Av­o­cado, blue­ber­ries and co­conut oil. The ABC of su­per­foods for su­per skin.

Your life­style habits – in­clud­ing what you eat – are re­flected in your skin. But are su­per­foods worth in­vest­ing in? Anita Quade finds out

Friday - - Contents -

For those who want to un­lock the se­cret to glow­ing skin, shiny tresses and strong nails, it is as sim­ple as work­ing from the in­side out. Feed­ing your skin doesn’t need to be com­pli­cated or ex­pen­sive – most of the must-eats are avail­able at your su­per­mar­ket for a frac­tion of the cost of an ex­pen­sive face cream.

Green good­ness

Start with go­ing green. This has long been a mantra of health gu­rus and beauty blog­gers, and for good rea­son – the green fam­ily of veg­eta­bles is packed with nu­tri­ents. En­ter kale – once known as the poor man’s food, it has now risen to be­come the su­per­model of the green fam­ily thanks to its high mag­ne­sium con­tent. It also has more iron than beef and boosts your vi­ta­min C lev­els, which in turn boosts your im­mune sys­tem and kick-starts your me­tab­o­lism.

Kale is also loved be­cause it’s low in calo­ries – one cup of it has only 36 calo­ries, five grams of fi­bre and best of all, zero fat, so is favoured by those watch­ing their weight. Plus, it’s made up of about 80 per cent wa­ter, so sauté this leafy green to make a great side dish or add it to your salad or smoothie for a guar­an­teed boost of hy­dra­tion lev­els, which will help to di­min­ish fine lines and wrin­kles.

A dose of kale will give you 100 per cent of your av­er­age vi­ta­min A and C re­quire­ments and that is great news for the skin’s health, as vi­ta­min C is re­spon­si­ble for help­ing to pro­duce col­la­gen. Its high level of an­tiox­i­dant prop­er­ties give a nat­u­ral pro­tec­tion from the sun so will help pre­vent skin dam­age due to the sun’s rays and the lutein, beta-carotene and carotenoids will boost skin firm­ness. Tox­ins in the body can show up on the skin, so try a kale juice, to help flush out tox­ins and give your skin a healthy glow. Juic­ing this green can also help pre­vent hair break­age and the vi­ta­min B found in this green god­dess helps pre­vent hair shed­ding and boosts the health of your scalp.

Haute Liv­ing mag­a­zine writer Rosa Sanchez says that the health ben­e­fits of kale are enor­mous. ‘If you were to ask any health guru to­day to make a list of greens that have be­come essen­tial to a diet in this day in age, kale would def­i­nitely make the top of the list,’ she says. ‘Al­though its bit­ter taste can leave much to be de­sired, its vi­ta­min-filled and can­cer-fight­ing prop­er­ties have made this cru­cif­er­ous veg­etable a pow­er­house in the in­dus­try.’

Why not re­place your potato crisps with kale chips? It’s as sim­ple as tear­ing off the leaves, driz­zling in olive oil and crisp­ing in the oven for 20 min­utes to make the per­fect guilt-free snack as well as boost your beauty regime at the same time.

Be­sides kale, when it comes to healthy liv­ing a peren­nial favourite is av­o­cado – it of­fers nearly 20 vi­ta­mins and min­er­als in ev­ery serv­ing.

Av­o­ca­dos can be used eas­ily in ev­ery­thing from sal­ads and smooth­ies to a spread on toast. It is high in mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats, which is vi­tal for main­tain­ing good mois­ture lev­els in the epi­der­mal layer of your skin. It is of­ten used as a face mask too, with fans such as Aus­tralian su­per­model Mi­randa Kerr re­veal­ing it’s a great way to get a glow when you are feeling fa­tigued; she also ad­mits she eats av­o­ca­dos for break­fast and snacks on the creamy pulp dur­ing the day.

