Beauty Through Nutrition, Part 1: Antioxidants

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How do you define beauty? Beauty is not only about how we look on the outside, but about how we feel on the inside.  Today, I want to begin to discuss how you can transform your meals into a daily beauty routine.
 
When I think of beauty through nutrition, two things come to mind: Skin and Energy. Our skin is the first thing that people notice when they look at us, so eating to keep our skin glowing and protected is extremely important. Our energy level is what makes us FEEL beautiful. If we are exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out, or otherwise unbalanced, we are not going to feel our most beautiful self, no matter how much under-eye concealer we use. If we’re rested, nourished, and hydrated, we will enjoy life more and radiate the beauty that is within all of us.
 
We hear the word “antioxidant” often, but what does it really mean? An antioxidant is a nutrient or enzyme that helps prevent the development of harmful free radical cells from forming. An antioxidant is a defense mechanism against chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts. 

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Where can you find antioxidants? Antioxidants are found in a number of “health foods”. Those foods high in Vitamin A, C, E and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, have properties that help to repair the skin, as well as prevent further sun damage from occurring. These nutrients help keep your skin glowing and youthful. 

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Some of the top antioxidant foods that are high in Vitamin C, which is known for protecting your skin from the sun, and repairing sun damage are: oranges, tomatoes (also high in lycopene), citrus fruits, and greens.
 
Some of the best foods high in Vitamin A, helping in skin repair are oranges, carrots, cantaloupe, leafy greens (kale), Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. 
 
Vitamin E and your Omega 3s are more popular for combating inflammation and dryness in the skin and preventing sun damage. Some foods high in these nutrients are walnuts, sunflower seeds, olives, spinach, salmon, flax seed, and olive and coconut oils. 

As you can see, there are many delicious, healthy foods that can be incorporated into your meals making your skin glow on the outside, and protect your cells on the inside. One of the most powerful antioxidants that runs the gamut of health from the inside, out is green tea. Green tea stops inflammation in the skin, and helps prevent sunburns. It will also give you an extra boost of energy if you’re hitting that afternoon slump. Green tea has the most bang for your antioxidant buck. Enjoy it hot, or cold, just be sure to drink it as frequently as possible.

Do your best to eat at least one antioxidant-rich food in each of your meals, and you’ll be on your way to a well nourished body and a more radiant complexion.
 
Stay tuned for “Beauty Through Nutrition Part 2”, as I discuss how to eat for increased energy…