I have often wondered about why we are here? And by here, I mean why humans have been given Earth as their place in this vast universe to live, breathe, survive and thrive! There is much debate about this and has been going on since the beginning of time. I’m certain we will find the answers one day, until then it’s everyone's theories and opinions that will continue to make headlines. Why do I bring this up? Well what I do believe is that humans were not put on Earth by accident. If you look at what is available on this planet, the resources, earth, fire, air, water, plants, sea life, etc, it is no surprise this planet was made for us.
Whilst researching into ancient civilisations, how they survived and thrived, there is one food that has been there since literally the beginning of time! Yes, i’m referring to Chlorella. Chlorella is a natural plant including more than 20 species, and each species is different in its production method. Well-known common species of Chlorella include C. vulgaris, C. ellipsoidea, C. saccharophila, C. pyrenoidosa, and C. regularis. These species are used for food .
Chlorella has existed since the birth of the Earth and has been reproducing itself for three billion years. However, since the plant is as tiny as 3 to 8 μm in size, it was not until the microscope was invented after the 19th century that Chlorella was first discovered. It was discovered by the Dutch microbiologist, Dr. Beijerinck, in 1890, and named Chlorella. During World War I, Chlorella was cultivated in large amounts in Germany to use as a protein source. In the 1920s, Japan succeeded in cultivating a pure culture of Chlorella, and after World War II, the United States, Germany, and Japan conducted cooperative studies. The medicinal effects of Chlorella were already confirmed after World War II, and the presence of a growth promoting factor that accelerates animal growth through the ingestion of Chlorella was revealed. NASA studied Chlorella as space food because it supplies nutrients even in small amounts .
So what makes Chlorella so good for us humans? This superfood is rich with phytonutrients, including amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, magnesium and the B-complex vitamins. Studies have shown that Chlorella benefits the entire body by supporting healthy hormonal function, promoting cardiovascular health, helping to negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and aiding in the detoxification of our bodies .
Chlorella’s rich green colour comes from a high concentration of chlorophyll. We are all told to eat more leafy green vegetables for good health, but sometimes it can be difficult to get the 5-7 servings of vegetables a day recommended by nutritionists and doctors of functional medicine. While juicing is another option, it’s simply too time-consuming for most people. And frankly, most green leafy vegetables pale in comparison to the health benefits that Chlorella can provide.
By consuming organic, low-temperature-extracted chlorella supplements, you can receive all of the chlorella benefits in a simple powder or tablet form .
As you’re about to see, Chlorella is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in the world.
A 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of Chlorella contains:
In addition, Chlorella contains a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.
When you look at its nutrient density score, it’s easy to see why chlorella is ranked one of the top 10 health foods in the world. In fact, it is way more nutrient dense per gram than other greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli !
Now that we know the main nutrient profile of Chlorella, let us see what it is beneficial for in detail:
So what makes Chlorella so so good? Chlorella is labeled as a superfood, because it can provide essential nutrients that you may not get from your diet alone, these include :
That is a very impressive and i’d wager you would struggle to find many foods that have that many nutrients in it! It’s no surprise that it has been used for many civilizations since the beginning of time.
Taking Chlorella is simple. It comes in powder form and in small tablets. When buying tablets, ensure they are not freeze dried. Ensure the Chlorella is ‘spray dried’. Spray drying cracks the cell wall allowing access to the nutrients. Without this process most the the nutrients would be inaccessible to us. Freeze drying destroys the beneficial enzymes.
Regarding dosing of Chlorella, 3 grams per day is a good maintenance dosage of Chlorella for a person to take. With this amount, you will not notice significant changes, however, your body will get many of the nutrients it must have to function properly such amino acids (protein), vital minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and enzymes .
However, a person taking 5-7 grams per day is quite common and at this level you will notice significant changes in digestion, energy and overall health. One teaspoon of powder is equal to 5,000 mg. If you are taking tablets or capsules you would have to divide the mg of that pill into 5,000 mg to find out your dose. For example if you had 500 mg tablets you would divide 5,000 by 500 and determine you would need ten tablets for 5,000 mg of chlorella .
