One day, it just happened. Sometime during the dark of night, crows crept in while you were sleeping and left their feet at the corner of your eyes and you woke in a panic, diving into the world of toxic chemical retinol creams, laser treatments and praying to the gods of good lighting. And while thinning skin is inevitable for us all, what we eat can drastically improve the health and tone of our skin, reducing wrinkles and giving us a youthful glow.
The micronutrients in plant foods provide antioxidants that limit the extent of sun damage and help to speed up the healing process. In fact, according to the Journal of American College of Nutrition (2001:20:70-80), an international study of eating patterns and skin aging found that people who opted for wholesome foods over sugary processed foods were less prone to wrinkling! The study found that certain foods offered better skin protection including olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Green veggies: Yep, there's good reason your mom made you eat them and that restaurants serve them with most meals. Leafy greens are so good for you. They help reverse and prevent disease with their powerful antioxidants that block inflammation and detox the body of free radicals. They keep the blood clean and healthy and provide minerals and vitamins that give skin elasticity and suppleness. Eat greens every day—whether a salad, steamed kale, chard, collards or even grasses like wheatgrass and barley grass (which are even more powerful).
Proteins: We need protein and amino acids every day to build healthy muscle, collagen and healthy cellular function. Protein balances blood sugar which can reduce inflammation and keeps your brain functioning well (smart people glow!). On average, adults need to eat around 56 grams of protein per day. That can come from organic meat, wild caught fish, eggs or dairy like organic whey protein or plant proteins like hemp seeds (the number one plant protein food!), legumes and beans.
Olive oil (and olives!): Healthy fats are super critical to our health in so many ways—and glowing, supple skin is just one of them. Olive oil especially, contains high levels of anti-inflammatory antioxidants that can provide younger looking and feeling skin. Cooking can corrupt the delicate fats in olive oil, so you don't want to heat it to high temperature. It's best used to finish foods with (drizzled onto foods after cooking) or made into a homemade salad dressing. You can use olive oil topically in facials too and for healthy, shiny hair.
When choosing olives, look for those that do not contain excess chemical salt (find sea salt cured instead), and avoid those that contain artificial colors.
Berries: The berry may be nature's most perfect food. There are berries for every season and they're all bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and, of course, flavor! The antioxidants can prevent skin damage while also boosting collagen growth. Whether fresh, frozen or juiced, you can eat berries year round. Add them to a smoothie recipe with Organic Whey—another great skin food—for a healthy and tasty way to start your morning.
Green Tea: Revered for thousands of years throughout Asia, green tea is known to have seriously impressive anti-cancer benefits. It's also a terrific skin food both taken internally and applied topically. The antioxidants help prevent skin damage from free radicals, and studies have found that the polyphenols in green tea can actually reactivate dying skin cells! Wow.
Beans: All beans are good for you, but black beans especially contain a lot of vitamin E and antioxidants in their skin. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant that protects skin and collagen, keeping it healthy by reversing the signs of aging.
Lentils: These tasty legumes are loaded with fiber, helping your body eliminate toxins that can otherwise exit through and aggravate your skin. Low-glycemic and protein-rich, the lentil slows absorption of sugars, too, which as I've mentioned here a few times means less inflammation. Antioxidants like the super skin nutrient vitamin C are also abundant in lentils. They're versatile and cook quickly.
And, of course, while not a food, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, absorb nutrients and flush out the toxins. And make sure to exercise daily so that your body can eliminate toxins and move the lymphatic fluids.
This post is sponsored by: The Organic Whey