A quick stroll through your local farmer’s market is as good for your skin and hair as it is for your waistline. In the endless rows of fresh produce, you’ll encounter more than one “secret ingredient” for clear skin and shiny hair: homegrown and locally produced fruits and vegetables that are more mineral-rich than the grocery variety. “The reason is because fruits and vegetables typically take at least two weeks from the time of harvest to the time of sale at a [store], and during that time the level of antioxidants drops precipitously,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, a Beverly Hills dermatologist.
And while regular sunscreen use and good skin and hair care routines are great ways to maintain a healthy look, shopping for beauty foods at the farmer’s market will also go a long way. Don’t know where to start? Follow this guide to properly navigate the sea of vendors.
1. Hit the Berry Booth First
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but berries could be the key to dewy, youthful-looking skin. Antioxidants, found in blueberries and strawberries, have been shown to prevent free-radical damage, which can cause inflammation and accelerate the aging process. And the berries that you find at your local farmer’s market are even fresher than you think, according to Dr. Shamban. “In California the strawberries are typically sold within days if not hours of being picked,” she says. This naturally sweet fruit can be eaten as a snack or added to your morning oatmeal.
Pair it with: Eminence Organics Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum
2. Find the Tea Merchant
Many open-air markets have tea vendors who pick, dry and pack their own leaves. The farmer’s market option is a good choice because it means fewer additives along the creation process. Bagged green tea has been proven to be effective in combating certain skin disorders and possibly skin cancer, according to one study. Pour your favorite brew over ice with a slice of detoxifying lemon to quench your thirst as temperatures start to rise.
Pair it with: Juara Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner
3. Browse the Nut Selection
For Rapunzel-style hair, visit the booths lined with nuts. Walnuts, in particular, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (2.5 grams per one ounce) that help maintain shiny hair, while vitamins and minerals in almonds can fight off free-radical damage. “You should get these nuts at a farmer’s market because they’re fresher and have higher amounts of essential oils and minerals in them,” adds Dr. Shamban. Load up on a variety of your favorite nuts and mix them together for a hair- and skin-enhancing trail mix.
Pair it with: Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil
4. Be Picky About Lettuce
Though butter lettuce may be calling your name, try switching it out for spinach or collard greens. Dark, leafy veggies are loaded with iron, potassium and a lesser-known antioxidant called lutein, a stealth wrinkle-fighter. If the seller has an especially wide range of salad bases, they may carry kelp, too. This iodine, manganese and iron-rich seaweed has been touted as an excellent skin hydrator and mane strengthener. Add this to soups and salads or dry and flavor pieces of sea kelp to snack on throughout the day.
Pair it with: Youth to the People Kale + Spinach Age-Prevention Cream
5. Stock Up on Avocado
Avocado has long been considered the holy grail of beauty foods. Celebrities, for example, swear by the complexion-enhancing fruit that’s packed with monosaturated fatty acids, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Kourtney Kardashian even claims that going a day without her avocado-based smoothie means serious consequences for her skin and hair. Before you go out and pick up a bag of avocados, note that it’s best to scan the booth for a ripe, but not too ripe, green delight. “If it is overly brown when you open it, it will be oxidized and all of the nutrients will be gone,” says Dr. Shamban. “Conversely, if it’s not ripe, it will not be absorbed well when eaten,” she adds. Mash half of an avocado and mix it with salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and spread it over some toasted grain bread for a healthy and satisfying breakfast. Or, add slices to citrus-themed salad for a refreshing summer meal.
Pair it with: Nailtiques Avocado Foot Creme