Chlorella can be taken at any time of the day. It can be taken all at once but preferably it should be taken in small doses throughout the day. Morning is also a good time to take chlorella, but never just before or after drinking coffee or soft drinks since caffeine is extremely detrimental to the digestive process. Chlorella causes the bacteria in our stomachs, the Lactobacilli, to multiply at 4 times the rate of normal. This is why it is best to take with meals as chlorella helps provide very good digestion and more importantly, better assimilation of nutrients .
Chlorella provides a wide array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, as well as being the highest-known source of chlorophyll. While these are all beneficial, the greatest value of chlorella lies in a fascinating ingredient called Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). CGF is a nucleotide-peptide complex derived from a hot water extract of chlorella. It is made mostly of nucleic acid derivatives. Researchers have discovered that CGF is produced during the intense photosynthesis that enables chlorella to grow so fast. Each cell multiplies into four new cells about every 20 hours, and CGF promotes this rapid rate of reproduction. Experiments with microorganisms, animals and children have shown that CGF promotes faster than normal growth without adverse side effects, and in adults, it appears to enhance RNA/DNA functions responsible for production of proteins, enzymes and energy at the cellular level, stimulating tissue repair and protecting cells against some toxic substances .
Because of the fiber content in Chlorella's cell wall and other nutritional factors, when some people begin to take chlorella for the first time they may go through cleansing reactions, sometimes referred to as a "healing crisis". This cleansing reaction comes in the form of intestinal activity such as gas, cramping, constipation or diarrhea. This same type of cleansing reaction frequently occurs when people switch from a low-fiber, "junk-food" diet to a high fiber, natural food diet. For this reason, some individuals may wish to start out with less than the suggested amount and gradually increase up to the recommended dose in 1-2 weeks. Very sensitive individuals may want to start with as little as 1/16 of a teaspoon per day (300 mg).
If you have not been eating many fresh raw vegetables in your diet, it is probably a good idea to start out with one 1/16 of a teaspoon with each meal and increase by 1/16 of a teaspoon every 2-3 days .
As long as you are not showing an allergic reaction (such as hives) or throwing up, you can safely continue the chlorella. In a couple of weeks to months, the reaction should decrease. And as it decreases, you can increase the dose .
My personal experience of taking Chlorella is the following:
I hope this has been an informative blog on the benefits of Chlorella. As with most superfoods and supplements, please take advice from a Nutritionist or Functional Medicine Doctor on what the correct dose for you should be and if you should take the supplement in question to begin with. A number of things such as lifestyle, diet, water intake, medical conditions and current medication intake play a role in safe supplementation and the length of supplementation.
If you feel you could benefit from taking Chlorella or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
With the shift in weather this time of year for those of us in Europe and North America, common colds, flus and viruses seem to flare up and do the rounds. From using crowded public transport facilities to working in air conditioned offices where the air is ‘recycled’, yes in most cities this time of year it’s a germ fest! So what can be done to ensure that your immune system is at its peak to fight off these nasty bugs and ensure you can have a healthy couple of months going into Christmas and the New Year.
Lets first discuss what is the immune system? The immune system is a collection of structures and processes within the body. It is designed to protect against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies. When functioning properly, the immune system identifies a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, and distinguishes them from the body's own healthy tissue .
The immune system is made up of antibodies, white blood cells, and other chemicals and proteins that attack and destroy substances such as bacteria and viruses that they recognise as foreign and different. The immune system also includes :
Without an immune system, a human being would be just as exposed to the harmful influences of pathogens or other substances from the outside environment as to changes harmful to health happening inside of the body. As long as our body’s system of defense is running smoothly, we do not notice the immune system. And yet, different groups of cells work together and form alliances against just about any pathogen (germ). But illness can occur if the performance of the immune system is compromised, if the pathogen is especially aggressive, or sometimes also if the body is confronted with a pathogen it has not come into contact before (this is how most of us get a common cold or the flu) .
So now that we know what the immune system is and how it works, what can we do to keep it healthy and running in peak condition? Here’s a few quick wins that we should all be doing :
What is almost always overlooked is the importance of exercise and the role it plays in keeping the immune system healthy. There have been many studies done that both say exercise is both good for your immune system and could also be harmful for you if you’re over exercising. Some theories of getting regular exercise to help the immune system are the following :
Exercise is good for you, but, you should not overdo it. People who already exercise should not exercise more just to increase their immunity. Heavy, long-term exercise (such as marathon running and intense gym training) could actually cause harm. Exercise makes you feel healthier and more energetic. It can help you feel better about yourself. So go ahead, take that aerobics class or go for that walk. You will feel better and healthier for it.
