W.When you think of skin boosting, does your mind automatically envision a shelf full of serums, moisturizers, masks, and the like? While each of these products certainly have a role to play on any skin care line, topical products aren’t the only way to give your complexion a boost.
The step you might be missing is in your kitchen, not your bathroom, and incorporates the “Eat the Rainbow” nutritional philosophy that dietitians have advocated for years.
“As we’ve seen time and time again, fruits and vegetables with the deepest and brightest colors seem to offer fantastic health benefits,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a certified dermatologist in New York City. “Cherries, plums, and strawberries have similar benefits (and color ranges), so eat up! The same ingredients that give them their wonderful taste are also good for your skin and general health. “
And when it comes to sweet cherries, like those grown by cherry farmers in the northwest, the deeper and darker the color, the sweeter the taste – which is a total double punch of reasons to add them to your snack rotation.
Aside from the fact that sweet cherries aren’t just the unofficial fruit of summer, they offer tons of health benefits (as if their delicious, juicy taste wasn’t enough). But what exactly are the benefits of sweet cherry for skin? Dr. Nazarian helped us break these down.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of sweet cherries for your skin.
There are many cult antioxidant products out there, but consumption of anti-inflammatory foods is safe, according to Dr. Nazarian is also important for your complexion.
“An anti-inflammatory diet is great for skin health,” she says. “The main source of antioxidants [in cherries] comes from anthocyanins, but cherries also contain vitamins A, C, E and potassium. Inflammation can breakdown elastin and collagen fibers and age the skin over time. An anti-inflammatory diet preserves youthful skin and protects it from environmental stressors such as pollution. “
Vitamin C – from the Dr. Nazarian says it’s “absolutely vital to skin health” – it can help with healthy collagen formation, she says. And vitamin E ticks a few other skin-strengthening boxes. “When it comes to food, vitamin E is a wonderful antioxidant that protects the body from oxidative stress and free radical damage,” says Dr. Nazarian. The skin wins, all around.
Bring the zzzs
If a good night’s sleep could be bottled and sold, it would almost certainly fly off the shelves. Because high-quality sleep has numerous advantages, also in the complexion-enhancing category.
“Sleep is critical to renewing and repairing many skin processes, including fighting free radical damage and building defenses against premature aging from external sources (radiation, pollution, arid climates, etc.),” says Dr. Nazarian. “Sleep is incredibly important in inducing the formation of collagen, or ‘youth support’ fiber, and preventing it from breaking down.”
While sweet northwest cherries make a delicious snack any time of the day (alone or mixed in this cherry and lime smoothie), they contain tryptophan and melatonin, both of which are known to help you fall asleep, making sweet cherries an especially ideal midnight snack.
A stress-free sweet
“Stress triggers a cascade of events in the body that can ultimately send signals to the skin that cause various skin diseases to flare up,” says Dr. Nazarian. “One of the main stress signals, cortisol, is a message to the skin to increase oil production, which often leads to acne breakouts. Stress has also been shown to flare up other inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. “
Less ideal considering none of us are immune to stress, but luckily, sweet cherries are high in serotonin, which studies have shown can boost your mood and wellbeing (it doesn’t become “the happy chemical for free” ” called). How’s that for cute?
Photo above: Northwest Cherry Growers, Getty Images / Westend61; Art: Gut + Gut Kreativ