We are what we eat – Sandra Fuentes (Author)
Beauty Nutrition Expert & Author Of “The Beauty Source”, Sandra Fuentes explains the skin is the largest organ in the body. It’s also your body’s first line of defense against foreign substances, harmful bacteria and toxins. All these environmental stressors can have a terrible effect on your skin, causing it to age prematurely and appear dull.
Fuentes expound how can you put the glow back into your skin and help protect it at the same time? The secret is a combination of power bombs called phytonutrients, found in plants, paired with a good dose of healthy fatty acids. Fuentes describe how adding foods that contain these compounds to your daily diet or applying them directly on the skin as a superfood facial oil, is one of the most potent preventative and anti-aging treatments for your skin.
What are phytonutrients?
Author of Beauty Source explains in her best selling book, Phytonutrients are natural compounds produced by plants to keep them healthy and protect them against things like sun damage and pests. Humans don’t produce phytonutrients so the only way to get the incredible benefits of phytonutrients is by supplementing them through our diets. Foods containing high concentrations of phytonutrients are usually also high in essential vitamins and minerals and adding them to your diet is vital for good overall health.
Why are phytonutrients so good for your skin?
Plants containing phytonutrients have become known as superfoods because of their ability to fight disease and for their anti-aging properties. Studies have shown that phytonutrients can decrease the risk of certain chronic diseases like diabetes type 2, heart disease, and even certain cancers.
Fuentes recommends, the major mechanism of action for most phytonutrients is their antioxidant activity. What does this mean for your skin? Phytonutrients can help reduce the effect of oxidative stress by accumulating in the skin and enhancing the antioxidant defense mechanism of the skin cells. When your skin can withstand the attacks by oxidative stressors, it has time to heal and build resilience.
Fatty acids are substances with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to repair and protect the skin barrier. Fuentes believes when oils such as Chia Seed Oil is used in a superfood facial oil, the benefits of the phytonutrients it contains, and the effects of the moisturizing fatty acids can be seen within days.
Types of phytonutrients
There are over 25 000 different phytonutrients. Here are some of the main groups of phytonutrients that are beneficial for your skin and overall health.
Carotenoids are phytochemicals found in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Basically, they are the pigments that give these foods their vibrant color. Carotenoids are potent antioxidants and will help protect against tissue damage.
Sandra Fuentes further describes Best Sources: carrots, pumpkin (contains beta-carotene); tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon (contains lycopene); spinach, kale, broccoli, goji berries (contains lutein and zeaxanthin)
Flavonoids is one of the largest groups of phytonutrients and consists of many subgroups. They are known for their antioxidant, UVA absorbent, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties, to name a few. Some superfoods can even contain more than one type of flavonoid. Chia seeds contain myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol and caffeic acid.
Best sources: green tea (contains catechins); citrus (contains naringenin); apples, berries, kale, onions, chia (contains flavanols like quercetin and myricetin)
- Ellagic acid
Ellagic acid is also better known as tannin. Ellagic acid has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer properties.
Best sources: pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries
Resveratrol is a small molecule present in some plants like berries and grapes. Studies has shown that it can help protect against coronary heart disease and prolong lifespan. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Best sources: red grapes, wine, cocoa
Glucosinolates are what gives dark green veggies their potent smells and tastes. Broccoli, which is rich in minerals, vitamin C and carotenoids, is one of the most potent sources of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates have antioxidant, cytoprotective and anticancer properties.
Best source: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts
Sandra Fuentes said ultimately, we are what we eat. If you decide to fill up on foods dense in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, you will surely reap the benefits and it will shine through your skin.
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