We get it, stopping off at a grimy gas station to fill up your tank and grabbing a quick snack isn’t exactly ideal, but sometimes hunger calls. So what’s a beauty-loving gal who’s always on the road to do? Well, for starters, avoid the ice cream aisle and shelves of donuts! Here are 8 yummy gas station snacks that are actually good for your skin, believe it or not.
1. Trail Mix
If you’re trying to fill up your tummy while adding a healthy glow to your skin, try trail mix, suggests Megan Franks, esthetician and operations manager at Paradise Skin Products. “Every gas station has some form of this nutty snack mixture, and as long as you don’t have a nut allergy, trail mix can actually help improve your skin by reducing swelling and inflammation,” she adds. For example, almonds are a natural anti-inflammatory and can help combat skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, and even acne, while peanuts are an antioxidant and can help prevent unwanted sun damage, fine lines, and sunspots. Raisins can also be packed with resveratrol, says Franks, which is known for its ability to help slow down the aging process. And last but not least, let’s not forget about those delicious M&M’s! “Researchers from Rutgers University found that when chocolate was consumed in moderation, there were fewer incidences of skin cancer.” Pretty cool, huh?
2. Low Sodium Beef Jerky
Low sodium beef jerky is a great choice because it’s high in protein, which is crucial for keeping your glucose levels in check and reducing inflammation, says Melissa Picoli, esthetician and founder of BijaBody health+beauty. Jerky also contains zinc which helps fight acne, iron which helps diminish dark under eye circles and improve skin discoloration, and copper which helps build collagen and restore a youthful glow to your skin, adds Megan Franks. Just be sure to purchase the regular kind, as flavored options tend to contain either too much sugar and/or sodium, warns Melissa.
“If it’s a truck stop type of gas station, you’re in luck,” says Melissa. “Most make their own chili, and it’s filled with protein.” Beans contain B vitamins and folate, which keep skin healthy and protects against cancers, skin cancer included. Chili is also high in tomatoes, which contain antioxidant rich lycopene to enhance your skin's ability to ward off sun damage. Perfect for a chilly late evening snack (no pun intended)!
In addition to the multitude of skin benefits we already mentioned above, almonds contain good monounsaturated fats needed to make healthy skin cell membranes, says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC. “Elastic cell membranes allow cells to hold onto water and keep the skin hydrated. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that can fight off oxidative damage to the skin from UV light.”
5. A Tuna or Turkey Sandwich
Okay, so they’re obviously not top-notch sandwiches (it’s a gas station, what do you expect?) but tuna and turkey are both rich in selenium, which can help prevent cell damage and maintain skin elasticity, and even skin tone, says Dr. Zeichner. So if you’re hungry for more than a small snack, munch on one of these.
6. Green Tea
If you’re thirsty, then grab some green tea, suggests Franks. “This ingredient has been known to benefit skin for hundreds of years now.” Not only is it an antioxidant, but it’s one of the most potent antioxidants on earth, she says. “This means it’s extremely effective at fighting the signs of aging and has even shown signs of being able to prevent skin cancer. Research has also begun to indicate that green tea can be more effective than vitamins when it comes to your skin’s health.”
7. Plain Yogurt
Forget all of that flavored stuff! If you can find it, plain yogurt is rich in vitamin A, which can help fight acne and reduce wrinkles by normalizing the way skin cells mature, explains Dr. Zeichner. Add some honey and sliced apples to the mix for a delicious skin beneficial treat.
Feeling gutsy? Yogurt is also great for your skin when applied topically. “Rub some on your face to help sooth and calm sunburns, as well as soften skin due to its lactic acid properties,” suggests Megan Franks.
8. Fresh Fruit
Most gas stations try to offer fresh fruit options, so take advantage, says Megan. “Bananas are high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C,” she adds. This will not only help reduce skin inflammation but can also help reduce acne breakouts.
Not so keen on bananas? Then grab an apple or an orange. Like bananas, oranges are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant and precursor for collagen formation, says Dr. Zeichner. Apples will help boost collagen production and can aid in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays, says Franks. In other words, they have major anti-aging benefits, which will diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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