Human skin is both fragile and very strong; it separates us from the world and all its dangers. But skin is also affected by what we eat, and by our behaviors—smoking, heavy drinking, not sleeping enough. An easy way to give your skin what it needs to glow with health is by drinking healthy juices; here are ten tasty ones to try.
1. Cranberry juice
Cranberry juice does good work in the human body; it relieves urinary tract infections and respiratory ailments, and can prevent gum disease. The berry has a plant compound, proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to cell walls—this is why it’s effective at treating UTIs and gum disease. With a mere 45 calories per cup, cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, niacin, and magnesium. And all this goodness is reflected in the health of the skin; the antioxidants in cranberries fight off free radicals in the body that bring on signs of age, like wrinkles and sagging skin. If no-sugar cranberry juice is too tart for your taste, combine it with a half-cup of seltzer water.
2. Cucumber, mango, spinach juice
The first easy juice recipe we’ll present, this one offers a lot for skin health. Mangoes have much vitamin A, which works as a natural cleaning agent for the derma, removing off-colors from sun damage and bringing back radiance. Mangoes have other antioxidants that correct age spots, while cucumbers reduce freckles and spinach cleans the blood, addressing the toxins that cause breakouts. Peel and mash a half-cup of ripe mango, peel a cup worth of cucumber (about half of one vegetable), and a handful of spinach; add all of these into a food processor with a half-cup of water and blend until smooth.
3. Apple juice
Apple juice with breakfast starts the day gracefully; apples have antioxidants that keep away the signs of early aging, and they freshen the breath too. Sugar-free apple juice (and not from concentrate juice) is a low calorie drink and very hydrating. The antioxidants in apples help repair damage to cellular walls, caused by stress; this supports the health of skin, keeping the derma firm.
4. Beet root juice
Root vegetables house a lot of nutrients, but it’s hard to just pick up a parsnip and eat it for breakfast—they require some lengthy cooking times. Beet roots are particularly nutrient rich, and can be made into juice. Combine a half-cup of beets with a half-cup of water in a food processor, blend until smooth, and drink (the juice will be fantastic, a bright bubbling witches’ brew). A cup of beet juice a day helps to prevent and treat inflammation; it has vitamins A, C, and K to support the immune system. The iron, copper, and potassium in beets reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and scars. If that’s not enough, beets also have folate and carotenoids, which increase blood flow to the skin, and lycopene, an antioxidant that maintains elasticity and stops sagging.
5. Mint, lettuce, and lemon juice
Vitamin A is crucial for skin cell regeneration; leafy greens, like lettuce and kale, are loaded with vitamin A. The potassium in leafy greens boosts oxygen circulation to the skin and sends vital nutrients to skin cells (many Western diets are lacking in potassium). Mint leaves are used in herbal medicine as a cleaning agent; here, they serve to cleanse the skin of toxins and prevent acne flares. To make this smoothie, you’ll need a small head of Romaine lettuce (or a bunch of kale, if you prefer), a handful of mint leaves, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Chop the lettuce and mint leaves, then combine all the ingredients plus a half-cup of water in the blender. Blend well, adding ice if you like. If this smoothie is too tart for you, add a teaspoon of honey or agave instead of sugar. Sugar, in any dose or chemical structure, leads to increased oil production in the skin.
6. Lemon juice
Lemons are famous for their cleansing abilities; if you run half a lemon over a cutting board after chopping vegetables, the board will be cleaned, disinfected, and smell wonderful. It does sort of the same thing for skin and hair. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system, suppressing inflammation. The vitamin also aids in collagen production, a main ingredient in skin cell elasticity. Squeezing half a lemon into a glass of water is an easy way to get a full dose of vitamin C (which also soothes jittery nerves), or toss a few slices of lemon in your water bottle before heading out.
7. Tomato juice
Tomato juice is good for more than making a Bloody Mary (though that’s our favorite use). Tomato juice has lycopene, an antioxidant that fights damaging free radicals and decreases the wrinkling and dryness of skin. Lycopene has been studied repeatedly; ingesting consistent doses of it reduces the risk of prostate, breast, stomach, and lung cancers. Tomato paste can be applied directly to the skin to treat acne and rashes, and to remove blackheads.
8. Aloe Vera juice
The desert succulent Aloe Vera is used in herbal medicine as a skin salve, very good for calming sun burns and rashes. It does the same when ingested; the minerals and vitamins of Aloe Vera fight the onset of premature aging. Besides preventing wrinkles, Aloe Vera gel applied to puffy eyes will hydrate the skin and calm the puffiness.
Eating a slice of watermelon is like drinking a bonus glass of water. Watermelon juice—which you can make with a juicer, blender, food processor, or a strainer and some patience—is deeply hydrating and good for the skin. Like tomatoes and other red colored fruits, watermelon has lycopene, which is especially good at neutralizing the free radicals caused by skin-aging ultraviolet exposure.
10. Carrot juice
A root vegetable, carrots are rich in nutrients, and juicing them loses none. They have vitamin A, and beta-carotene. Carotenoids (like beta-carotene) reverse damage caused by the sun (this is also why it supports eye health); other phytochemicals in carrots even out blemishes and skin tones, reduce acne, and keep the skin well hydrated, lending a radiant glow.