They may not sound a likely trio but including carrots, oranges and wholegrain in your diet can have many benefits to the appearance and health of your skin. Check out the recipe below for a moist and delicious cake that includes all three skin boosters

Carrots

Carrots aren’t just good for your eyes. Vitamin A is also great for your skin. It acts as an antioxidant to neutralize cancer-causing free radicals. Plus, it helps the immune system prevent infection. This can help keep wrinkles at bay, and your skin look youthful and vibrant. A 2000 person study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests beta-carotene, the kind of vitamin A found in plants, can protect against sun damage. Look for high amounts of vitamin A in sweet potatoes, broccoli, beets, and kale.

Whole Grains

Whole grains deliver two in one for skin health, giving your body vitamin E as well as selenium. Vitamin E can help protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays and prevent damage from free radicals. It also helps regulate other nutrients, like vitamin A, that are essential for healthy skin. Selenium, on the other hand, is a mineral that maintains healthy skin cells. Easy ways to add this to your diet include whole-grain or wholemeal bread and flour.

Oranges

Vitamin C is an ingredient in many pricey skin creams, and for good reason. It is a powerful “antioxidant,” or substance that helps reduce the damage to skin caused by “free radicals. Free radicals break down the collagen and elastin in the skin to cause wrinkles and advance the aging process. Citrus fruits, like oranges, are full of vitamin C and including vitamin C rich foods in your diet, can combat free radicals and have smooth, taut skin.

Carrot, Orange and Wholemeal Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 medium orange
  • 140g raisins
  • 125ml rapeseed oil
  • 115g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder , plus a pinch
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
  • 140g dark muscovado sugar
  • 280g finely grated carrots (about 375-400g carrots before peeling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 115g self-raising flour

Method

Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. For the cake, finely grate the zest from the orange and squeeze 3 tbsp of juice. Pour the juice over the raisins in a bowl, stir in zest, then leave to soak while you make the cake. Lightly oil and line the base of a deep 20cm square cake tin. Mix the flours with 1 tsp baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon.

Separate one of the eggs. Put the white in a small bowl and the yolk in a large one. Break the remaining whole egg in with the yolk, then tip in the sugar. Whisk together for 1-2 mins until thick and foamy. Slowly pour in the oil and continue to whisk on a low speed until well mixed. Tip in the flour mix, half at a time, and gently stir it into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula or big spoon. The mix will be quite stiff. Put the extra pinch of baking powder in with the egg white and whisk to soft peaks.

Fold the carrot, raisins (and any liquid) into the flour mixture. Gently fold in the whisked egg white, then pour into the tin. Jiggle the tin to level the mixture. Bake for 1 hr until risen and firm or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin 5 mins, turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the paper, then leave until cold.

For an extra treat why not add a creamy frosting.

  • 300g Cream Cheese
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 large orange, plus more, shredded, to decorate

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and orange zest, and spread over the cake. Decorate with the shredded orange zest.