Eating more vitamin C-rich foods, such as Strawberries and Papaya, may help to ward off wrinkles and age-related dryness, suggests research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin C’s skin-smoothing effects may be due to its ability to mop up free radicals produced from ultraviolet rays and also its role in collagen synthesis. Collagen is fibrous protein that keeps skin firm and vitamin C is essential for collagen production—and research suggests that vitamin C may help protect skin cells against sun damage by promoting the repair of DNA that’s been harmed by UV rays. UV rays break the chemical bonds of skin cells, killing them and damaging their DNA, which may eventually cause cancerous growth. You can find vitamin C in a multitude of cosmetics but why not go straight to the source for a tasty boost of vitamin C!
Try this great Strawberry, Melon and Avocado Salad for an extra boost of Vitamin C.
PAPAYA's rich orange colour reflects an abundance of Beta-Carotene, a phytonutrient that not only gets converted into vitamin A, but also provides powerful antioxidant protection against free radicals that inflict damage on cell structures. Always pick papaya's that are fully ripe as they have a fully developed flavour and have the most concentrated amounts of nutrients. Fully ripe papaya's have orange-yellow skin and are slightly soft to the touch. The best way to enjoy Papaya is to combine it with Lime:
1 Ripe Papaya
1 Tablespoon Lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Lime zest
Cut the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place the 2 halves in a plate, squeeze the juice over them and sprinkle with Lime zest. Enjoy!
Strawberries are great for the skin! Just 1 cup of strawberries gives you an entire day’s worth of Vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as a building block for Collagen, which is the supporting structure for your skin. The antioxidants in the fruit help to repair skin damage and counteract aging effects. In addition to adding strawberries to your diet, you can use them to make your own all-natural facemask at home.
Strawberries contain salicylic acid that rids the skin of dead cells, makes your pores smaller and your face look brighter. They gently refresh and exfoliate the skin, remove impurities, and reduce redness and swelling, which is wonderful for a cleansing and skin-softening facial mask.
Below are 2 easy recipes that you can make in a few minutes at home.
Always cleanse your face before applying a mask and use it immediately as there are no preservatives in the mixture and it can spoil and damage your skin. As with any new product, remember to test a small area of your skin for sensitivity before applying the mask.
Strawberry Facial Mask with Honey
- 4 to 5 very ripe, medium size strawberries
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon honey
Rinse the strawberries and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. In a small bowl, mash fruit with a fork. Add cream and honey, mixing well. Apply immediately and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse of with lots of warm water and pat skin dry.
Strawberry Facial Mask with Cornstarch
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh milk
- 1 tablespoon rice flour or cornstarch
Mash all the ingredients together to make a smooth paste. Spread over your face and neck and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.
Some of you may have already heard of this little berry or even come across it at your local health store as its popularity rises.
Studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world! Goji is the high-energy berry of a special Himalayan tree. It is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The pulp contains:
- A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
- A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help
promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
- An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.
- The fatty acid content in Goji berries resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid, which aids in keeping the cell membrane supple so that all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently.
Consuming Goji berries also:
-Protects the liver (less fatigue)
-Supports kidney function
-Increases metabolic activity — burns fat and aids digestion
-Boosts immune function
-Promotes longevity — brings life support to the blood and all internal organs
-Test studies are showing that Goji berries may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels.
Savor each berry individually or add to hot and cold cereals (I add mine to my oats porridge in the morning), add a handful to your water bottle and eat them as you drink, use in soups, baked goods, tea and fruit juice blends. They are also delicious in salads!
You’ve probably walked passed it many a time in the supermarket and wondered what it was! Dragon fruit, originally known as pitaya, comes from a night-flowering cactus plant. Originating in Mexico and South America, this fruit is now also grown commercially in Asia. There are a few different varieties of dragon fruit. They have a texture similar to that of kiwi fruit, and a very delicate taste comparable perhaps to a soft pear or watermelon. The great health benefits of this unusual fruit range from improving memory to boosting the body's metabolism.
Because of its ability to lower blood glucose levels naturally, those suffering from diabetes can benefit from eating dragon fruit. Its high protein content makes it beneficial for those needing to boost metabolism. Its Calcium content enables it to assist with strengthening bones naturally. Having a high fibre content, it is ideal for those suffering from constipation or irregular bowel movements. It possesses natural skin moisturizing properties aswell.
It is an excellent antioxidant, which fights the spread of free radicals within the body. It is able to lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure naturally. It has also been shown to help those suffering from respiratory infections and asthma.
Besides calcium, this special fruit contains a host of other nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), carotene, phosphorus, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), iron, protein, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), carbohydrates, fibre and Vitamin C. Its always great to add new flavors to your diet. I absolutely love Dragon fruit and for me its all about the texture: the white flesh is filled with little black seeds and its crunchy when you bite into it. Yum! Be sure to add it to your shopping list!
Have you ever heard of Tryptophan? It is an essential amino acid that is not made in the human body and must be obtained from the diet. Tryptophan has a very important function in our body as it gets converted into Serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone responsible for mood and appetite. In turn Serotonin gets converted into Melatonin the ‘sleep’ hormone that helps us have a good nights sleep. So tryptophan is an important part of the whole feel-good cycle and essential part of our wellbeing.
Tryptophan deficiency can cause symptoms such as insomnia, low levels of serotonin, depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, irritability, inability to concentrate, weight loss and poor growth in children, according to the World's Healthiest Foods. When tryptophan deficiency is accompanied by a vitamin B-3 deficiency, symptoms can include dementia.