Let's also look at foods that can help boost your immune system and keep it in top shape:
Garlic (my favourite) - contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. One ounce of garlic contains 23% of your Manganese RDA, 17% of your Vitamin B6 RDA, 15% of your Vitamin C RDA, 6% of your Selenium RDA and also decent amounts of fibre, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1 .
Green Tea - People who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink, in a Harvard study. The amino acid that's responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea, decaf versions have it too. Optimal dose is several cups daily. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew .
Sweet Potatoes - To stay strong and healthy, your skin needs vitamin A. "Vitamin A plays a major role in the production of connective tissue, a key component of skin," explains David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre in Derby, Connecticut. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), which your body turns into vitamin A .
Green Leafy Vegetables - Vegetables come loaded with fibre and nutrients and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and cabbages are loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants that boost immune system functioning .
Berries - Blueberries are famous for their high antioxidant content, but almost all berries are very healthy. They contain flavonoids and phytochemicals, which are powerful antioxidants. Berries are versatile and can be used to make a range of healthy smoothies, desserts and more for yourself and your kids .
Nuts - Nuts like almonds, peanuts, and walnuts are great sources of fats. They also contain vitamin E and zinc along with a good amount of antioxidants. They are also versatile and easy to mix with different foods. To optimise digestibility of nuts and seeds, soak and dehydrate them first and all nuts and seeds can be easily made into delicious homemade nut or seed butter .
Ginger - Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea. While it's used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties, according to recent animal research .
Poultry - When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6. Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity .
In addition to consuming healthy foods, it's also critical to stay hydrated in order to help keep your throat and airways clear, says Maxine Yeung, MS, RD, CDN, NASM-CPT and founder of The Wellness Whisk. But not all beverages help fight illness. "Hot tea is a great way to stay hydrated, provide warmth and comfort to an irritated and inflamed throat and help relieve congestion," says Yeung. "Try to avoid sweetened beverages, like sports drinks and juice, as too much sugar in your body can cause inflammation... which further weakens your immune system ."
When you're trying to fight off an illness, focus on consuming foods that are packed with nutrients. "It's not what to avoid, but what to include in your diet that is important for immunity," says Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Founder of DiabetesEveryDay.com. And of course, the old adage that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" always applies. "The best way to stave off the cold and flu is try to stay as healthy as possible by maintaining a healthy diet, being physically active and practicing good hygiene," says Yeung. "There is no magical food that can help prevent a cold, but lacking in certain nutrients can contribute to a compromised immune system." So for the best cold prevention, focus on eating balanced healthy meals all year-round .
Lastly, supplements can also be used to help boost and maintain the immune system. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D-3, Freeze Dried Garlic, Ginger Root, Zinc, Magnesium and Olive Leaf Extract are some of my favourite ones to use to boost the immune system. Whilst i’m not affiliated with any supplement companies, if you require guidance on which brands to use, contact me! If you’re using supplements, make sure they are ethically sourced with organic and food based ingredients and are not filled with fillers and preservatives. You should always take supplements on a short term basis.
In conclusion, I would suggest that staying hydrated, avoiding sugary foods, having foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and different colours as well as having the foods I mentioned above and exercising will help you maintain good, healthy and thriving immune system. Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. The plate you eat should be rich in colours, such as greens, reds, oranges and whites. If you think you require support with your immune system or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
Nuts are typically a dried fruit with one or two seeds. Botanically speaking, nuts are a composite of seed and dry fruit found inside of a hard outer shell . Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, horse chestnuts and pine nuts are not nuts. So the health warning on a packet of peanuts (“may contain nuts”) is, strictly speaking, untrue .
Most nuts are dense in energy and provide plenty of vitamins and minerals. Due to this they have been a favourite food group amongst vegetarians and health conscience individuals. Nuts are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and provide other cardioprotective properties. In addition to providing healthy fats, nuts also contain high amounts of fiber, protein, Vitamin E, and a variety of essential minerals.
Raw nuts contain the highest amounts of these healthy nutrients. Roasting nuts reduces the antioxidant content and can reduce the amount of healthy fats. In addition, some roasting methods add other oils which may not contain the same health benefits as the oils found naturally in the nuts .
