There is nothing like a fantastic day at your favorite Spa ... a facial, a massage ... some wonderful new skin care products ... but the core foundation of beauty is pretty basic - "you are what you eat!"
Super foods for our cosmetic bags are what will produce a long lasting healthy glow, supple skin, fewer wrinkles and less puffy eyes. Mineral rich, nutrient dense beauty foods are nature's best cosmetics and they work from the inside out.
Our skin is bombarded both inside and out on a daily basis with stress, hormones, junk food, lack of H2O and weather to name a few. A healthy diet will help us withstand this barrage of attacks, with nutrients that help repair, maintain and enhance the skin.
Free radicals initiate the deterioration of the skin's structural support and decrease the elasticity, resiliency and suppleness. Just what are these free radicals? To get into the 'science' of it for a moment, they are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron and are thus unstable and reactive. These reactive oxygen molecules bounce around cells and tissues setting off a chain reaction, robbing electrons from healthy molecules, causing damage and creating more free radicals in the process. Collagen, a protein molecule that gives skin a youthful, supple look, is especially susceptible to free-radical damage. For the most part, exhaust fumes, overexposure to sunlight, radiation (x-rays) and cigarette smoking are the main culprits of free-radical damage.
Luckily for us, antioxidants in the form of phytochemicals help us survive this onslaught of damage that comes our way. These phytochemicals prevent and reverse damage by simply giving free radicals the electrons they need to become stable. So, how does all of this affect your skin? Studies are showing that wrinkles and other age related skin factors are directly related to free-radical damage that is not countered by antioxidants. Phytochemicals are found all around us - in our vegetables and leafy greens. They are chemicals that are not required to sustain life - nonessential nutrients but are proven to protect humans against diseases and damage. There are more than a thousand known phytochemicals each working differently to protect us ... a very important reason to be eating a diet rich in plant based foods.
A group of phytochemicals called carotenoids have a tremendous effect on your skin - they are the foods that give our skin a much desired healthy glow! Quite often also high in vitamin A which enhance the functioning of your immune system as well - an added bonus! Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, papaya, bell peppers and tomatoes are all good sources of these healthy phytochemicals. One just needs to Google 'antioxidant foods' to see how abundant they actually are and how easily they are incorporated into our diets.
Arugula is one of my favorite super foods for healthy skin and hair. Arugula has a strong, spicy flavor and is highly alkaline - to help neutralize our ph balance - as well as having a high content of sulfur and beta-carotene (vitamin A). It is known to protect cells from radiation, helps to inhibit acne, fight topical infections, colon and breast cancers. It is a skin cleanser and liver purifier.
Head over here for a salad recipe full of antioxidants and wonderful flavors and it is easily added to many a meal...