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Bon appétit

Inner beauty

manuelita otero

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Have you ever gone anti-wrinkle cream shopping?  You go to a store and stand in front of an endless sea of options that promise you everything you ever wanted at prices ranging from high to higher. You want to make sure you get the right one for you, the one that will finally live up to its promise. You keep looking, but in the end you leave empty handed. I don’t know if this is what face cream shopping looks like for you, but it is for me. I just don’t know who or what to believe anymore. But there is a simpler way to obtain some of the benefits of night creams and it can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Our bodies go through amazing and constant changes, some better than others. After our twenties our skin starts to produce less collagen (which provides skin firmness), less elastin (which supplies skin elasticity and rebound) and less glycosaminoglycans or GAGs (which keep the skin hydrated) which means more wrinkles and a more fragile skin. Not only that but free radicals, electrically charged atoms form in the body naturally, and as a result of diet, stress, sunlight exposure, alcohol or air pollutants. They attack the brain and the central nervous system causing illness and aging. Antioxidants help stabilize the free radicals minimizing the damage they do. You may have some antioxidants in your pantry or refrigerator right now, so there’s something you can do to prepare for  the inner battle of free radicals vs. antioxidants. The following foods are great options for you to shine from within.

-Coffee: One of my favorites. Coffee in moderation is great for your health. It is rich in antioxidants, it may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. It boosts energy, may help stop headaches and improve moods.

-Raisins: As strange as it may sound, they are good for your teeth since they have antioxidants that fight the growth of a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease. They are high in fiber, iron, calcium and they are great antioxidants, but they are also high in calories and sugar. Use them sparingly over salads, or to sweeten a healthy breakfast.

-Soy foods:  They are rich in isoflavones so they may help produce and preserve collagen. Some examples are: edamame, soybeans, soy sauces, and tofu.

-Berries: They are loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and vitamins. Berries are packed with vitamin C, which keeps skin firm and strong. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen.

-Carrots: They are packed with carotenoids, which protects skin, tissue and cells from environmental toxins and diseases that cause oxidative damage, AKA wrinkles. Make it a habit to have some baby carrots with you at all times and make that your go to snack.

-Lentils: They contain B vitamins and biotin, which is great for the health of your hair. They are also packed with both protein and fiber, the two nutrients that help maintain blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. Lentils can be enjoyed in so many ways, easy to prepare and so good for you.

-Red bell peppers: They are packed with vitamin C, having three times more vitamin C than an orange.

-Coconut oil: helps improve gut health and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, high in healthy fats, vitamin E and K, can booster hair growth and shine by moisturizing the scalp. It reduces stress on the liver.

-Green tea:  Improves skin hydration, elasticity and density.

-Shiitake mushrooms: strengthen the immune system. They are packed with collagen-boosting mineral, copper and they are rich in antioxidants which help exfoliate the skin.

-Almonds: Best source of Biotin (Vitamin H). They contain magnesium, which can have a calming effect and help control blood sugar level. Almonds also make a great source of satisfying fiber and protein, and their manganese and selenium content helps keep your hair shiny. Snack on a handful of almonds, or enjoy them in almond butter spread on apple slices.

-Water: Drinking water is key to ensuring that all the nutrients you eat are delivered to cells.  

-Dark chocolate: Cacao contains flavonoids, makes you feel happy because when you eat it the brain releases endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemical, and phenylethylamine, which elicits the head-over-heels feeling of falling in love.

-Walnuts: contain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that help your skin stay smooth and plump. Walnuts also protect your hair from sun damage and keep it lustrous and shiny.

-Spinach: Contains a triple dose of wrinkle-fighting antioxidants: vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These all work together to protect your skin from the sun’s aging UV rays.  

-Avocados: They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which are great for hair, skin, and nails, and not only help lower bad cholesterol levels, but also reduce the appearance of aging in skin. Avocados also contain antioxidants, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and folate, and one avocado is packed with more potassium than a medium banana — nearly 700 milligrams.

-Kale: It is packed with vitamins A, B6, C, and K, manganese, fiber, and omegas. One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body. With almost 200% of the RDA of vitamin A, one cup of kale is an effective antioxidant, boosts immunity, and maintains healthy bones and gorgeous teeth.

These are just a few of the amazing and powerful foods that we can include in our diet each day. If you have some “beauty foods” that you love, share them in the comments, we would love to hear about them.  

I love how Bobbi Brown says it in her book Living Beauty, “I don’t know why it is not ok to age.  I think that a face without lines and planes is an expressionless face.  It’s a face that lacks warmth and confidence.”  I agree, I don’t mind my wrinkles; my lines tell a story and I am happy with it. I want my expressions to be real and for people to see them, but I want to have a healthy glow that comes from within which starts with my attitude towards life, my habits, and what I eat. It’s not about looking younger, it is about being the best you no matter your age. So now instead of spending too much time trying to pick up the right face cream, I am going to dedicate more time to planning my weekly menu and being intentional about the food I eat.  

Manuelita