Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin

Phytonutrients: Eat the Rainbow for Healthy Skin

Posted by Sandra Scott on

Phytonutrients are the valuable natural compounds found in fruit and vegetables.

And by focusing on eating a variety of different colors you can increase your intake of all the beneficial phytonutrients your body needs

Along with the other health benefits, it’s their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make them so good for your skin.

They promote healthy collagen production, fight free radicals, and improve cell function - keeping your skin smooth and firm.

As well as calming rosacea and combating inflammation from an acne flare-up. 

And the best way to get maximum skin care benefits…. eat a rainbow of these colorful fruits and vegetables.

 

Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin. Pomegranates

 

Plants contain different pigments, or phytonutrients, which give them their color.

By getting a variety of different colors in your diet, you’re giving your body all the phytonutrients you need to be in peak good health.

Hence why doctors recommend you ‘eat a rainbow’. 

Studies have shown that ‘eating a rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables improves hydration, reduces wrinkles, promotes collagen production, fights free radical damage, improves cell function - and keeps your skin looking smooth and firm.

 

What are phytonutrients? 

Phytonutrients are natural chemicals or compounds produced by plants that give them their rich colors - as well as their distinctive tastes and aromas. They strengthen a plant's immune system, protecting them from threats such as disease and damage from excessive sun.

As part of the human diet they’ve been linked to the prevention and improvement of various cancers, and protection from chronic diseases, including heart disease.

There are thousands of phytonutrients found in nature, each of which has varying benefits to your health.

Some of the most common phytonutrients include different classes of carotenoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, isothiocyanates, polyphenols and many more.

These phytonutrients all provide immune support.

And research has also linked them to improving the process of skin ageing.

 

How Phytonutrients Benefit Your Skin

Phytonutrients are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Antioxidant  - phytonutrients are super-efficient at protecting your skin from sun and environmental damage, stress, and pollution – while at the same time preventing collagen loss.

In particular the antioxidant, Anthocyanin, which prevents the cell-structure damage that can lead to loss of firmness, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Anti-inflammatory - If you suffer from rosacea (redness of the skin) phytonutrients can calm your skin.

In general, phytonutrients will improve overall skin health and combat inflammation from an acne flare-up. 

You can read more about the benefits of antioxidants here:

 

How to Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin 

What's amazing is that nature has a way of highlighting these beneficial nutrients by giving them bright colors. So you can spot them at a glance. 9link0

 

Eating a Rainbow 

Regenerate your skin from the inside out by eating a rainbow of these colorful fruit and veggies.

You can eat them:

  • raw
  • in soups
  • pureed
  • roasted
  • blended
  • or in juices (although just be aware this does remove the fiber)

RED 

Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin. Tomatoes

 

Red foods are generally rich in the carotenoid lycopene, a potent antioxidant and scavenger of skin-damaging free radicals.

Making them super-efficient at protecting your skin from environmental damage, stress, and pollution – while at the same time preventing collagen loss.

It also gives your skin a healthy glow.

Main Phytonutrients:

  • lycopene (from the vitamin A family)

Main Vitamins and Minerals:

  • folate, potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1

Skin Care Benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • may reduce sun-related skin damage

Top Red Fruits and Veggies:

  • tomatoes – including tomato paste and tomato sauce
  • strawberries
  • cranberries
  • raspberries
  • red grapes
  • watermelon
  • apples
  • grapefruit

 

 

ORANGE AND YELLOW 

Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin. A plate of sweet potato fries

 

Orange and yellow foods contain massive amounts of beta-carotene.

And beta carotene helps to increase skin cell turnover, which in turn helps your skin to shed dry, flaky dead skin cells.

It’s like an internal exfoliator for your skin!

Beta-carotene also guards against damage caused by the sun. 

This antioxidant, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A, restores skin elasticity, promotes cell turnover and contributes to healthy, youthful skin

Main Phytonutrients:

  • carotenoids (e.g., beta carotene, alpha carotene, beta cryptoxanthin), which belong to the vitamin A family

Main Vitamins and Minerals:

  • fiber, folate, potassium, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin C

Skin Care Benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • may lower your risk of skin cancer

Top Orange and Yellow Fruits and Veggies:

  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • yellow peppers
  • oranges
  • bananas
  • pineapple
  • tangerines
  • pumpkin
  • apricots
  • winter squash
  • corn

  

GREEN 

Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin. Avocados in guacamole

 

Dark leafy greens are great for perking up a sluggish circulation – making them ideal for erasing dark under eye circles.

While celery is good at helping your kidneys to regenerate.

These ‘green’ foods also promote collagen production, fighting free radicals, improving cell function and keeping skin smooth and firm.

Kale and Spinach are particularly high in a phytonutrient called lutein, which helps to maintain skin’s elasticity.

Green tea contains polyphenols (antioxidants that combat free-radical damage and reduce the effects of aging) and catechins (molecules that help prevent sun damage like hyperpigmentation). 

