Can Certain Foods Reduce Dark Circles?

Face cream woman
Dark circles are rarely "cured," but a healthy diet is beneficial to strong skin. (Image: ariwasabi/iStock/Getty Images)

Those dark circles under your eyes hold a shady truth: No magical foods remove the rings. Dark-circle culprits include genetics, allergies, sinus infections and nasal congestion, lower-eyelid laxity, fluid retention, hormone imbalances, hyperpigmentation, aging and sun exposure. The skin’s thinness also creates the illusion of darkness. In the rare occasions where exhaustion or malnutrition causes dark circles, healthy foods might have a slight impact.

It's as Easy as A, C, E

aubergine vegetable
Eggplant has vitamin K. (Image: atoss/iStock/Getty Images)

Vitamins A, C, E and K are essential to healthy skin and most effective when applied topically. Cream remedies concentrate the vitamins directly where needed, whereas obtaining vitamins through food limits absorption under the eye because the nutrients are dispersed throughout the body.

Although vitamin-deficiency dark circles are uncommon, consuming vitamin C can strengthen blood vessel walls, inhibit the melanin-producing enzyme, defend cells from free radicals and rejuvenate the skin’s collagen. Strawberries, pineapples, grapefruit, tomatoes and raspberries are sufficient sources of vitamin C. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, green beans, asparagus and bell peppers are other sources.

Orange, vitamin A-laden fruits and vegetables such as papaya, mangoes, peaches, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, winter squash, cantaloupe and dried apricots can promote strong, firm skin. Turnip, beet and mustard greens as well as collards, dark lettuce and green peas are additional sources.

Hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, Swiss chard, legumes, shellfish, fish, plant oils and tofu contain vitamin E, which maintains strong, elastic skin and fights the enzyme that breaks down collagen.

Vitamin K regulates blood clotting and strengthens capillary walls to prevent blood leakage. Broken capillaries leak deoxygenated blood to form dark circles. Sage, oregano, thyme, celery, cucumber, leeks, prunes, grapes, pears, plums, kidney beans and eggplant contain vitamin K.

Pump Iron Into Your Diet

thai jasmine rice
Brown rice has iron. (Image: chayathonwong/iStock/Getty Images)

If anemia is responsible for the dark circles under your eyes, eat a protein-rich diet to increase the supply of oxygenated blood. Iron deficiencies hinder the supply of oxygen in body tissue and make the bluish veins more pronounced. Inadequate iron levels impair tissue production and slow the creation of new skin. Incorporate brown rice, oatmeal, lentils, spinach and prunes into your diet as well as vitamin C to aid iron absorption. Egg yolks, chicken and lean beef also contain iron. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and walnuts, increase blood flow below the skin’s surface.

Get Your Beauty Rest

oat flakes
Oatmeal. (Image: CGissemann/iStock/Getty Images)

Tiredness causes dark circles; it reduces circulation and dilates blood vessels. Foods with sleep aids like melatonin, serotonin or tryptophan prepare the body for a full night’s rest and combat sleep-deprivation dark circles. Melatonin is found in oatmeal, whole-grain bread, cherries, nuts and oats. Tryptophan is in turkey, hummus and almonds. Dark chocolate’s serotonin makes it a great after-dinner treat. Honey and chamomile, passionflower and lemon balm teas also induce sleepiness.

Hydrate: Shoot for Eight or More

Glass of water
Drink 6-8 glasses of water. (Image: denphumi/iStock/Getty Images)

Drinking the recommended amount of water per day -- while avoiding caffeine, alcohol and high-sodium foods and beverages -- can boost circulation and elasticity. The Institute of Medicine recommends drinking nine to 13 glasses of water each day.

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