If you regularly enjoy eating winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and other beta-carotene rich foods, you may be doing yourself a favor in the beauty department, according to new research.

Beta Carotene for Skin: Stronger, More Supple and Cancer-Free

A study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that beta-carotene suppressed the enzymes (called matrix metalloprotease enzymes MMP-1, MMP-3 and MMP-10) responsible for degrading the skin’s “scaffolding”. And it’s this degradation that is responsible for causing the appearance of skin aging.

For Glowing Skin Choose Foods, Not Supplements

In light of the recent evidence on beta-carotene supplementation increasing the risk of certain types of cancer (especially in smokers), make sure to get this wrinkle-reducer in whole foods.  The best sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash as well as dark leaf greens like collards and kale.

And because beta-carotene is lipid-soluble, eating it with a bit of healthy fat (3-5 grams) will boost its absorption.