Puffy eyes or "eye bags" can make you look unduly tired. While genetics may affect eye bags, you can counter their presence by eating and applying specific foods to the eye area. Along with changes in lifestyle -- sleep and exercise -- changing the foods you eat can alter your water metabolism, which can lead to decreased swelling under the eyes.
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About Eye Bags
Your eyes are supported by a complex tapestry of muscles, ligaments and fat. Over time the flesh weakens, so that fat that was held in place droops and bulges beneath the eyes. Fluid that previously circulated throughout the eye area may gather in this new space beneath the lower eyelid, exacerbating the puffiness. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, further exacerbating the puffiness of eye bags.
Eating More Water
In addition to drinking more water, look for foods that are naturally high in water, such as beets, celery, tomatoes and watermelon. Cucumbers offer a double-shot of help to eye bags, as the vegetable is high in water and contains sulfur and silicon, which stimulate the kidneys. Slices of cucumber can also be applied topically, as the vegetable contains acid and foliates that temporarily clog the pores, leading to tighter skin and flatter eye bags. Place a slice of chilled cucumber over each eye and rest on your back -- ideally with your legs elevated -- for 15 minutes. You can also use slices of potato or black tea bags in this manner, as both also contain astringents. Take note that the cold temperature intensifies the skin constriction. Allow the tea bags to cool before applying. Apple cider vinegar, which also has astringent properties, can be diluted and applied to the skin, or taken internally. Try adding 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 cup of water to create a face wash/toner, or add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to 8 ounces of water for a stimulating drink.
Fiber and Antioxidants
Oats, artichokes, peas and beans are all good sources of fiber, which can ease constipation and improve your water balance. A 2001 study in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" found an association between individuals with less photoaging or skin wrinkling and diets high in beans -- especially broad and lima beans -- green leafy vegetables and olive oil. Green leafy vegetables are high in B vitamins, which have a diuretic effect. Olive oil is high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that counters the effects of environmental pollution. Some skin-care lines offer highly refined olive oil for topical applications.
Eye and skin-care products can induce allergies, which can manifest as puffy eyes. Eye bags that coincide with chronic sinus pain, or chronically itchy and watery eyes that accompany eye bags, may indicate allergies or an underlying sinus infection. Eye bags that coincide with fluid retention in other parts of the body may also indicate a larger health concern. When in doubt, individuals should consult with their doctor.