EAT YOURSELF BEAUTIFUL: Protect, Plump and Burn
I believe core health stems from how we nourish it. Every meal can make a difference in your mood, immunity and overall well-being. I have discussed how what you eat can affect your mood in a previous post. Today, I how to encourage you to eat well for sake of your physical well-being. It does help that these same nutrients also highlight our aesthetic virtues! So, arm your image naturally and incorporate these key beauty foods daily!
I have broken up these beauty foods into two posts. This first post I will address the key Sun Protecting, Collagen Promoting and Fat Burning nutrients and their food sources.
In the next post, I will address the nutrients which best Detoxify, Promote Muscle and Vascular Health.
All the foods discussed will help balance, restore and vitalize the body. With these foods, we can function optimally and reveal our most beautiful selves!
Sun Protecting Nutrients
With summer imminent, we need all the help we can get to increase our defenses from harmful UV radiation.
- Lycopene: A carotenoid that serves to protect the skin from the long-term effects of radiation. Carotenoids are critical to the photosynthetic process and protect a plant or organism from damage by light and oxygen.
Best Sources: Cooked tomatoes (offer higher lycopene concentrations than raw option) and Watermelon. Studies show that cooking in olive oil greatly increases absorption and therefore benefits of carotenoids like lycopene (Asia Pacific J Clin Nurt 2005, Journal of British Dermatology).
- Astaxanthin: Another super-carotenoid that attributes to the coloring of many marine and aquatic animals. Works as a internal sunscreen, protecting the skin from UV damage with added anti-aging benefits. Studies have shown 4-6 weeks of supplementation can help reverse signs of UV aging such as wrinkles and sun spots. (Experimental Derm 2009).
Best Sources: Wild Salmon best, trout, shrimp and lobster also good sources.
- Beta Carotene: Helps repair skin damaged from sun exposure.
Best Sources: You need about 30 mg daily, equivalent to 6 carrots or a sweet potato. Other sources include kale, spinach, mangos and apricots.
- Antioxidants: Protect and reverse free radical damage caused by sun exposure. For some ideas on how topical antioxidants can help further protect the skin from sun effects, please refer to my previous ¨Skin Youth and Antioxidants” post here.
Best Sources: Dark color fruits and veggies. Pomegranate and blueberries have especially high levels of antioxidants and reduce ability of UVB induced cancer cell formation.
- Triterpenoids: 2007 study at Cornell University found this group of important chemical compounds which act as natural anti-inflammatory agent and prevent formation of skin cancer cells.
Best Sources: Organic Red Apple, grape tomato and olive skins.
- EGCG: A natural phytochemical that fights free radicals and decreased sun induced inflammation. An ideal anti-aging agent.
Best Sources: Green Tea. A 2011 report in Journal of nutrition saw improvements in elasticity roughness, scaling and moisture content in those who consumed green tea regularly over 12 weeks. Other studies have shown that green tea can also help prevent non-melanoma skin cancer by limiting blood supply to abnormally behaving cells.
- Quercetin– Another helpful chemical which helps protect skin form oxidizing sun effects.
Best Source: Black Tea
- Selenium: Essential mineral which acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and is needed for skin repair. Selenuim is needed to make a potent antioxidant glutathione peroxidase which fights development of cancer and skin aging. Also helps decrease incidence of sunburn and promote even skin tone.
Best Source: Crimini Mushrooms and Fish (especially Red Snapper).
- Omega 3: A 2013 study from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that regular supplementation of omega 3s, protected skin from UV induced immunosuppression. This ability is what assures skin maintains its defenses to cancer and illness. For more on Omega 3s see my post “10 anti-aging things you can do every day”.
Best Source: Cold water fish, flax seed and walnuts.
- Melatonin: Melatonin acts as an antioxidant in the skin and protects DNA from UV induced damage. Melatnonin is best know for its ability to regulate the sleep cycle. For more information on this check out my post on “Beauty Sleep” here.
Best Source: Montmorency Cherries. These tart cherries have surprisingly high levels of melatonin, making them an ideal for both pre bed-time snack and a part of your summertime skin diet.
Collagen Promoting Nutrients
Collagen, elastin and soft keratin attribute to the connective tissue base of skin. This base provides strength and structure to our skin. As normal aging occurs collagen production and restructuring processes slow down. Because of this, our skin becomes increasingly thin, less elastic and weaker. The result is increased incidence of wrinkles, sagging and greater propensity to accumulate broken blood vessels and sun spots. There are treatments to help awaken sleepy skin, but, without appropriate and adequate nutrition, collagen cannot be made! Protecting skin from sun-damage will also help slow collagen degeneration so incorporating sun-protecting habits will assure strong, healthy and plump skin.
