Winter isn’t just tantamount to pesky holiday pounds: That tendency of ours to reach for heavy, comforting foods during the colder months wreaks as much havoc on our skin as it does on our waistlines. Dishes with a high glycerin index—pasta, cookies, pie, and our grandma’s killer mashed potatoes—generate a process known as glycation, a process in which all that excess sugar surging through our systems hardens collagen and weakens the elasticity of our skin, says Debra Jaliman, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the author of Skin Rules.
The result? Looking a bit more like grandma than we’d like. Love the skin you’re in this spring by taking advantage of the bounty of seasonal foods.
Here’s how to put a rainbow on your plate—and bring some vibrancy to your skin!
Considered a staple in skin-saving Mediterranean diets, this superfood is low in calories, rich in beauty-boosting folic acid, and, when prepare right, heavy on flavor — making it no winder these leafy jewels often pop up on the menu at our finest eateries. What’s more, potent does of peptides and antioxidants improve the smoothness and clarity of your skin.
These bite-sized gems prove that dynamite does come in small packages: A single cup of blueberries packs in 13,427 total antioxidants—in other words, nearly ten times the USDA’S daily recommendation. Freshest during spring, blueberries are wonderfully versatile—as delicious mixed into our morning yogurt as eaten by the handful for dessert.
Pair with a cup of tea, they’re the perfect afternoon snack. Bonus points: Blueberries make a big impact on your brain, aiding in sharper recall and stronger strategic thinking, practically guaranteeing more wins on Words With Friends.
Kale may be to the go-to leafy green for Lululemon-wearing women around the globe, but don’t forget its less popular—but equally nutritious—compatriot. Arugula is packed with chlorophyll, which acts like an oxygen mask for your skin and leaves you with similar, spa-worthy results.
Top a bed of fresh arugula with heart-healthy tuna and blanched green beans, and winter skin will feel like nothing more than a distant dream.
Now that it’s warming up, it isn’t just tighter thighs we’re after—taut, lustrous skin practically screams vitality and youth. Known for centuries for its curative powers—Roman soldiers reportedly chewed the seeds for strength before battles—fennel acts as a natural toner while enhancing digestion, a key component to exquisite skin.
Compliment your Easter Brunch with an Apricot-Fennel Cooler, which hydrates and delights while also keeping glucose at manageable levels (read: diminished inflammation). Or, for a meal that’s flush with get-gorgeous Omega-3s, sprinkle roasted fennel seeds on top of your Sunday salmon and serve with sliced tomatoes for a high dose of glow-boosting vitamin C.
Few things say spring like a big bowl of bright, tropical fruit. You’ll want to tango in the season of mangoes, as this succulent beauty is packed with potassium, copper, and zinc—three minerals that do a fabulous job of warding off those free radicals that lead to prematurely-aged skin.
According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, mangoes also protect skin against photo aging, so that walk in the park can be savored even more.
Don’t just mind your p’s and q’s this season—eat them. Fresh peas are best in spring, when, after winter, they burst with flavor and are at their optimal texture, while quinoa—a frequently-touted grain famous for its fiber-rich goodness—pairs beautifully with spring’s colorful harvest. Filled with folate and vitamins C and B6, author of Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles, Allison Tannis fancies peas as miniature face-lifts for the skin.
Dine alfresco with a dish of quinoa and peas topped fresh ground pepper, pecorino cheese, and spring corn—the beta-carotene will leave you with glossy locks and super-pretty cheeks.
Eggs aren’t just for dyeing and hiding in the yard: Hotly debated up until the late 90s, the world’s most versatile food is now considered a nutritional powerhouse. Weighing in between a mere 80 and 100 calories a piece, they pack in high amounts of riboflavin, protein, vitamin A, and choline—a macronutrient that, according to nutritionist Dr. Axe, is essential to detoxification (which might just explain why we crave scrambled egg sandwiches after a bit too much bubbly). Choline also has several anti-aging benefits, so that no matter our age, we can look like we’re on an eternal Spring Break.
Have a hardboiled egg for a no-hassle snack, serve them over-easy with whole-grain toast, or scramble them with spinach and a dash of cheese—the magnesium in spinach hydrates skin from the inside out, while the calcium in cheese increases cell regeneration, leaving you with softer, more luminous skin.
Got your grocery list in hand? Don’t forget to follow your healthy eating regime with Eavara’s Organic Age Defying Moisturizer. Brimming with powerful antioxidants from botanical plants, it’s a veritable superfood for your skin, leaving you much like the new season: Wholly and gorgeously renewed.