Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beauty From Within

Beauty from within
Feed your skin and starve your wrinkles with foods and natural skin treats that brighten, smooth and moisturise your complexion.
It’s true: you are what you eat. We spend billions of dollars on skincare products, but if our diet is poor, we’re fighting a losing battle. Stress, processed foods and diets lacking nutrients result in faster ageing of the skin, a greater incidence of conditions like acne and psoriasis, and more undesirable lines, bags, and sags. Eating the right foods, on the other hand, arms your skin with the nutrients it needs to fight disease and damage. “Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well,” says clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller. “The healthier the foods you eat, the better your skin will look.” Here are my top faves:

1. Berries

No matter which berry you pick, your skin will benefit. Berries are packed with vitamin C, which heals and restores skin, promotes production of collagen, ‘your skin’s structural ‘cement’, and keeps skin smooth; vitamin E, to slow the ageing process and prevent skin damage; and anthocyanins, flavonoids that boast anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that anthocyanins stabilise the collagen matrix, prevent free-radical damage and encourage cross-linking of collagen fibres to create a more stable matrix, resulting in firmer skin. If you do not eat vitamin C-rich foods, like oranges, lemons and strawberries, your skin will begin to loosen, sag, and wrinkle. Whip mixed berries into a smoothie to give your skin the tools its needs to stay radiant, moisturised, and wrinkle-free.

2. Nuts and seeds

These are excellent sources of minerals and healthy monounsaturated fats that moisturise your skin from within. Particular favourites include: almonds, a source of wrinkle-fighting antioxidants, vitamin E and glycosides which fight free radical damage; flaxseeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce skin inflammation; sesame seeds, which provide copper, needed by your skin to make superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant that prevents photoageing and sun damage; and sunflower seeds, which contain lignan phytoestrogens, known to fight wrinkles, and linoleic acid, a fat necessary for the health of your skin cells’ outer membranes. A handful makes the perfect pick-me-up snack; or, sprinkle ground nuts and seeds over cereal or porridge.

3. Dark leafy greens

Spinach, kale, rocket and watercress are skin superfoods, containing dozens of different antioxidant flavonoids which prevent damage caused by free radicals, plus vitamin A, which promotes cellular turnover and growth and is essential for skin brightness and keeping blemishes at bay. Leafy greens also offer your body the iron it needs to provide sufficient oxygen to your skin to keep it rosy and firm. Leafy greens add robust flavour and crunch to salads, or use them to make a green juice first thing in the morning. For maximum wrinkle-fighting power, choose vibrant green leaves with no yellowing.

4. Cold-water fish

Tuna, salmon mackerel and sardines, are best known for their brain-boosting, cardiovascular and anti-arthritis benefits, but they’re also excellent for your skin because they contain the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two potent anti-inflammatory nutrients which are particularly effective at protecting against damage from chemicals or sunlight. Nutritionist Ann McDermott adds, “Essential fatty acids ensure healthy skin cell membranes, which act as barriers to harmful agents but allow nutrients to enter and waste products to leave cells. The stronger that barrier, the better your skin cells will retain water – which means plumper, more youthful-looking skin.” Oily fish are also packed with selenium, niacin and vitamin B6, which are essential for quick skin cell turnover; without proper turnover, skin loses firmness and can age prematurely.

5. Yoghurt

This has been enjoyed for centuries – even Julius Caesar ate it! It’s a great source of the ‘skin vitamin’, vitamin A, a carotenoid that is a great antioxidant and skin beautifier; probiotics, the ‘good’ bacteria you need for gastro-intestinal health which also help your skin fight inflammation and wrinkles; and riboflavin, which helps protect cells from oxygen damage and support cellular energy production, giving you a healthy glow. Nutritional expert Liz Lipski, director of Innovative Healing ( adds, “Anything that keeps digestion normal, any live bacteria or enzymes, is going to be reflected in healthier looking skin.”

6. The beauty busters

What you don’t eat is as important as what you do. Here’s what to avoid:
* Processed carbohydrates, e.g. white bread, packaged biscuits and snacks. They contain refined sugars that cause skin cell inflammation, which leads to wrinkles and premature ageing.
* Cooking food at high temperatures destroys many enzymes and antioxidant nutrients needed for healthy skin. Eat foods raw wherever possible, or opt for lighter methods, like steaming or stir-frying.
* The wrong sort of fats – namely trans fats, found in margarine, cakes and biscuits, and saturated fat, from animal products – cause inflammation and are difficult for the body to metabolise, resulting in breakouts and congestion. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that more pronounced wrinkles were found in people with a higher intake of bad fats and processed carbohydrates.

Good enough to eat ...

Endota Spa Fig ‘n’ Sugar Cleanser ( Figs contain iron to strengthen the collagen that keeps your skin tight and smooth, while pure sugar cane polishes and refines.
Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Hand Cream ( Rich and all-natural, this contains sweet almond oil, vitamin E and beeswax to nourish and protect hard-working hands.
Indah Coco love Lip Balm ( Slick on this pure blend of cocoa butter, cinnamon, vanilla and beeswax for a spicy-scented, lip-smacking treat.
Organic Selections Lemon Myrtle and Avocado Body Lotion ( Be baby-soft all over thanks to this silky combo of biodynamic avocado oil, organic lemon myrtle oil, and lavender.
Yes to Carrots Moisturising Day Cream ( Get a glow on with the antioxidant power of organic carrot and orange juices, plus 26 purifying Dead Sea minerals.
Absolutely Gorgeous Island Kiss Body Scrub ( A delectable concoction of pure brown sugar, sea salt, coconut oil, and macadamia and lime essential oils, to rehydrate and pamper skin.

Source : Nature and Health


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