What can fruits do for your skin's health?

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Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it makes sense that what you eat will affect your skin. Adding some nutritious fruits can help you reduce the signs of aging, brighten a dull complexion, and even firm up sagging skin. And, of course, the necessary vitamins in fruit will help out the rest of your body, too.

First off, think purples and reds. The deep, rich hues of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and plums contain high concentrations of antioxidants. Although research is still inconclusive, antioxidants -- especially the type known as flavonoids -- are believed to neutralize free radicals that can damage skin cells. It's easy to remember which foods have antioxidants because they're rich in color. Cherries, red grapes, oranges, lemons and limes count, too, although they don't contain as many antioxidants [source: International Food Information Council].

Papaya can give you a boost from more than just its taste -- its ingredients may also firm up skin and prevent sagging. On top of containing antioxidants, this tropical fruit also has beta-carotene, vitamin C, flavonoids, folate, potassium, magnesium and fiber. Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, a protein that provides skin with structure and gives it its firmness and strength.

Fiber, often found in fruit, helps rid your body of toxins. It may also help prevent toxins from even reaching your skin by simply moving them through your intestines and ushering them out as waste. Several fruits, including pears, dates, apples, blueberries and bananas, are full of fiber, and their natural sweetness can satisfy that desire for processed sugar. Sugar promotes inflammation, which can cause damage to your skin [source: Tufts University].

If your skin is dry, you might want to try avocado. Even though these fruits are high in fat, they're high in monounsaturated fat, which is typically considered a "good" fat. Monounsaturated fats are essential for your skin, because they help moisturize it and replace oil that gets washed away during your cleansing routine [source: WebMD].

To learn more about the benefits of fruit for your skin, click on the links on the next page.