Main Phytonutrients:

  • Leafy greens:chlorophyll and carotenoids
  • Cruciferous greens (e.g., broccoli, cabbage):indoles, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates

Main Vitamins and Minerals:

  • fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin K1

Skin Care Benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant

Top Green Fruits and Veggies:

  • spinach
  • avocados
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • celery
  • green cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • kiwi fruit
  • green tea
  • green herbs

 

 

BLUE AND PURPLE 

Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin. Blueberries

 

Blue and purple foods are loaded with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. These phytonutrients are believed to prevent the cell-structure damage that can lead to loss of skin firmness - and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Their high antioxidant content makes them some of the best foods to help fight the signs of aging.

Main Phytonutrients:

  • anthocyanins

Main Vitamins and Minerals:

  • fiber, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1

Skin Care Benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant 

Top Blue and Purple Fruits and Veggies:

  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • Concord grapes
  • raisins
  • red/purple cabbage
  • eggplant
  • plums
  • figs
  • elderberries

Phytonutrients: Eat The Rainbow for Healthy Skin. Cut figs on a wooden table

 

 

DARK RED

Dark red vegetables contain betalains, which improve overall skin health and combat inflammation from an acne flare-up. 

So this means fewer lines and wrinkles, and your skin will be less red and smoother.

Main Phytonutrients:

  • betalains

Main Vitamins and Minerals:

  • fiber, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B6

Skin Care Benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant

Top Dark Red Fruits and Veggies:

  • beets
  • prickly pears

 

WHITE and BROWN

Mushrooms have been used in traditional herbal medicine for a long time. They calm your skin, boosting your immune system and promoting good overall health.

If you suffer from rosacea (redness of the skin) it can calm it down. The same with inflammation from acne.

The onion family, which includes garlic, contains allicin, which also reduces redness and swelling in the skin due to acne.

Main Phytonutrients:

  • anthoxanthins (flavonols, flavones), allicin

Main Vitamins and Minerals:

  • fiber, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K1

Skin Care Benefits

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant

Top White and Brown Veggies:

  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • cauliflower
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • daikon radish
  • parsnips

 

Best Way to Add Phytonutrients to Your Diet 

Phytonutrients work synergistically, which means they work better when eaten together. Certain compounds enhance each other’s properties and availability.

So it’s important to mix it up and eat a variety of different fruit, vegetables and spices every day.

 

5 Principles to Stick To:

  1. Always use fresh produce.
  2. Change things up a lot - so you get a good variety of different phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  3. In general, include lots of different colours of fruit and vegetables every day.
  4. Combine these superfoods as much as possible. The nutrients often work together, boosting each other's power.

and

  1. Try to avoid foods that contribute to aging, like sugar and grains which increase inflammation. By a process called glycation sugar accelerates premature skin aging, resulting in reduced skin elasticity, wrinkles and skin sagging.

  

You might also like:

 

FAQ’s 

What do phytonutrients do for your skin?

Phytonutrients are the compounds found in colorful fruit and vegetables.

It’s their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make them so good for your skin.

They promote healthy collagen production, fight free radicals, and improve cell function - keeping your skin smooth and firm.

As well as calming rosacea and combating inflammation from an acne flare-up. 

 

Which vegetables have the most phytonutrients?

Kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are all dark green cruciferous vegetables that are full of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.

While orange and yellow vegetables – sweet potatoes, carrots and yellow peppers - contain massive amounts of the phytonutrient beta-carotene.

 

The Takeaway 

Phytonutrients are the natural compounds found in colorful fruit and vegetables.

It’s their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make them so good for your skin.

They promote healthy collagen production, fight free radicals, and improve cell function - keeping your skin smooth and firm.

As well as calming rosacea and combating inflammation from an acne flare-up. 

And the best way to get maximum skin care benefits is to eat a rainbow of these colorful fruits and vegetables every day.

 

 

References:

Evans JA, Johnson EJ. The role of phytonutrients in skin health. Nutrients. 2010 Aug;2(8):903-28. doi: 10.3390/nu2080903. Epub 2010 Aug 24. PMID: 22254062; PMCID: PMC3257702.

Boelsma E, Hendriks HF, Roza L. Nutritional skin care: health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 May;73(5):853-64. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/73.5.853. PMID: 11333837.

Vivien W. Fam, Prae Charoenwoodhipong, Raja K. Sivamani, Roberta R. Holt, Carl L. Keen, Robert M. Hackman, Plant-Based Foods for Skin Health: A Narrative Review, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 122, Issue 3, 2022, Pages 614-629, ISSN 2212-2672, 

Blesso CN. Dietary Anthocyanins and Human Health. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 5;11(9):2107. doi: 10.3390/nu11092107. PMID: 31491856; PMCID: PMC6770874.

Tan BL, Norhaizan ME. Carotenoids: How Effective Are They to Prevent Age-Related Diseases? Molecules. 2019 May 9;24(9):1801. doi: 10.3390/molecules24091801. PMID: 31075966; PMCID: PMC6539799.

 

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