Eat your way to a more beautiful you!
Mom was right when she said that beauty comes within. Although she was probably referring to a kind heart or a beautiful soul, that isn’t all there is to the story – beauty also begins with the food choices that we make. Eating too much of the wrong things may result in destruction of our natural beauty, and eating more of the good things may actually help increase it. But which foods are right and which ones are wrong? There is no simple answer to that question since every human body operates a bit differently. However, there are food choices that we all can make that just might get us started in the right direction.
Everyone knows that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for our health. Few, however, recognize that they are also beauty products in disguise. Most fruits and vegetables are chock full of antioxidants that are important for good skin, helping to stave off those pesky free radicals that we encounter in our everyday lives. Left unchecked, free radicals can do permanent damage to the skin, and this can lead to discoloration, dryness, flakiness and those dreaded wrinkles. While all fruits and vegetables have value, those in the red and orange family, like tomatoes and cantaloupe, are among the best food sources to tap.
Those often-unpopular leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and artichokes are important as well. They contain vitamins and nutrients that can help the human body in many different ways, and they also have an effect on our natural beauty. Vitamin A, also known as beta carotene, works to both rejuvenate and protect the complexion, and it promotes efficient skin cell regeneration – important in order to maintain the skin’s suppleness. It also works to block the sun’s UV rays we are exposed to when outside too long. Additional sources of vitamin A can be found in carrots and butternut squash. Many of these vegetables also include iron, a critical mineral that can be lost as individuals age.
Although typically related to fruits, some vegetables also hold vitamin C. It is virtually impossible to get too much vitamin C, because the human body doesn’t create it internally. A depleted supply of the vitamin can leave us open to all kinds of troubling viruses. Vitamin C is also important for the skin, assisting the body in keeping collagen supplies as strong as possible. Collagen is essential to the skin because it provides the support needed to keep it supple and smooth. Citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and even grapefruits are great sources for maintaining a healthy collagen supply.
Other fruits, berries in particular, contain anti-aging properties as well. Some researchers are working to prove that they also work to protect against skin cancer. The natural anti-oxidants contained in berries can also play a key role in jump-starting the body’s internal collagen production; more than that, they work to maintain the skin’s natural elasticity. Good food choices in this category include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Vitamin E is found in some leafy green vegetables as well as avocados. It is also found in many citrus fruits as well as certain types of nuts. Vitamin E works to protect cell membranes from the free radicals; without it, the destruction of healthy cell membranes can lead to a number of serious health conditions, including skin cancer. Good food sources for vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds and fish-liver oil.
Over the last decade people have become cognizant of the importance of soy in maintaining health. However, some may not know that soy also helps skin retain its healthy, youthful glow. Soy contains phytoestrogens as well as vitamin E; the former works to delay the aging process while the latter works to boost new skin cell growth. In tandem, the two can keep those dreaded lines and wrinkles at bay. Good sources of soy include tofu, linseed oil, and soy drinks.
Diets that are rich in fish, rather than red meat, are automatically more healthy. However, certain types of fish can also add to an individual’s beauty quotient. These include salmon, tuna, and shellfish, all of which are rich in omega-3. That important nutrient has, in recent years, been touted as one of the best ways to retain healthy skin. It provides strong anti-inflammatory control to keep acne, zits, and other skin breakouts away.
Not only are whole grains healthier for the body, they also preserve beauty. Whole grains, which are rich in fiber, help to remove toxins from the body, functioning as a filtering system for proper elimination. Removing waste gives skin a cleaner, clearer condition for a much longer time span. An easy way to include whole grains into the diet is through whole grain cereals or breads.
The more we learn about tea, the more we realize it’s not just a way of reducing caloric intake. It actually helps maintain a healthy body by producing epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which is useful in a number of ways, including working as a natural anti-inflammatory. It helps to fight damage to the skin caused by too much sun, and some researchers also believe that EGCG may prove to be an important ingredient in fighting cancer. The most efficient of all teas is green tea. It not only has the most impact, health-wise, on the body; it also contains an amino acid that works against tension and stress.
Perhaps, instead of spending thousands of dollars on skin creams and fancy cosmetics, many of us would be better served by paying attention to what we eat. One thing is certain, if our beauty improves without the use of external sources, it is bound to be even more striking with them!