- Turmeric: This anti-aging nutrient serves as a potent antioxidant which resists collagen degradation by producing protective hyaluronic acid.
Best Source: Red Kidney Beans. Two tablespoons of beans a day help maintain healthy hyaluronic acid levels!
- White tea: A study published in 2009 reports that White tea, above all others, has the most protective properties on collagen and elastin. (Journal BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine). Its extremely high concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants should be enough to convince you to make White Tea your go-to collagen preserving beauty drink!!
- Sulfur, Taurine and Lipoid acid “Collagen Trio”: Supports healthy production and repair of collagen.
Source of Collagen Trio: Garlic!!
- Vitamin C– This Vitamin is critical for the skins defense against free radicals and is necessary collagen production and repair! Many current studies are reiniterating the importance of this basic vitamin in the prevention of premature skin aging and in healthy restoration of damaged skin. For information on topical products incorporating Vitamin C for skin protection, see my previous post here.
Best Sources: Hot peppers, guavas, sweet peppers, black currants, lychees and rose hip plant.
- Genistein: An element essential in promoting collagen production while also protecting existing collagen by inhibiting certain enzymes responsible for its degredation.
Best Sources: Organic Soy Products.
- Manuka Honey: A honey variety from new Zealand, promoting cellular renewal, anti-inflammatory effects and formation of stronger, more resistant collagen.
- Plant Steroids: Encourages collagen production.
Best Source: Avocado oil.
Fat Busting Nutrients
Who doesn’t need a little boost in fat metabolism? Keep these foods readily available, especially during pool time festivities!
- Capaicin: Boost fat metabolism by increasing the body’s internal temperature and caloric needs. Studies show consistent appetite suppression and weight loss with regular consumption!
Best Sources: Cayenne and jalapeño peppers.
- Sulfur and B complex Vitamin rich foods: Support function of metabolism stimulating adrenal gland.
Best Sources: Garlic, apples strawberries blueberries and lemons.
- Thermogengic foods– These foods require more calories during digestion than they provide when consumed.
Best Sources: Broccoli, spinach and tomatoes.
- Leptin reducing foods: Studies done in mice and other animals show that lower leptin levels are associated with faster metabolisms and more efficiently burn fat. (University of Wisconsin) We believe that leptin has similar effect in humans.
Best Sources: Fish
- High Fiber Fruits: Help your body burn fat by helping mobilize contents through the digestive tract faster. This favors the absorption of vital nutrients essential for optimal metabolism and fat oxidation! For more on the benefits of a high fiber diet check out my post on ¨10 Anti-Aging Things You Can Do Every Day¨
Best Sources: Strawberries, blueberries
- Citrus Foods: The chemical properties of these fruits help decrease insulin levels and promote faster metabolism and weight loss.
Best Sources: Lemons, kiwis and grapefruit.
- High Protein, Calcium Products: Organic sources usually supply high quality amino acids and proteins which help suppress appetite. Rich supplies of calcium assure healthy blood levels and avoid triggered release of calcitrol. Keeping calcitrol low is smart since it encourages storage of fat. Calcitrol also lowers production of the stress related hormone cortisol. Cortisol encourages accumulation of dangerous visceral fat. For more on dangers of cortisol and visceral fat see my previous post “ Your Waistline and Health”.
Best Sources: Fat free organic dairy, Tofu, Leafy Greens and Legumes.
Fat metabolism super nutrients? Although I´m not prepared to talk about these supplements in this post, there is some interesting evidence supporting their fat metabolizing abilities! Goji Berries, African Mango and Green Coffee Bean extract are gaining tremendous momentum in the weight loss and fat burning arena. I may decide to revisit in future post but until then, feel free to investigate on your on your own and inquire at your nutritionists office about their potential benefits.
So, I hope from this post you have learned what foods encourage you natural beauty by:
- Improving your skins ability to protect and repair itself from sun,
- Preserving youthful skin structure and collagen production and …
- Revving-up your fat metabolism!
Check back next week for my next post where you I fill you in on the key beauty nutrients responsible for helping our body detoxify, promoting lean muscle and improving circulatory health!
Cheers to promoting beauty with food and a colorful, spicy and refreshing summer diet!