I have just read The O2 Diet by Keri Glassman, a diet plan that is (extremely) high in antioxidants and is supposed to lead to a healthier, leaner, younger looking you. I am currently monitoring my food to calculate its ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value in an experiment to see whether The O2 Diet is doable. In the meantime, I thought I should share Ms Glassman's list of beauty foods that, she claims, will improve your complexion.


In ORAC value terms, the cantaloupe melon doesn't really qualify as a super fruit (a mere 600 ORAC points per serving), but as food for your skin it excels because it has so much vitamin A - much more than your required daily amount. Having enough dietary vitamin A is essential to combat a dry, flakey complexion. Melons are also good for B vitamins and vitamin C, the ultimate vit for counteracting sun damage.


Apparently coconut helps with absorption of calcium and other nutrients. It is also high in fat-burning medium chain tryglycerides.


A study found that a mere handful of dried figs will increase antioxidant plasma levels for up to four hours (much longer than most other foods). They also contain exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids.

Lean protein including beef, chicken and fish

These foods all contain the enzyme CoQ10, or ubiquinone, a potent antioxidant naturally produced by the body and important to cell functioning and development. Ubiquinone naturally decreases with aging. It has properties that allow it to prevent or reduce oxidative damage to tissues, and may be more effective than Vitamin E in doing so.


Fungi are packed with nutrients such as B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, iron and potassium.

Olive oil

Rich in antioxidant polyphenols and good fats, two teaspoons of olive oil have about 100 ORAC points.


A cup of papaya has 500 ORAC points, vitamins A, C and E as well as the exfoliating enzyme papain.


It has more protein than other grains and, unlike the rest of the edible grass family, it contains a balanced set of amino acids. It is notable as a source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is necessary for energy production within cells. Nasa is considering making it required eating on long space flights.

Red bell pepper

You will get more than 450% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C from a red bell pepper and it is unique in combining large amounts of vitamins A and E along with the C. Half a cup will give you 600 ORAC points.


Improves circulation, is an anti-irritant and one teaspoon has 400 ORAC points.


Reduces inflammation and is a source of astaxanthin. Analyses have shown that astaxanthin is also an efficient absorber of specific ultraviolet sunlight rays that may contribute to skin aging and cancer.


A source of malic acid and one cup will give you a massive 5,400 ORAC points.


Rich in lycopene, it protects against sunburn.

Glassman's The O2 Diet also includes lobster and oysters, but I'm not wild about either of them and neither are really a practical option for stocking up on. Nor do I want to encourage crass manufacturers of department store cosmetics to start peddling overpriced serums with lobster extract. Remember, you read it here first.