If you happened to read my last blog post on Superfoods, you will know that I have started taking steps to improve my inner health and thus, outer beauty. I have been feeling very sluggish up until recently and I realise that I need to work on my health and food intake. My skin has improved a lot since I have switched up my eating habits. Drinking lots of water has helped too. I actually find it hard to drink lots of water but I have started infusing my water with various fruits in order to give it a bit of taste so its not so bland. I have also started using an app called Waterminder that reminds me exactly when I need to drink a glass of water throughout the day, so that helps! You can download it for free so if its not working for you then its no worries. To be honest I don’t always stick to it but it is good to have some sort of reminder. Anyway, the aim is to drink 8 glasses a day. What I’m doing is leaving a jug of infused water with cucumber, lemon or berries and a glass beside it on the kitchen table and every time I pass there to go into another room, I try and have a small glass. Actually it really works so far!
Another thing I do is to make a large bowl of hot water (not boiling) but warm to hot water and infuse it with 8 green tea bags, let it rest and then remove the tea bags after 5 minutes or so, then add a few glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice to it, and leave it to cool. I try to leave it in the fridge overnight if possible and that way it tastes a bit like iced tea. Im not mad about iced tea but considering this has the effect of so much green tea into your body, it is totally worth it. You can add more juice or different flavours to it, once they are freshly squeezed and preferably organic fruits, in order to make it taste to your liking. Basically, I manage to drink about 4 glasses of that a day which equals around 4 cups of green tea! Im getting used to the taste of the tea now, whereas before, I wasn’t that keen on it. Anyway, I have purchased a flavoured green tea with grapefruit and pineapple and am now replacing my standard mug of milky tea with a cup of warm-hot green tea in the mornings. Green tea is a great detox and also it speeds up your metabolism so that is my way to incorporate a good amount daily.
Next up, I’m incorporating my 7 a day of organic fruit and veg. I remember it used to be 5 a day years ago and it was hard enough to stick by then! However, the recent recommendation is 7-10 a day. Im saying 7 as it is more realistic for me to aim for. I have a cereal (Quaker golden muesli with blueberries and goji berries) which tastes divine and I have a natural Greek yoghurt from a healthy brand. I top it with strawberries and fresh blueberries or raspberries if I have them. If not, I just eat it with a little drizzle of organic honey, which is great to have in your diet. See this post if you are interested in using honey as a health booster and effective skin enhancer. It has tonnes of medicinal uses that may surprise you. I love honey and it tastes yummy too so I’m happy to incorporate it whenever possible.
I eat a lot more fruit nowadays as part of my health kick and this ensures that I get enough vitamin C and boosts collagen production. The phytonutrients in fresh fruit and veg are filled with anti-oxidants which boost your skins health and also prevent premature ageing of the skin. I already incorporate plenty of vegetables in my diet and I tend to steam the vegetables that I’m having with my dinner nowadays instead of frying. Its healthier but I love fried veg too so when I’m frying, I always use a good splash of olive oil, since it is great for the skin. I use a lot of olive oil in my salads too. Eating olives regularly into the mix means I’m getting plenty of Omega 3 as it is rich in Omega 3. Flax seeds are a fantastic source for these fatty acids too, and a great addition to your cereal or salad, or even a smoothie. Salmon and other oily fish are another great natural source. Some other oils are hazelnut and hemp. Nuts contain them also. Supplements can be used wherever it is not possible to incorporate them in your diet. I have started using Krill Oil as it has a lot of great benefits. Read more about fish oil and the benefits here
Organic food is a bit more expensive in the supermarket but to be honest, it is worth every penny extra. The thought of the chemical ridden pesticides in your food is actually a little worrying. Just washing your fruit and veg is not enough to remove these pesticides as they are grown by spraying these throughout the process. GMOs and genetically modified crops are under severe scrutiny so I will err on the side of caution when choosing my food. Eating organic food is healthier in general as it contains fewer toxic pesticide residues, has more nutrients and contains minerals such as zinc which is an essential mineral for healthy and clear skin.
Wholegrain foods are something I am introducing as I have learned that they have a protective effect on the skin cells and contain vitamin E which is an anti-oxidant. Whole wheat, brown rice and oats are a good start. Im also keen to try wholegrain cereal and pasta. They are better for you than carbs and white rice, pasta, etc; aswell as being lower in fat and easier for the body to digest. Im going to try quinoa pasta too, as I hear it is lovely and full of protein. Here is a yummy recipe if you’re looking for quinoa recipes to try out! Sweet potato is a favourite of mine, which I am now swapping in favour of the usual potatoes and they’re really filling so a great substitute. Avocado is a staple in my house and I try to eat one a day. All of those are incorporated in the recipe so I am chuffed to make this as it tastes amazing and is chock full of healthy goodness. Yummmm.
Do check out my list of superfoods if you haven’t already and I am just going to mention a few more of my health food go-to’s for my skin benefit here.
Cashew nuts – contain a high level of protein and are full of minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, along with 23% for manganese, 20% for magnesium and 17% for phosphorus, add to that 12% of the daily recommended value for vitamin K. They help repair and heal the skin. I eat a handful or so a day.
Almonds – natural vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, biotin and copper, all very important for healthy skin. I try to eat a handful or 2 a day.
Brazil nuts – Great source of minerals including zinc and selenium which support the immune system and aid in wound healing. Eat 30g a day.
Tropical fruits – Eating guava, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and other tropical fruits that contain vitamin C will help defend your skin against damaging free radicals. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is naturally found in the skin, so eating tropical fruits and other vitamin C–rich foods can replenish your skin’s stores. Vitamin C also helps your body produce collagen, a protein that helps keep your skin firm and elastic. I am more likely to try out tropical fruits when I see them at the supermarket or health food store nowadays due to this. Love pineapple!!
Apples – contain vitamin A and C which help boost collagen production and heal the skin. Pectin is a compound found in apples which helps boost blood sugar and encourage elimination in order to clear skin.
Tomatoes – contain Lycopene which is wonderful for your skin. Also found to reduce the risk of cancer, boost immunity and protect the skin and eyes. Tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C too so I eat tomatoes nearly every day. I also use tomato directly on my skin, by cutting a piece and rubbing it in circular motions over my face. The results are immediate and completely close the pores so great to do before makeup as a primer!
Peppers/capsicum – David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York “Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes,” Dr. Wu says. Also, studies found that carotenoids — the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies — can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun, Dr. Bank says. Aim for about two cups of peppers daily. So if he says it, ill take his word for it!! I’m not mad about peppers but when we have a bbq I will roast them and I’m adding them into some dinner recipes as they taste yummy roasted or fried in olive oil. If you enjoy eating them raw, they can be added to salad for a nice crunch.
As a yummy and healthy dessert, I am eating lots of yoghurt such as Greek yoghurt as I’m obsessed with it and its really filling as well as hugely beneficial to my skin with probiotics. Here is a yummy low-fat dessert idea for you. You’re welcome!!
Ok, so those are my fave go-to foods. I am going to try out dandelion leaves in my salad as I hear they are full of nutrients to improve skin also. I have purchased some Aloe Vera juice which I have in the fridge so I am taking a couple of teaspoons of that in my infused waters too. In fact, I have so many ideas for infused waters, I will dedicate a blog post to that in the coming weeks! Stay tuned for that, as I’m still testing them out to decide on my faves. So many good ones to share with you! Stay tuned and follow me on my health, diet and skin journey.