Everyone knows Kale is healthy, but what makes it so healthy for you? Well…according to HealWithFood.org: Curly kale is a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin. As a result of its high antioxidant content, kale is one of the vegetables with the highest ORAC rating (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). ORAC ratings measure foods’ ability to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to your body at the cellular level. The cellular damage caused by free radicals has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases and disorders, including macular degeneration of the eye, cardiovascular diseases, thrombosis, asthma, an impaired immune system, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Only a handful of vegetables – including raw garlic, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, savoy cabbage, beet greens and arugula – have been reported to have a higher ORAC rating than kale.
Ok – so maybe you knew that about kale, but did you realize that raw garlic or beet greens would make the cut? Did you even know you could EAT the greens attached to beets?
For the next few posts, we are going to highlight for you a “best of” list of foods and how they benefit you.
First up: SKIN! Which foods help keep that complexion blemish free and glowing?
1. KALE (of course!!…you had to see that coming): The free radical neutralizing effects of the antioxidants in kale can help keep your skin looking great by preventing loss of skin elasticity triggered by excessive ultraviolet radiation. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, it forms metalloproteinases. Metalloproteinases are enzymes that help repair sun-injured connective tissue. However, not all metalloproteinases are beneficial: some metalloproteinases destroy collagen, which can lead to wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Free radicals seem to support the production of these collagen-damaging metalloproteinases.
2. PAPAYA: You’ve probably used papaya in a facial scrub, but are you eating it, too? The fruit is a vitamin C serum and exfoliant all-in-one. It contains two days’ worth of vitamin C, which helps to brighten and tighten skin. It’s packed with vitamin A compounds, which regulate cell turnover in much the same way that a topical retinol-A does, albeit gentler. Papaya also contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which helps decrease redness in the skin by combating inflammation.
3. PUMPKIN SEEDS: Loaded with zinc, vitamin E, sulfur, and omega-3 fats, the seeds heal, nourish, restore, and hydrate the skin. They can also repair blemish marks when you’ve had a breakout. Eat them raw because their delicate fats are destroyed when exposed to too much heat. Snack on them, toss them into an arugula salad, or add a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds to a smoothie.
4. BEETS: Beets reverse dull skin by stimulating the lymphatic system and removing waste from our cells. Beets can also increase the oxygen-carrying ability in the blood by 400 percent, bringing brightness and vitality to the skin. They may even help reduce the appearance of cellulite by strengthening the dermal skin layer.
5. LEMONS: Lemon juice helps remove fat-soluble toxins and old hormones, which may trigger breakouts and worsen oily skin. Lemon juice also emulsifies fats, which helps keep skin hydrated. Not to be left out, the lemon rind contains the flavonoid limonoid, which kills bacteria in the mouth and intestines, preventing bacterial-driven acne flare-ups.
Notable Mentions: Red Cabbage, Coconut Kefir, Black Sesame Seeds, and Organic Tomato Juice.
Next up: DIGESTION!