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What do you eat on a daily basis? Are you turning to unhealthy food or fast food because it's convenient and quick? Stop a minute and think about how consuming this kind of food over time can affect your body.

As a stylist, you may find it hard to fit in a lunch or snack in-between appointments. But when you do, make sure it's the right food and the right snacks! Why not choose a few foods that are not only nutritious, but they help you look better too?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your skin is your body's largest and fastest growing organ, making it crucial to care for it. What many people don’t realize is that the foods they consume on a daily basis have a direct correlation to their skin health. What’s more, our skin reflects our body’s health. The good news is that there are foods that will help your skin look your best, regardless the season or your age.

“What you put into your body affects your body’s health,” explains Dr. Sanjiv Saini of MD Dermatology with locations in Edgewater, Glen Burnie and Lexington Park, Maryland. “Eating too much sugar can cause diabetes and weight gain, eating too much greasy food can cause acne. However, there are some foods which can help improve your skin’s health.”

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for your body and your skin health, including a healthy serving of nutrients and vitamins. Dr. Saini suggests 10 foods to maintain healthy skin, prevent signs of aging and decrease your risk of developing skin cancer:

1. Chocolate. Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it more firm and adding a healthy glow. For maximum results, choose chocolate that's at least 70 percent cacao. Eating a couple of squares a day can improve your skin’s appearance.

2. Olive Oil. For an anti-aging solution, about 75 percent of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, which studies believe play a role boosting your skin’s health and making your skin look younger. The antioxidant polyphenols in olive oil can also eliminate damaging free radicals in the environment.

3. Tomatoes. Recent studies have shown that tomatoes play a role in preventing sunburns. The antioxidant lycopene (levels of which are higher in cooked, processed tomatoes) improves your skin’s natural SPF level.

4. Walnuts. Walnuts are full of copper, a mineral that improves collagen production in your skin. Eating a few walnuts a day can improve your skin's texture.

5. Oatmeal. Studies have shown that oatmeal takes longer for your body to process, which can help keep your blood sugar level and known for healing your skin. Steel-cut oatmeal is less processed than other varieties of oatmeal, so it retains more vitamins.
6. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. The high levels of antioxidant content make blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums a great asset for your skin. The antioxidants protect your skin cells from free radicals in the environment, such as sun exposure.
7. Kale. Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that eliminate free radicals in the environment, such as UV light that can damage your skin. Kale also contains vitamins A and C, which are known to firm your skin.
8. Rosemary. Studies have shown that consuming rosemary can reduce your risk of developing a melanoma. The herb is full of antioxidants to eliminate free radicals before they can damage your skin.
9. Soy. Soy has been linked to improving your skin by reducing fine lines and boosting skin elasticity. The isoflavone in soy helps stop collagen from breaking down and reduces your skin from sagging.
10. Oysters. Oysters contain dietary zinc, which plays an important role in the growth and function of skin cells. Some recent studies have shown that people that suffer from acne have low zinc levels.

“Your skin is susceptible to damage on a daily basis with all the pollution in the air and the UV rays that leave permanent marks on your skin,” adds Dr. Saini. “You don’t have to go through painful surgeries and recovery processes for great looking skin. There are lots of foods in our daily lives that contain the ingredients we need for healthy, happy skin.”

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