The omega-9 fats in them re­duce red­ness and ir­ri­ta­tion too, while the an­tiox­i­dant carotenoid pro­tects against wrin­kles and helps boost firm­ness of skin.

Kath­leen Al­leaume, nu­tri­tion­ist and au­thor of What’s Eat­ing You?, says tuck­ing into av­o­ca­dos up to three times a week is great for both your com­plex­ion and your waist­line.

‘Al­though av­o­ca­dos are high in fat and calo­ries, re­search has shown that these spe­cific fatty acids are more likely to be used as slow-burn­ing en­ergy than stored as fat, thereby cre­at­ing a feeling of sat­is­fied full­ness with a re­duc­tion in sugar crav­ings.’

Fruity flavours

When it comes to fight­ing the signs of age­ing, blue­ber­ries rule. These small berries pack a pow­er­ful punch and are the king of an­tiox­i­dants, pro­tect­ing our bod­ies from free rad­i­cals that can con­trib­ute to age­ing and can­cer. They are said to con­tain the high­est an­tiox­i­dant lev­els of all com­monly con­sumed fruits and veg, which slow down age­ing by neu­tral­is­ing free rad­i­cals in your body. Na­tive to North Amer­ica, they also con­tain an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties that can help pre­vent your cells from age­ing – so ex­pect a more youth­ful glow.

Kath­leen says blue­ber­ries are the ideal fruit when it comes to turn­ing back the clock.

‘They pack a se­ri­ous hit of vi­ta­mins A and C that are essen­tial to keep­ing our skin

KALE, once known as the POOR man’s food, has now be­come the SU­PER­MODEL of the green fam­ily thanks to its MAG­NE­SIUM con­tent. It also has more IRON than beef and boosts your vi­ta­min C lev­els

smooth and sup­ple,’ she says. The fi­bre in this pur­ple fruit also helps re­move tox­ins in the body, which in turn will give you a clear com­plex­ion. For those that suf­fer from bro­ken cap­il­lar­ies, add blue­ber­ries to your morn­ing smoothie to strengthen blood ves­sels and heal cap­il­lar­ies un­der the skin. Acne suf­fer­ers can also re­joice as blue­ber­ries help bal­ance the oil con­tent in your skin and can pre­vent break­outs.

While pome­gran­ate of­fers a pop of colour and fresh­ness to your plate, this fruit, known as the lucky fruit by the Chi­nese, is per­fect to help pro­tect your skin from the ef­fects of

sun­light. Its an­tiox­i­dant con­tent can also pro­tect your skin from free rad­i­cals. It will help pro­long the life of cells that pro­duce col­la­gen and elastin to keep your skin look­ing youth­ful.

The good oil

You will be hard-pushed to find a beauty guru who doesn’t hail co­conut oil as one of the best beauty won­ders for ev­ery­thing from hy­drat­ing skin to mois­tur­is­ing dry locks.

An­gelina Jolie starts her day with a tea­spoon of it, stars such as Emma Stone use it to re­move their make-up, and Gwyneth Pal­trow uses it to whiten her teeth. It seems ev­ery­one is slather­ing this mir­a­cle oil on their face and bod­ies to soak up the ben­e­fits of this all-nat­u­ral oil that is avail­able in your su­per­mar­ket aisle and is purse-friendly.

Celebrity hair­dresser Mark Townsend, the man behind the glossy tresses of stars such as Natalie Port­man, Pene­lope Cruz and Jen­nifer Lawrence, says he uses co­conut oil to tame frizz and smooth hair. ‘There’s noth­ing more hy­drat­ing than co­conut oil,’ he says.