A golf ball-sized portion (about 30g) of unsalted nuts makes a vitality-boosting snack and, unlike most other options, contributes a mix of valuable vitamins and minerals. All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits .
What makes nuts so good is that different nuts have different properties of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. So consuming say just one Brazilian nut a day will ensure you get more than 100% if your recommended daily allowance of Selenium.
Nuts are an antioxidant powerhouse. Antioxidants help control free radicals, which are unstable molecules produced as a normal part of metabolism. Free radical production increases in response to heavy sun exposure, stress, pollution and other causes. Although free radicals can play a beneficial role in immune response, having too many can lead to cell damage. When your level of free radicals is too high, your body is said to be in a state of oxidative stress, which increases disease risk .
Although they're considered a high-calorie food, research suggests that nuts may actually help you lose weight. One large study called the PREDIMED study assessed the effects of the Mediterranean diet. Analysis of data from a subgroup of the study found that those assigned to eat nuts lost an average of 2 inches (5 cm) from their waists, which is significantly more than those assigned to eat olive oil. Almonds have consistently been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain in controlled studies. One study found that pistachios may also be helpful for weight loss .
In one study of overweight women, those who consumed almonds lost nearly three times as much weight and experienced a significantly greater decrease in waist size compared to the control group. What's more, even though the calorie counts listed for nuts are quite high, studies have shown that your body doesn't absorb all of them. This is because a portion of fat stays trapped within the nut's fibrous wall during digestion .
Although a great deal of research suggests that nuts can benefit heart health and reduce the risks of dying early from heart disease and other causes, the evidence is still inconclusive. But unless you're allergic to nuts, there's no real danger in eating nuts, so you can certainly include nuts as part of your heart-healthy diet. One way nuts may help your heart health is by lowering the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels. LDL plays a major role in the development of plaque that builds up on the blood vessels. Eating more nuts has also been linked to lower levels of inflammation linked to heart disease. Eating nuts may also reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also appear to improve the health of the lining of your arteries .
Many of the bad nuts in this world actually come from the way humans process them and not so much the nuts themselves. Avoid the following:
Buying nuts in bulk can help you save money but be careful when you go snacking that you don’t sit down with the huge package and start munching away, chances are really good that you are going to overeat. Grab a handful, and then put the package away !
There has been much talk of peanuts containing carcinogens and that they should be avoided at all costs. The carcinogen you’re referring to is aflatoxin, a natural toxin produced by certain strains of the mold Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus that grow on peanuts stored in warm, humid silos. Peanuts aren’t the only affected crops. Aflatoxins have been found in pecans, pistachios and walnuts, as well as milk, grains, soybeans and spices. Aflatoxin is a potent carcinogen, known to cause liver cancer in laboratory animals and may contribute to liver cancer in Africa where peanuts are a dietary staple .
If you love peanuts, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to eat them – and peanut butter – in moderation. While they’re really legumes, not true nuts, peanuts (and peanut butter) do contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. However, I still prefer almond butter and cashew butter, because they have a better fatty acid profile. And for snacking, I tend to choose raw, unsalted cashews, almonds or walnuts (which are Omega 3 sources). If you do go for peanut butter, look for brands containing only peanuts or peanuts and salt. Avoid those with hydrogenated oils, sugar and other additives .
In conclusion, I would suggest that having a handful of nuts daily as a snack is a great way to intake ‘good’ calories and help ensure that you’re fuller for longer. They are certainly a better choice than a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps. As always, processed nuts and foods should be avoided as much as possible. The plate you eat should be rich in colours, such as greens, reds, oranges and whites. If you think you require support with good snacking habits or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
Last Saturday was a typical day for me. I woke up late, not because I was out partying all of Friday night, but because it has been a very long week of grinding and I spent most of my Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday morning working on my businesses. Popular to contrary belief, being an entrepreneur is not all cocktail parties, book signings and event speaking in front of large crowds. After waking up and looking into the bathroom mirror, it dawned on me that my face looked more tired than usual. The skin on my face felt dry and not as stretchy as usual. A classic sign of water dehydration.
