagen levels.
Pomegranate: The UV-exposure shield
Turns out pomegranate seeds and your skin might be an even better pairing than pomegranate and chocolate. Extract from the fruit’s jewel-like seeds, contain ellagic acid, a polyphenol compound that can help prevent collagen breakdown and inflammation caused by UVB rays, according to a study published in Experimental Dermatology.MYNEWSHUB