It is per­fect to ap­ply as an overnight con­di­tioner – just rub oil into the ends of your hair. It’s rich in vi­ta­mins E and K so is per­fect to nour­ish while you sleep. Hot-yoga fans also love ap­ply­ing a dol­lop of co­conut oil to their hair be­fore their Bikram yoga class, so the heat gets to work cre­at­ing a hairhy­drat­ing mask. Co­conut oil also con­tains an­ti­fun­gal and an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties, so is per­fect for those with a scalp con­di­tion – com­bine it with one of your favourite oils such as rose or laven­der to leave hair scented. Lucy Bee, cre­ator of Lucy Bee Co­conut Oil, and the au­thor of Nat­u­ral Beauty with Co­conut Oil, says the ben­e­fits of the won­der oil are end­less when it comes to beauty. ‘I love to use co­conut oil as a nat­u­ral beauty prod­uct, it’s great to take make-up off, mois­turise your skin or con­di­tion your hair,’ she says.

‘For cen­turies, co­conut oil has been used to keep skin soft, sup­ple and well-hy­drated. In fact, the fatty acids found in co­conut oil mean it can be a bril­liantly ef­fec­tive lip balm or night cream, par­tic­u­larly for any­one who suf­fers from dry skin. I also love us­ing it as a body mois­turiser, par­tic­u­larly af­ter bathing as this helps to lock the mois­ture in. As well as the fact that the vi­ta­min E in co­conut oil can hy­drate and nour­ish any tricky patches (scaly, dry legs, be gone!), you’ll also smell ut­terly de­li­cious and to­tally trop­i­cal,’ she says.

Stud­ies have also shown that co­conut oil can ef­fec­tively treat mild skin con­di­tions in­clud­ing eczema and pso­ri­a­sis, by boost­ing mois­ture and the lipid con­tent of the skin.

Eat­ing co­conut oil or fresh wedges of co­conut will de­liver all the ben­e­fits.

It can also be a great sub­sti­tute for ex­pen­sive eye creams. Ap­ply a thin layer around the eye area and let the fatty acids get to work to re­in­force your skin’s pro­tec­tive bar­rier.

Hol­ly­wood ac­tress and well­ness guru Gwyneth says the oil is a sta­ple in her home thanks to its ver­sa­til­ity from cook­ing to mouth­wash. ‘I use co­conut oil a lot,’ she re­vealed to E! News. ‘I use it on my skin and in my cook­ing.’ The star also re­vealed she uses it as part of her den­tal regime. ‘I have started oil pulling, which is when you swish co­conut oil around in your mouth for 20 min­utes and it’s sup­posed to be great for oral health and mak­ing your teeth white.’

The sweet truth

There is also good news for those that like a fix of choco­late – nib­bling on a piece of raw ca­cao or adding a ta­ble­spoon of it pow­dered to your smoothie in the morn­ing can help

CO­CONUT OIL can also be a great SUB­STI­TUTE for ex­pen­sive EYE CREAMS. Ap­ply a thin layer around the eye area and let the fatty acids get to work to re­in­force your skin’s PRO­TEC­TIVE BAR­RIER

build strong nails and pro­mote clear skin as it detox­i­fies the liver, so for­get the myth that choco­late causes break­outs.

‘Un­like reg­u­lar choco­late, raw ca­cao’s ben­e­fits and nu­tri­ents are pre­served be­cause it is un­heated,’ Kath­leen says.

While feed­ing your skin with the above in­gre­di­ents can boost its tex­ture, one of the sim­plest ways for those with a busy life­style is to just munch on a hand­ful of nuts each day – rang­ing from pis­ta­chios, which of­fer a nu­tri­tious hit of pro­tein, fi­bre and un­sat­u­rated fat, to al­monds, a tasty su­per­food high in vi­ta­min E and good fats that ben­e­fit the skin and hair.

The mag­ne­sium in nuts can help pre­vent hair fall, while al­mond milk is rich in pro­teins and vi­ta­mins, help­ing hy­drate and soften skin.

So on your next shop­ping trip re­mem­ber that it isn’t only your body that will reap the re­wards of healthy foods – your skin will too.

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Emma Stone, Pene­lope Cruz, Natalie Port­man… co­conut oil is an in­te­gral part of these Hol­ly­wood stars’ beauty regime

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