In my last blog I mentioned my 3 top tips for beautiful skin: eliminate dairy and sugar, indulge in good fats and eat more raw foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Since change can be difficult I wanted to come back and use the next few blogs to dig deeper and offer more insight, one change at a time.
The topic du jour is eating more raw plants to achieve healthy, glowing skin. I love this one because we can talk about all the foods we can eat, instead of the ones we should try and give up. It goes hand in hand with a theory known as “crowding out” which basically says let’s chow down on the bounty of amazing foods available and hopefully by the end of the day there won’t be room for the junk.
I emphasize raw plants because they come in nifty little packages dense with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber, much of which gets destroyed when heated. You’re skin loves this. When we put vitamins such as A, C and E on the skin we hope they penetrate enough layers to make lasting changes in our appearance. When we eat these nutrients they become our tissues and make changes from the inside out. Considering that our skin isn’t static and is constantly growing, changing and healing there are more than enough reasons to fuel up on plants.
My favorite skin loving vegetables are the red and orange ones because their color indicates they are high in vitamin A, a known skin smoothing vitamin. I have been known to carry whole carrots in my purse for a great anytime snack and can feel my skin soaking up the goodness found in these colored bell peppers. Peppers are also very high in vitamin C, necessary for collagen production. Snack on raw sunflower seeds for a skin healing dose of vitamin E. Dark leafy greens keep the skin clear of blemishes because chlorophyll is so detoxifying. Cucumbers and celery are great to chop up and eat raw and because their water content is so high they keep the skin moist and the body clean. Avocados and pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which in deficiency causes pimples. So are pomegranates, so seriously, go eat one! Remember, all fruits and vegetables are high in anti-oxidants which are absolutely necessary in the fight against aging. Pick your favorites and have at it!
Raw foods are vital to beauty because of what they contain but also for what they do not: AGEs or Advanced Glycation End Products. This is the name for the chemical reaction that happens when proteins are cooked at very high temperatures. Because there is protein in everything, not just meat, nothing is safe from super high temps. Just as the name suggests AGEs are implicated in most of the diseases of aging and are definitely involved in the aging of the skin. These funky, high heated proteins bind to collagen and destroy it. AGES are found in anything roasted, fried, browned or blackened and are particularly damaging to the skin. Put down the fries, pick up the greens and eat your way beautiful!
The best way I have found to really up my intake of raw plants is with green smoothies and juices. If you haven’t yet joined this bandwagon I highly recommend you hop on! Try this super friendly green smoothie recipe ASAP!
As a snack:
1 cup filtered water
2 cups spinach
4 stalks celery
2 cups frozen mango
As a meal add:
1 tsp raw coconut oil
1 tbs raw nut butter or protein powder
Drink in good health and to glowing skin!
-Jessie Rose Maher
Board Certified Health Coach, AADP