When you think “skin boosting,” does your mind automatically picture a shelf filled with serums, moisturizers, masks, and the like? While each of those certainly has a role to play in any skin-care lineup, topical products aren’t the only way to give your complexion a boost.
The step you might be overlooking actually resides in your kitchen, not your bathroom, and it involves the “eat the rainbow” food philosophy dietitians have been advocating 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, board-certified dermatologist based 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 great for your skin and overall health.”
And when it comes to sweet cherries, like those grown by Northwest cherry growers, the deeper and darker the color, the sweeter they’ll taste, too—which is a total double whammy of reasons to add them to your snacking rotation.
Plus, besides being the unofficial fruit of summer, sweet cherries offer tons of health benefits (as if their delicious, juicy taste wasn’t enough). But what exactly are sweet cherries’ skin benefits? Dr. Nazarian helped us break those down.
Keep reading to learn more about sweet cherries’ benefits for your skin.
There are plenty of antioxidant-packed cult fave products out there, but eating anti-inflammatory foods is important for your complexion too, according to Dr. Nazarian.
“An anti-inflammatory diet is ideal for skin health,” she says. “The major source of antioxidants [in cherries] is from anthocyanins, but cherries also contain vitamins A, C, E, and potassium. Inflammation can cause degradation of elastin and collagen fibers, aging skin over time. An anti-inflammatory diet will preserve youthful skin and shield it from environmental stressors, such as pollution.”
Vitamin C—which Dr. Nazarian says is “absolutely vital for skin health”—can help with healthy collagen formation, she says. And vitamin E checks off a few other skin-boosting boxes. “When taken dietarily, vitamin E is a wonderful antioxidant that helps protect the body from oxidative stress and free-radical damage,” Dr. Nazarian says. Skin wins, all around.
Bring on the zzzs
If a good night’s sleep could be bottled and sold, it would almost certainly fly off the shelves. That’s because high-quality sleep has numerous benefits, including those in the complexion-boosting category.
“Sleep is vital for renewal and repair of many skin processes, including combating free-radical damage and building defenses against premature aging from external sources (radiation, pollution, arid climates, etc.),” Dr. Nazarian says. “Sleep is incredibly important for inducing creation of collagen, or ‘youth-supporting’ fibers, and prevention of its degradation.”
While sweet Northwest cherries make for a delicious snack (on their own or mixed into this cherry-lime smoothie) any time of the day, they contain tryptophan and melatonin, which are both known to help with sleep, making sweet cherries a particularly ideal midnight snack.
A stress-less sweet
“Stress triggers a cascade of events in the body that can ultimately send signals to the skin, which flare various skin conditions,” Dr. Nazarian says. “One of the major stress signals, cortisol, messages to the skin to increase oil production, often leading to acne pimples. Stress has also been shown to flare other inflammatory conditions in the skin such as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.”
Less than ideal, considering none of us are immune to stress, but fortunately sweet cherries are high in serotonin, which studies have shown can support your mood and feelings of well-being (it’s not called “the happy chemical” for nothin’). How’s that for sweet?
Top photo: Northwest Cherry Growers, Getty Images/Westend61; Art: Well+Good Creative