According to the World's Healthiest Foods, natural food sources of L-tryptophan include bananas, nuts, soybeans, red meat, seeds, dairy products, shellfish, tuna and turkey. Tryptophan is compromised in the cooking process so I would suggest you receive it through the consumption of raw food sources listed above. This way you will know that you are receiving the nutrient as nature attended!
Juicing is a great way to insure that you receive a maximum amount of nutrients in your body. Within 15/20mns of drinking a fresh vegetable juice, the nutrients are in your arteries and veins and the absorption rate of juice is 99%. This is amazing when compared to our digestive system that, at best, absorbs about 40% of the nutrients from the food that we eat. Raw food Guru David Wolfe says that juicing and even blending food allows our body to absorb a lot more nutrients at a much faster rate. Juicing allows us to benefit from the full nutrients available in raw vegetables, which would otherwise be compromised in the cooking process. This allows us to recharge and rejuvenate our body quickly and boost our immune system. Drinking a vegetable juice is a great way to start the day. Try this recipe for Spinach Juice. It's a good one for starters of veggie juicing as it's soft and sweet and tasty:
Ingredients: 1 bunch spinach, 2 apples, 1/2 lemon peeled (optional)
Directions: Put all ingredients in your juicer, mix well and enjoy.
Experiment with any flavours that you like - you can juice cucumbers, celery, broccoli...add some coconut juice, apples, melon, beetroot, whatever you love!
Vit C helps the body maintain healthy tissues and a strong immune system. It is needed to form collagen, a tissue that helps to hold cells together. It's essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It helps the body absorb iron and calcium, aids in wound healing, and contributes to brain function. Vitamin C is considered a powerful ally if you're trying to avoid or kick a cold or other illness.
Most people assume that Oranges or citrus fruit contain the highest amount of Vit C...Whilst they are a very good source, they are in fact not on top of the list. The top 10 list is as follows , assuming you consume 100g:
1-Hot red or green Chilli
5-Dark Leafy Greens
The recommendation for a healthy adult is to consume 2 fruits a day on average, so you should aim to increase your Vitamin C intake through Vegetables.
A glass of fresh Orange juice will contain 3-4 oranges at least and that is just too much sugar for your body to handle in one shot. I would recommend you increase the consumption of bell peppers, leafy greans, parsley and broccoli in your daily diet. In addition to boosting your Vit C levels, they offer a myriad of amazing nutrients and overall health benefits.
Acai is a little blue berry that originated from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and on Colombia’s pacific coast. It is considered to be one of the most powerful and nutritious superfoods on the planet and has been used for centuries by the natives of for its amazing health properties. It grows in one of the harshest and most UV ray intense zones on the planet, so the Acai berry must produce high amounts of antioxidants to protect itself and survive. For this reason, the antioxidant-rich Amazonian berry has gotten a lot of mainstream attention over the years and has been labelled as a potent, longevity-promoting superfood with astounding health benefits.
ORAC (Oxidant Radical Absorption Capacity) is a standard measure of antioxidant concentration in foods. Acai has one of the highest ORAC values in the world… just to put things in perspective, Acai scored an ORAC value of 185, in comparison to red grapes at 11, blue berries at 32 and pomegranate at 105.
Acai has also been found to contain high levels of fatty acids (omega 3,6,9), it contains 19 different amino acids that are necessary for building protein in the body, it is high in fibre, low in sugar, rich in minerals and vitamins, especially calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene and vitamin E. Recent research has shown that Acai fights cancer cells by triggering a self-destruct response in cancer cells. All of these benefits add up to an incredible superfood that is a great energy booster, helps enhance nerve and brain function, promotes a healthy heart, boosts the immune system, improves your skin and helps our body to rejuvenate itself.
Acai is usually available in a powder form; its best to look for organic when possible, and always try to confirm that it has been freeze dried straight after being picked as this will ensure that the high levels of antioxidants have been maintained. I recently purchased raw organic Acai powder from the Garden centre in Dubai by Loving Earth. The packaging states an ORAC value of 182 as it is not pasteurised and was freeze dried straight after picking.
You can mix Acai powder with your oatmeal in the morning, it has a great taste and will sweeten it. You can also add it to your baking or pancake batter before cooking (think kids!). You can even experiment by adding it to your soup!
I add Acai powder to my green smoothie in the morning… it is just delicious!
My smoothie recipe this morning:
• A handful of Curly Kale (or whatever variety you can find),
• 1 celery stick,
• Half an apple,
• Half a carrot,
• 1 tablespoon of Acai Berry powder.
Add water and whizz it all in your blender until its smooth.
Camu Camu is a bush native to South America’s tropical rainforests, and produces a berry that contains more Vitamin C then any other known natural source. Some studies estimate that Camu Camu berries contain 30 times more Vitamin C then oranges! It contains an extraordinary vitamin-C content of 2.4 to 3 grams per 100 grams of fruit—which doesn’t occur in any other fruit known to humankind. Such high doses of vitamin C are known to prevent cellular damage and therefore prevent cancer, heart disease, common illness, as well as playing a vital role in collagen production. And while Camu Camu does contain less vitamin C than synthetically produced tablets, the quality of the natural vitamin C far surpasses that of laboratory versions and is better absorbed by the body.
Indigenous Amazonian people traditionally pick the Camu Camu berries in season, dry them, and use them medicinally for the rest of the year. The little berry is also an excellent source of Calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. It is usually available in dried, powdered form in Whole food stores (I bought mine in the garden centre Dubai). The powder tastes delicious and tangy and can be added to your juices, smoothies or simply to your drinking water as a natural Vitamin C source. The recommended dosage is about 1 level tablespoon (3grams) of powder per day. You can increase the dosage with time if you wish, but remember that diarrhea symptoms indicate excessive intake.
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