“Let food be your medicine, and medicine food” – Hippocrates
I’ll tell you a secret. I sometimes spend hours searching out exclusive interviews with top models and actresses in which they supposedly spill their beauty secrets and favourite products. I used to be constantly annoyed by their repetitive answers about how they just eat well and drink water all the time, and oh lets not forget, sleep 8 hours every night! I was sure they were guarding some massive, skin altering, beautifying ingredient that they had swore to guard with their lives at a dark and candlelit location at the start of their modelling careers. It took me years to realize, that they were actually just giving us the absolute best possible beauty secret there is, and I only realized after I tried it my self, after changing my diet, adding specific things, taking some stuff out etc.
I could literally see my self grow younger in the mirror everyday after a couple of the initial weeks had passed. I guess its true then, what our mothers always told us, that true beauty comes from within.
What kicked it all off for me was a book written by a dermatologist and internal medicine specialist, Dr. David Colbert, a book with an utterly ridiculous name – The high school reunion diet- (please don’t stop reading) I swear to you, apart from the incredibly stupid name its really smart, and makes a lot of sense. I just wish a man with an MD and two specializations could have thought up something a little bit less dim of a title for his book. It hasn’t stopped it from selling like hotcakes in the US though. I’ll come back to this book later on as I am planning a to do a review on it separately.
If you want to read it while I get my review ready, you can get it off Amazon for £7.44 here: The High School Reunion Diet: Younger, Thinner, and Smarter in 30 Days
I’ve always had a soft spot for diet in relation to health and medicine, and when I realized the effect it could have on my skin as a beautifying remedy I was very very exited. I’ve been exited since, but have also had moments of cake excitement, and so results have not been as consistent as they could have been.
As I have touched upon before, in my post on almond oil, antioxidants have been proven to aid our skin tremendously against the stresses of the outside world, as well as the stresses happening on the inside. Antioxidants and nutrients seem to have the same end effect on our skin, weather we eat them or apply them to our face directly.
I’ll have a go through of the most talked about antioxidants and food ingredients that do our skin a world of good:
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E refers to a family of eight nutrients of which α-tocopherol is the most abundant and biologically active form in the human body. This essential nutrient is well known for its role as a chain-breaking antioxidant, protecting cell membranes against oxidative-stress (free radical damage). Vitamin E concentrations in skin can be increased with oral or topical delivery, and are decreased with UV exposure. Clinical trials suggest that dietary as well as topical vitamin E may act as a photoprotectant with the aid of other antioxidants. Food sources include vegetables (spinach, avocadoes, asparagus, beetroot, mango), vegetable oils, like olive oil and coconut oil, cereals and nuts. Almonds are a particularly good source of α-tocopherol, containing approximately 26 mg per 100 g.
- Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a family of over 5000 compounds found in plants. Individual flavonoids compounds have been reported to be radical scavengers (antioxidants), UVA absorbent, cytoprotective, anti-inflammatory anti-apoptotic (protective against cell death), and to inhibit DNA damage and to affect cellular signalling pathways. A case-control study in an Italian population found a negative correlation between cutaneous melanoma (pigmented skin cancer) and daily tea drinking, high consumption of vegetables, particularly carrots, cruciferous and leafy vegetables, and fruits, especially citrus. The cocoa flavenoids Epicatechin and Catechin, was shown in another study to increase skin density, decrease roughness as well as increase skin hydration levels. Flavenoids in green tea have been attributed to increased levels of skin elasticity.
- Carotenoids are a family of compounds of over 600 fat-soluble plant pigments. Fruits and vegetables are major sources of carotenoids. In a cross-sectional study investigating the association between skin wrinkling and dietary intake, a significant negative association was found with eggs and green leafy vegetables. Eggs are a highly bioavailable source of lutein, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of both β-carotene and lutein. This relationship between carotenoids intake and skin wrinkling may be due to an ability to prevent extracellular matrix breakdown. Eating lots of green leafy vegetables have also been associated to decreased risk of skin cancer development, particularly melanoma. β-Carotene is in the carotene class of carotenoids. It is a strongly-colored red-orange pigment. As a carotene with beta-rings at both ends, it is the most common form of carotene. It is a precursor of vitamin A. Rich sources of β-carotene include yellow and orange fruits, such as mangoes and papayas, orange root vegetables such as carrots and yams and in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, sweet potato leaves, and sweet gourd leaves. Lycopene, and luetein are other carotenoids which been shown to have massive antioxidant properties, as well as skin softening ability when applied topically to rough skin. Lycopene is mostly found in tomatoes, and lutein is found in egg yolks, and green vegetables and leaves such as kale, broccoli and spinach.
One of my own personal favorite beauty foods is the spice; Tumeric , which contains Curcumin, and is known to act protectively against cancers, as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent. Curcumin is currently a hot topic in the beauty industry due its anti-wrinkle- effect as well, and several cosmetic companies are developing products, which contain this mega antiager. I sprinkle the spice on most of my meals, but I’m also buying capsules to from
Curcumin 95 (Tumeric) by Jarrow Formulas (500mg, 60 medium capsules) to ensure maximum antioxidant load. When adding tumeric to your food, add a pinch of black pepper as well, as this has been shown to aid tumeric absorption, according to MensHealth.
Another antioxidant I’ve been taking capsules of for a while is Reservatrol, this is the agent my friends, which makes red wine so healthy. This is another major antiager, and skin protector. Caudalie was the first company (to my knowledge) that started using it as a main ingredient in their products. Appropriately they are French,and based in the wine region of Bordoux. I’m currently enjoying my Caudalie Vinexpert Firming Serum £44 from lookfantastic., which ofcourse contains Reservatrol.
Reservatrol capsules can be bought from ProHealth at $30.49 ProHealth
Natural Resveratrol (200mg, 60 Vcaps)
Another food/drink I have everyday is green tea, green tea has been shown to remove damage to skin cells by UVB/UVA rays, through DNA repairing mechanisms, as well as reduce UV induced inflammation.
Vitamin C is another regular addition of mine. I take 1000 mg a day, as vitamin C both topically and internally is necessary for proper collagen formation in the skin, as well as aiding in evening out skin tone.
I always try to add as many spices and vegetables to my dishes without compromising the taste of dish. I truly believe that what goes into our bodies have an effect that goes far beyond disease prevention, and can result in both therapy for disease and also beneficial skin alterations, including– skin rejuvenation.
I’ve touched upon this vast topic with this post on the most important skin antioxidants, but remember the key is just to add all that you see that has color, always get your deep greens, and continue to mix it up with spices, and combinations of vegetables.
I’ll continue this little (or long) series on food and skin with another post on what to avoid in order to look your best now, and always. I’ll keep you posted!
Let me know if you have a favorite beauty food! I’d love to hear about it!
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