Classics are great—we’ll never give up our Levi’s cutoffs, Gone With the Wind is always a viable Friday night plan, and where would any of us be without The Beatles’ White Album? And yet, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of discovering the new and unknown. In this case, we’re talking about superfoods. We all know blueberries are filled with antioxidants that fight free radicals and give you glowing skin, but what else is out there? What do women in other parts of the globe eat for a firmer, smoother, and brighter complexion? Maqui, for one. Oh, and moringa, too. Piqued your interest? We’ve got even more. Keep scrolling for seven exotic superfoods your skin will love.
Fun fact number one: The little black berries are also called chokeberries. Fun fact number two: They’re chock-full of antioxidants called polyphenols that do everything from reduce inflammation to increase circulation—and aronias contain way more of them than blueberries and acai do. Drop a few into your a.m. smoothie for an easy skin boost.
Also called dragon fruit, these fiery-looking fruits come from Asia and Central America and are delicious blended into bowls (move aside, acai!) and smoothies (we’re currently obsessed with Pitaya Plus’s easy-to-make options). They’re high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and omega-3, and studies have shown that consuming them can lead to a number of health benefits.
Maqui berries grow wild in the rainforests of Chile and Argentina and, according to this study, have four times as many antioxidants as blackberries and strawberries. Though they’re difficult to find fresh in the U.S., you can usually nab maqui juice and maqui powder in health food stores.
Moringa leaf has been used in India’s ayurvedic teachings for thousands of years—supposedly, it has been used to treat over 300 different types of diseases. The leaf contains high levels of phytonutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants and is said to lower inflammation and help your body detox. You can soak the leaves to make tea (be careful, though—it has been used as a diuretic) or even apply topically to soothe burns. You can read more about its health benefits in this study.
If you haven’t tried mangosteen, you really, really should—think of it as a juicier, sweeter, more exotic-tasting orange. Originating in Southeast Asia, it’s stuffed with polyphenols called xanthones, which have shown strong anti-inflammatory benefits and the ability to heal cells damaged by free radicals.
Also referred to as snakeskin fruit, these fig-like fruits are full of calcium, flavonoids, vitamin C, saponins, and tannins—all ingredients that soothe and repair your skin.
If you’re a skincare junkie, you’ve definitely heard of sea buckthorn oil—and the berry it comes from can help your skin when ingested, too. With carotenoids, anti-inflammatory omega fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E, it’s a major free radical fighter and works wonders on dry, easily irritated skin. (If you’d rather apply in product form, we recommend Fresh’s Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, $50).
Had you heard of any of these exotic superfoods? Which ones sound the most intriguing? Sound off below!