After booting up my laptop and starting to research on what to write for this blog, I needed a break and decided to put the television on for few minutes. Within 10 minutes I had viewed 3 different adverts for products that promised clearer skin. Whilst there is nothing wrong in applying products topically to your skin, it got me thinking about how the outside of your body is expressing what is going on in the inside. Indeed beauty is truly deeper than skin. It is physical, physiological, psychological and emotional.
So before I get into the details of this blog, let me explain what skin is! The skin is the largest organ in the body with a total area of approximately 20 square feet. Skin is designed to protect our microbes, regulate body temperature and permits the sensations of touch, heat and cold. It has three layers :
The skin's colour is created by special cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. Melanocytes are located in the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) . The skin also also acts as a reservoir for the synthesis of Vitamin D .
So what is that is so important about our skin? Why do most people fascinate with having good, clear skin? Why do some people freak out at the first sign of wrinkles and run to the nearest botox clinic? The answer is simple. As human beings, we want to project the best version of ourselves. We want to look good, have the appearance of being attractive and skin is a major factor in this. It is after all not hideable and seen by everyone.
There are some things that are commonly known to cause bad skin. Sugar is most certainly one of them. Sugar or high-glycemic foods quickly convert to sugar. This in turn raises insulin levels and puts unnatural demands on your body to deal with the food you just ate. Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, white bread and soda, cause your insulin levels to spike, which leads to what Dr. Nicolas Perricone describes as “a burst of inflammation throughout the body .”
Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
Simple carbohydrates are the worst offenders : white bread, candy, fried food, ice cream, fruit juice, pasta, ketchup, cream cheese, jam, pizza, sugar (white and brown), packaged snacks and sodas. Common and uncommon names for sugar – see all the “other” names for sugar that you may be unaware of .
In addition to this there is another culprit that is known to contribute to ‘bad’ or what I call ‘not optimal’ skin. This culprit is consumed by hundreds of millions of people on a daily basis. Yes you guessed it, it's coffee! Why is coffee the culprit? Long, scientific story short: It’s because coffee is highly acidic. High doses of acidic caffeine mess with your hormones, namely your stress hormones, which control your skin’s oil production. On top of that, it can act as a diuretic, dehydrating your skin if you drink too much .
Dehydration is a very common skin condition. Dehydration is the loss of water from the body. Dehydration, is the skin’s inability to retain its limited moisture in the epidermis. The quantity of water transmitted from the inside (dermal reserve) to the outside layers (epidermal) of the skin, is dependent on the level of internal hydration. Trans-dermal water loss or flow (TEWL) is the movement of water through the epidermis. People often get confused between dehydration and dryness. DRYNESS is lack of oil on the skin and DEHYDRATION is lack of moisture in the skin. Skin feels a little like tissue paper. If you feel a baby's skin, it feels soft and plump. Whilst dehydrated skin feels less dense and dull . To see tips on how to stay hydrated, read my blog on water and hydration.
Another factor that is close to most people’s hearts is the amount of sun exposure the skin can be exposed to. The sun is the source of all energy, and it brings with it many benefits, from sustaining life by plant photosynthesis to aiding the production of vitamin D in humans. However, as with most biological processes, there is a balance; sun exposure is good, but there is a limit, and too much sun exposure can be harmful, especially for the skin . Like its been stated, there needs to be a balance.
For years we have been told to cover up in the sun to cut the risk of getting skin cancer. But now it seems that a little bit of sunshine on your body is actually good for you. Studies have shown that a sensible amount of sun reduces your risk of several cancers and other serious health conditions. And it's all thanks to vitamin D, which is made by our bodies through the action of the sun's UVB rays on our skin.
Professor Michael Holick, of Boston University School of Medicine and author of The UV Advantage, says: "We get about 90 to 95 per cent of our vitamin D from the sun. It is essential for absorbing calcium, keeping our bones healthy, and for protecting against serious chronic diseases later in life such as osteoporosis, Type II diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many common cancers." He advises that we should go out in the sun without sunblock for between five and 15 minutes a day, at least three times a week in spring and summer, to boost our vitamin D levels .
In addition to this, let's look at what else can be done to help with keeping our skin looking young and healthy. As always, I always begin with food! So here’s some foods that will help with your skin; firstly my favourite, oily fish! Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring are excellent foods for healthy skin. The Omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation and make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays [8,9]. Fatty fish are also a source of vitamin E, which is one of the most important antioxidants for the skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting the skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation .
