Fruits and veggies provide the nutrients you need to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine, but they also keep your hair shiny, your skin clear, and your eyes bright. Fresh plant-based food packs a nutrient dense punch, and it’s the antioxidants that deliver the strongest wallop. We’re breaking down the mystique behind these oft-cited substances so you can appreciate just how much work those veggies are doing to beautify you inside and out.

Antioxidant: an enzyme or other organic substance found in many fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and spices, that are beneficial for protecting our cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, as well as premature aging. Everything from environmental pollution, inflammation, drugs, alcohol, smoking, UV damage, a poor diet, and even excessive exercise can produce free radicals. Stress, in short, triggers the production of free radicals, and your body pays the price with fatigue, sagging or blemished skin, a lower immune response and, worse yet, chronic illness and disease: free radicals are also linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cataracts, diabetes, kidney disease, and age-related blindness.

But enough about the scary stuff — stress less, soup more and get those veggies. Free radicals won’t stand a chance with ya!

Antioxidants = Anti-aging

Beyond concerns with health, free radical damage can also accelerate the effects of aging. Antioxidants are beneficial when consumed in your diet and also applied topically in skin care. Excellent antioxidants for beauty are vitamin E, vitamin C, resveratrol, and retinol. Our skin originally has an abundance of antioxidants, but we end up losing much of it, due primarily to damage from the sun, menopause, and just being older. Free radicals can exacerbate this process by actually damaging collagen — which is a crucial component to youthful, plump skin.

Your skin will benefit from all the antioxidants you get from eating, be it souping or elsewhere. Here are our picks for some topical products that are as good for your outsides as our soup is for your insides. All approved to keep you connected to your most Splendid Self:

1. Supergoop! Antioxidant-infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C Broad Spectrum SPF 50

This sunscreen is a triple threat — not only does it protect skin from harmful sun damage with complete broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, it also nourishes, moisturizes, and refines skin. It is vegan (one step to minimize impact!), hypoallergenic, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant that has a myriad of benefits, such as: treating wrinkles, brown spots, and dullness; increase collagen production; reduce skin discoloration; strengthen the skin barrier; help repair skin; reduce inflammation; and help skin better withstand exposure to sunlight.

2. Caudalie Night Lift Infusion Cream

This hydrating night time cream is by French brand Caudalie, whose products feature resveratrol-dense grape seeds. This hydrating cream diminishes visible wrinkles and enhances skin firmness. Resveratrol is the potent antioxidant found in grapes, red wine, nuts, blueberries, and cranberries. Resveratrol can protect against sun damage, improve collagen production, reduce cell damage, and is anti-inflammatory — which is especially helpful with eczema, acne, and rosacea.

3. Acure Organics Cell Stimulating Facial Mask

For only $10 a pop, this mask is both budget-friendly and a heavy hitter. Loaded with argan and iris stem cells, this mask firms and softens skin. French green clay draws out impurities, while Moroccan argan oil, CoQ10, and sea buckthorn oil provide intense moisture. The mask is also packed with an antioxidant-rich blend of acai berry, blackberry, rosehips, pomegranate, and rooibos tea, along with the superfood, chlorella, which boosts antioxidant function.