Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Eating for the sake of beauty.

Beauty is an inside-out job. That whole "you are what you eat" thing? It's for reals. Harsh, I know, but oh so true.

It doesn't matter how much you spend on pricey face creams.  If your lifestyle includes smoking, drinking, partying all night, and snarfling junk food, or any combination of those things, it's going to eventually show up on your face, and the rest of your skin too. And even more so once you've past those dewy golden 20-something years.  It's cumulative.  And it's not pretty.

The good news is that it's not hard to boost the beautiful.  And it involves eating.  Bonus

Obviously following a few of the other basic rules is going to take you farther down the road:  reducing stress in your life, getting enough sleep every night, moisturizing well, using sun protection, etc.  None of that is new info.

But the eating part is where you might want a little more advice.  Again, there are some really obvious ones, like ditch the processed foods, reduce sugar intake, avoid over-imbibing on alcoholic beverages, and the other trendy one now - try gluten-free. 

So what are you left with? Well, piles of great stuff that not only makes you feel good - they make you look good too:  fruits, vegetables, whole foods of all kinds.  There are many that boost your body’s skin-beautifying, specifically collagen production, the stuff that keeps your skin, firm, tight, taut and toned, sorta like it's workin' the CrossFit.  Here are 7 foods you might want to add in to your healthy eating that just might do a little something for your looks too.

1. Water-rich vegetables like cucumber and celery have a high sulfur content which is important because collagen can’t be produced if sulfur isn’t present. Plus they are naturally hydrating.  Fresh, plump and resilient is what we're going for, not dried up, flaky raisin.

2. Seafood (fish, mostly, not shellfish as much) is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which helps create stronger skin. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty membrane that protects them. When the cells are healthy, they are able to support the structure of the skin.  Going for that smooth, wrinkle-free look. We love our Pacific Northwest Salmon around here and it always tops the omega-3 list. (Bonus points for eating sustainable fish and/or wild-caught instead of farmed-raised.)

3. Red vegetables are a natural form of sun protection. Tomatoes, peppers and beets contain the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene acts as a natural sun block, protecting the skin from damage while increasing collagen levels at the same time. (Bonus points again for organic and/or local. And if both? Jackpot.)

4. Dark green vegetables which are rich in vitamin C (especially spinach and kale) have multiple skin benefits. Vitamin C is key to the production of collagen, maintaining firmness and elasticity, creating scar tissue and ligaments, and helping skin repair itself.  It also takes those dastardly free-radicals out at the knees - the ones that cause dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.  It's been found not not only neutralize free-radicals, but reverse DNA damage, including sun damage. (Again, go organic if possible, and local if that's an option.)

5. Berries scavenge those pesky free radicals too, acting as anti-oxidents and anti-agers.  They're chock full of Vitamin C also - helping you get back that radiant glow.  Blackberries and blueberries are the real go-getters, but all berries are your friends. (Organic, blah, blah, local, blah, blah.)

6. White tea.  Another anti-oxident super beauty food. You've heard all about the incredible benefits of green tea, for everything including skin.  Well white tea is even better, because it's the least processed tea leaf, keeping more of its catechins intact, the polyphenols that go to town on free-radicals. White tea protects the structural proteins of the skin, specifically collagen. It prevents enzyme activity that breaks down collagen, contributing to lines and wrinkles, keeping you more juicy, plump, and fresh. One other benefit I might add, white tea contains ECGC, an antioxidant that prevents new fat cells from forming - not like anybody cares about that, right
(Organic? yes, please.)

7. Orange vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin, are rich in vitamin A, in addition to other nutrients, which restores and regenerates damaged collagen, plus increases overall skin tone, health and appearance from sun damage. (Just because I can't say organic enough in one post.  Organic is the bomb.)

No need to starve for beauty.  Just keep it clean and the world will be a prettier place.