17 Foods To Eat For A Summer Glow If You're More Into Dark Chocolate And Berries Than Tanning Beds

Summer is on the horizon, which means you'll probably want to start working on getting your tan on to get that certain kinda glow everyone wants this time of year. Of course, tanning isn't the only way to create a summer shine, and if you've been on the lookout for foods for glowing skin, I've got your back.

I have found that my diet almost always dictates how good my skin looks, so if I want to clear up some acne or even out my skin tone, I reach for fresh, unprocessed foods instead of stocking up on more skincare items. It doesn't matter how many products I use or how diligently I wash my face — if I've been eating more processed food, then my skin reflects it. Science also agrees with me on this, as many doctors and dermatologists have said that your skin reflects what you're eating. Shocker of the century: What you put inside of your body has an effect on how your body looks.

As a general rule then, eating what we definitely know to be healthier foods, getting enough fruits and vegetables, and staying away from ready meals or high fructose corn syrup are good options for taking care of your skin. But getting into specifics, here are 17 foods to eat if you want to achieve a shimmery summer glow.

1. Nettles

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Nettles are a type of plant that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and for their detoxifying abilities. If you suffer from eczema or acne, this is a great herb to consume to help clear up your complexion. You can consume nettles in many ways, from making a tea with the fresh leaves, to taking nettle supplements, or even adding them to a soup.

2. Carrots

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Carrots are rich in beta-carotenes (a protein that naturally warms up the color of your skin). In fact, a 2011 study conducted by Dr. Stephen of the University of Nottingham found that eating foods with high-levels of beta-carotene does in fact change your complexion. "The results indicated that consuming several extra portions of fruits and vegetables daily could result in increased skin pigmentation due to naturally occurring chemicals called carotenoids. These findings were similar to those obtained with mild tanning of the skin in these study patients," said dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart to Huffington Post about this study. Eating too many carrots can cause an unsightly skin discoloration called carotenemia, though, so eat 'em in a moderate amount.

3. Cantaloupe

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This sweet fruit is also rich in beta-carotenes, which means it will richen the color of your skin naturally — no self-tanner needed!

4. Kale

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Already known to be a superfood, kale can also give you great skin on top of all of its other super powers. Kale contains a heck of a lot of Vitamin A, which prevents skin diseases and helps repair dry and damaged skin. It also contains a high dose of Vitamin K, which can relieve discoloration, especially underneath your eyes. The Vitamin C in kale (it has just as much as citrus fruits) also eliminates sun damage.

5. Olive Oil

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As any amateur chef knows, life without EVOO is not worth living. According to the Global Healing Center, olive oil has benefits for your skin, as it delivers a healthy dose of antioxidants and can cleanse and exfoliate your face simultaneously, leaving your pores unclogged and your skin moisturized.

6. Bell Peppers

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Bell peppers contain quite a bit of beta-carotene, which as previously mentioned, helps to warm your skin tone. Add them to your diet to get your glow on.

7. Tomatoes

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Tomatoes have quite a bit of carotenoids in them, which will help to give your skin that natural, warm glow. In fact, a study out of Leeds and St. Andrews Universities found that over 75 percent of participants prefer those with a carotenoid-aided complexion over those with a melanin adjusted tone, so stock up on marinara. In fact, eating tomatoes gives you a more attractive glow than being out in the sun, so stop tanning and start eating.

8. Berries

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Berries are very nourishing to the skin and help to fight signs of aging. "These can all help your skin as they contain anthocyanins, a pigment that has been found to strengthen collagen fibers," said Dale Pinnock, author of The Clear Skin Cookbook to The Daily Mail.

9. Brazil Nuts

If your skin is lacking elasticity or firmness (something that can be caused by sun damage from actual tanning), eating a handful of these nuts can give you a boost of selenium, which is an antioxidant protein that reduces the signs of sun damage.

10. Guava

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Guava is one of a few fruits that contain high levels of lycopene, which can act as a natural sunscreen. This protein also helps to give your skin higher levels of elasticity, which means you'll also be fighting wrinkles when you eat this sweet, juicy fruit.

11. Peaches

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Peaches contain a lot of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and alpha-hydroxy acid, which is an important nutrient added to makeup to give it anti-aging effects. So peaches will help you to not only get a warmer complexion, but also fight UV damage and visible signs of aging.

12. Pineapple

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This tropical Hawaiian fruit contains high levels of Vitamin A and C, which are an important part of the collagen formation process and make skin look radiant and youthful.

13. Salmon

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Salmon contains a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids, which aids in making skin look silky smooth and provides a healthy coating of moisture, reducing redness, acne, and any inflammation. This really is a skin superfood!

14. Dark Chocolate

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Dark chocolate not only contains a huge dose of antioxidants, but the cocoa flavonoids in the chocolate are associated with more hydrated and softer skin. As if you needed one more reason to crack open that box of Ghirardelli.

15. Almonds

Nuts and seeds are laced with anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and acne. Almonds are especially good for your skin, though, as they contain magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamin E, which help to reduce stress hormones that often cause breakouts.

16. Sweet Potatoes

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I personally am a huge fan of sweet potato fries, which may not be the most nutritious source of this food, but at least it's something! Anyway, sweet potatoes also contain a plentiful amount of beta-carotenes, which aids in giving your skin a naturally warm summer glow.

17. Lemons

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The health benefits of lemons have long been praised, and you can now add skincare to that ever-growing list. Lemons contain high levels of Vitamin A, which aids in melanin production.

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