This is an article that I wrote for my friend, Angela's blog, "Be in Gratitude." Angela has a wonderful line of natural skin care products and so I decided to write a post about eating to support healthy skin. Here's the article:
Like most women, I've gotten a lot of advice, over the years, about skin care. This advice came from my mom, my dermatologist, my girlfriends, the salesperson at the health food store, even infomercials (I'm not too proud to admit it!) and almost all of it focused on what to put onto my skin. Rarely did anyone address the fact that what we put into our bodies affects our skin as much as what we put on it.
I recently attended a lecture by dermatologist, Dr. Howard Murad, one of the world's leading skin - and health - care authorities. He is associate clinical professor of medicine at U.C.L.A., a physician who specializes in both inclusive health and dermatology, and the founder of Murad Skincare Inc. He spoke, primarily, about the concept of "cellular water," a comprehensives approach to understanding health and aging.
As Dr. Murad explains it, the science of cellular water looks at "the ability of cell membranes to hold water within a cell as the fundamental marker of youthful good health." Because skin can only be beautiful if it's healthy at the cellular level, Dr. Murad strongly recommends a diet that optimizes cell health. "We must create a nutrient rich environment within the body so that all of the building blocks that the body needs to create strong cells are readily available." (Murad)
So which foods nourish the cells and create this kind of nutrient rich environment, which contributes to healthy skin? Four vitamins, in particular, will really help you get your glow on:
1. Vitamin A is extremely important for the skin because it helps to rebuild tissues. Think dark, leafy greens (especially kale and romaine lettuce), carrots, squash, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes.
2. Vitamin E helps to fight free radicals in the body, which helps address and prevent age spots, wrinkles and stretch marks. Foods rich in Vitamin E are olives (and olive oil), nuts and seeds, wheat germ and dark leafy greens.
3. Vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen, which helps to maintain firmness and elasticity. To ensure that you're getting enough Vitamin C, eat lots of citrus fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato and cucumber.
4. B Vitamins boost circulation and give the skin a healthy glow. Making sure that your skin is receives enough oxygen also helps with breakouts and acne. Be sure to consume adequate amounts of eggs, nuts/seeds, raisins, broccoli, tomatoes and carrots
Of course, staying well-hydrated and using gentle, natural products - like Alegna Soap Products - contribute to healthy skin, as well. Always remember that healthy skin comes from feeding our skin well, both on the outside AND on the inside.
This Kale and Sunflower Seed Salad is vitamin rich and very refreshing. At the change of seasons, when skin can become stressed, eating salads like this will give your complexion the boost that it needs.
Enjoy! I'd love for you to share your favorite tips for getting your glow on in the comments below.
Kale and Sunflower Seed Salad
8 ounces kale leaves, torn into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
2 heaping Tbsp. sunflower seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, combine the kale, avocado, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Massage together until the avocado is creamy and the kale leaves are slightly wilted. Let the salad sit for about 30 minutes; this allows the dressing to tenderize the kale even more. when ready to eat, add sunflower seeds and toss, then add salt and pepper, to taste.
Serves 2, as a main course or 4, as a side salad.