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The One Nutrient You Need to Fight Your Dark Circles

If you’re a new parent, your sleep has likely been cut down to the bare minimum (and that’s if you even get any). Missing out on sleep affects more than just your energy. It also does a number on your skin, contributing to under-eye bags and dark circles. The baby is here to stay—but the circles don’t have to be.

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Under-eye bags and dark circles go hand in hand. Puffy eyes occur when fluid accumulates under your eyes, and is typically a dead giveaway of lack of sleep. Those bags can create shadows, which resemble—wait for it—dark circles. Dark circles may also be the result of thinning skin (blame a loss of fat and collagen), which accentuates the look of red-blue-toned blood vessels under the eyes.

While getting more sleep is ideal to help reduce your dark circles, that’s not always possible. But there is a nutrient that may help: iron. One study found that 50% of people who suffered from peri-orbital hyperpigmentation—a.k.a. dark circles—had an iron deficiency anemia. You may want to talk to your doctor to find out if that might be the cause of your dark circles, and to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet. Seafood, red meat, pork, and poultry are excellent sources of iron, but there are plenty of iron-rich choices for vegetarians too, including beans, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, and dried fruit.

Another thing that can help?  Your body will be able to absorb more iron if you have foods with vitamin C at the same time as you eat the iron-rich foods. Fill the rest of your plate with foods like leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and oranges.