The Juicy Secret to Flawless Skin
“You are what you eat.” “Abs start in the kitchen.” “Drink water for flawless skin.”
We’ve all either heard, read, or even told someone these phrases during our lifetime.
For some with genetically flawless skin and bodies, they are mere sayings, because up to this point, they haven’t had to worry about those things. For others, those words are the bane of their existence. I fall into the latter category. I’ve always struggled with my appearance, my skin especially. Ever since I was about 13, my face and body just had a mind of their own. And hearing people say that one thing could fix all these problems drove me crazy, because I’d try that thing – and nothing would happen. Then one summer, the answer fell into my lap.
My mother, whose skin is as flawless as a baby’s bum, became a vegan when I was a child due to certain health issues she was having. I never had the desire to join her, until I spent one summer shadowing her during work. Inevitably, I ate what she ate – which was mostly fruits and vegetables – and by the end of that summer, I saw a huge change. My skin was clearing – I couldn’t be more thrilled. All at once, those phrases that once confused me, made so much sense. The secret to clearing my skin didn’t have to be topical and didn’t have to come from the beauty section.
Granted, everyone’s skin is different, and everyone’s body responds differently to different things. Many people have actual skin diseases or conditions that diet won’t affect and require the help of a professional. But for the everyday person, consuming certain foods on a regular basis could be the key! The key, not only to acne-free skin, but also wrinkle-free, blemish-free, glowing skin. If you’re wondering where to start, look no further. Here’s a list of just a few of the best – and tastiest, might I add - fruits and veggies to help us put our best face forward.
Avocados are one of my mother’s favorite vegetables, because they are what she calls a ‘whole food.’ Just one avocado contains so many of the elements that we need for daily skin health, to include Vitamin E (protects skin from damage due to exposure to the sun’s free radicals) , Vitamin C (which also protects skin from the sun), fatty acids (protects from the sun’s damaging and aging effects, and contain anti-inflammatory properties), and potassium (electrolyte that helps skin to maintain elasticity by absorbing fluids you intake and using them to hydrate your cells), to name a few. A SUPERfood indeed!
Growing up, bananas were almost synonymous to potassium. Every time I saw a banana, or ate a banana, someone would say something about them being full of potassium. Potassium, as we know is very important for great skin. However, bananas also contain other skin healthy nutrients, like Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. Some people use bananas topically, invoking the binding powers that its pectin contains (before ripened).
A well-known fact about blueberries is how loaded they are with vitamins and antioxidants. According to Medical News Today, just one cup of blueberries provides the a quarter of the amount of vitamin C we need daily, which in turn is used to fortify our skin’s collagen. Collagen plays an integral role in keeping our skin healthy, strong and wrinkle free. We need lots of Vitamin C to keep our body’s collagen production at a healthy rate.
One might assume that watermelon is great for skin simply because it contains lots of water. And while that may be partially true, there’s so much more to this delicious fruit than meets the eye. Watermelon is known to have one of the highest levels of a nutrient called lycopene, than any other fruit . According to studies, lycopene protects the skin from sunburn. Watermelon is also high in vitamin A, which according to the JAMA journals, has been proven to increase production of important “structural components” of the skin and “improve fine wrinkles associated with aging.” Amazing.
Carrots are another vegetable great for protection against the sun’s rays. As you can gather by now, the earth’s favorite star, although beneficial in so many ways, can do so much damage to our skin. β-carotene is an active ingredient in carrots that contributes to the body’s Vitamin A intake. Carotenoids as well as Vitamin A give our skin great sun protection, to keep us looking younger, longer.
One of my personal favorite vegetables is spinach, because it tastes great in smoothies, and keeps me regular. Spinach also is a great source of selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from harmful cancer causing agents, very much like Vitamins A and E.