Secondly, I would recommend avocados. Avocados are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These free radical quenching compounds provide significant protection for your skin from the environmental damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. High amounts of carotenoids in your diet have been shown in scientific studies to improve your skin’s density, thickness, tone and general appearance.
A diet high in avocado is good for your skin, and particularly your face, in the way its fatty acids moisturize and soften your skin cells. When you eat avocados you are also giving your body a lot of skin protecting antioxidants, like beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, to prevent wrinkles and slow down the visible signs of aging. If you need any more reasons to eat them, there are 9 more health benefits of avocado here, including losing weight, better digestion and lowering your risk of serious health problems like heart disease and cancer .
Sweet potatoes are also an excellent food to keep your skin healthy. Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in plants. It can be converted into vitamin A in the body, and it’s found in orange and dark-green vegetables such as carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of it. One 1/2-cup serving (100 grams) of baked sweet potato contains enough beta-carotene to provide nearly four times the RDI of vitamin A . Carotenoids like beta-carotene help keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. When consumed, this antioxidant is incorporated into your skin and protects your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, cell death and the resulting effects of dry, wrinkled skin. Interestingly, beta-carotene may also add a warm, orange color to your skin, contributing to an overall healthier look .
Other good sources of food for the skin are walnuts, seeds, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, dark chocolate, red wine, green tea and extra virgin olive oil. What do all these have in common? They are packed full of nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, lycopenes, carotenoids and isoflavones. All of these help the body function and some such as vitamin C are not stored by the body. Therefore consumption of these daily and even with every meal is required for good skin health.
As well as getting avoiding sugary and processed foods, keeping coffee intake to a minimum, staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and eating a diet rich in nutrients, etc. as mentioned above, the following are also good tips for healthy skin:
EXERCISE! Yes exercising is great for your skin. The toxins and excessive secretion of oils by skin glands are the prime causes for your skin problems. Exercising regularly does not only help in keeping your weight under control, but it also stimulates blood circulation throughout your body including face. Sweating during exercise results in to opening up of the pores of your body including face. After exercising, take shower and wash your face to get rid of sweat and toxins. This will help in getting clear skin. During teenage years, acne is developed mainly because of an escalation in the work of hormones. Exercising regularly helps in regulating the surge of hormones .
Washing your clothes using environmentally friendly washing powders can also help those with sensitive skin. Regular washing powders are made using chemicals. Not all of these are natural and the side effect of these is that they can cause skin rashes, itching and other adverse reactions. Using environmentally friendly brands such as eCover can help with your skin conditions. They do a range of products that range from washing powders, dishwashing soap, household sprays, fabric conditioners and hand soaps too. I have personally been using them for over a year now and am very happy with their products. They are available online and in most supermarkets and health food shops.
The last thing I wish to cover in this vast topic of the skin which could be discussed in detail for a long time, is topical things that are applied onto skins. Mostly makeup that is used on the skin. If I ever get the train into London during peak times in the morning, I see an army of girls sitting down on the train, their faces getting plastered with mascara, foundation and lipstick. That’s about as far as my makeup knowledge goes. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking at a pretty looking face that has a ‘regular’ amount of makeup as much as the next red blooded male. I’m not advocating that women stop wearing makeup to clear their skin, that is a personal choice for every person to make themselves. What I am advocating is using good, organic and harmful chemical free products.
The problem with traditional makeup is that it causes a number of skin conditions . So their is a vicious circle here. The average woman working in a western city, will wake up and not be happy with her skin. So she’ll wear makeup, drink a few cups of coffee a day, have a very ‘western’ diet. All of this leads to further damage to her skin. So what does she do? Yes, apply more makeup to hide the bad skin! To break this cycle, I would suggest using good organic brands of makeup and skincare. Neal’s Yard Remedies is an organic based company in the UK that prides itself on creating makeup and skincare that is fully sourced from organic ingredients that are gentle on the skin. They are a truly green company that take pride in organic health and beauty.
In conclusion, I would suggest that staying hydrated, avoiding sugary foods, cutting down on the coffees, having foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and different colours as well as using ethical and organic sourced beauty and skin care products, absorbing sunlight safely and exercising will help you maintain good, clean and healthy skin. Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. The plate you eat should be rich in colours, such as greens, reds, oranges and whites. If you think you require support with your skin or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com