Foods for better skin, teeth, eyes, breath and sleep

Who hasn't ever aired a complaint about their appearance: wrinkles, puffy eyes, sleep-deprived? Here's the good news: A solution may be in what you add to your grocery cart. Try these beauty foods for a natural glow and radiance from your smile to your skin:

Foods for a healthy smile

Raisins: You might think that because raisins are sweet and sticky, they're not good for your oral health. But research has shown antioxidants in raisins fight the growth of a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease.

Other food solutions to try: Green tea. A daily cup of green tea significantly lowered Japanese men's risk of developing gum disease.

Foods for healthy skin

Edamame: Collagen - the fibrous protein that keeps skin firm, youthful-looking and wrinkle-free - begins to decline starting in your 20s. Eating edamame and other soyfoods may help to preserve skin-firming collagen because it's rich in isoflavones.

In a study, mice fed isoflavones and exposed to ultraviolet radiation had fewer wrinkles and smoother skin than mice exposed to UV light that didn't get isoflavones. The researchers believe isoflavones help prevent collagen breakdown.

Other food solutions: Sardines. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the omega-3 fats in fatty fish such as sardines, has also been shown to preserve collagen.

Foods for healthy eyes

Cucumbers: Place slices over puffy eyes; cucumber's anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce swelling, says Alan Logan, N.D., co-author of "Your Skin, Younger."

Foods for better breath

Parsley: This herb has been shown to help kick garlic breath. The polyphenols (compounds that act like antioxidants) break down the smelly sulfur compounds in garlic. For the biggest benefit, combine garlic and parsley in the same dish. It may be possible to get the garlic-breath-fighting benefits of polyphenols by eating it in dishes separate from the garlic, when consumed during the same meal.

Other food solutions: Basil, apples and spinach also are rich in polyphenols.

Foods for better sleep

Tart cherry juice: You've heard people say they need their "beauty sleep" - and it turns out there's some truth to that, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. (People rated study participants as healthier and more attractive when they slept 8 hours per night compared to when they were sleep-deprived.)

In a small study, when adults with chronic insomnia drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice per day they experienced some relief in the severity of their insomnia. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.