By Lisa Drayer

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Extra info for The Beauty Diet

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When your body converts the beta-carotene from your sweet potato into vitamin A, it will help keep your skin smooth and soft. Vitamin A also is important to good vision and eye health, cell division and differentiation, normal functioning of your immune system, and healthy bones, teeth, skin, hair, and fingernails (see Chapter 7). Additionally, one cup of canned sweet potato (which weighs more than a cup of uncooked) has 63 milligrams of the wondrous water-soluble antioxidant vitamin C (see Chapter 1).

One cup of raw spinach has 58 micrograms—about 15 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of 400 micrograms. Among its other roles, folate is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, including red blood cells, because it is needed to replicate DNA. Mighty minerals. Among vegetables, spinach contains an unusually high amount of magnesium, which plays a vital role in hundreds of the body's chemical reactions (see Chapter 6). With 167 milligrams per cup, raw spinach is also a good source of heart-healthy potassium.

S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, rank blueberries number one in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 common fresh fruits and vegetables. Blueberries contain many plant compounds that combine to make this sweet fruit an antioxidant superstar. I included blueberries in my Top 10 Beauty Foods because their antioxidant, antiaging, and anti-inflammatory effects protect you from premature aging. Blueberries contain: Anthocyanins. These are the blue-red pigments that also are present in red wine and other foods; they not only give blueberries their color but also enhance their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

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