A healthy, balanced diet does more than keep off weight; vitamins and minerals make your skin smooth and supple, strengthen your fingernails, teeth and gums, and help keep your hair shiny and silky.
The importance of fluids
If your skin is to remain supple, clear and fresh, it needs plenty of fluid. Why? Simply put, adequate fluid intake helps your internal organs filter out harmful substances.
- As a rule of thumb drink about one-and-a-half litres/quarts of fluid per day, ideally mineral water, fruit juice spritzers or herbal and fruit teas.
- Freshly squeezed organic fruit and vegetable juices will boost your appearance and your health.
- Drink them in any combination, but don’t underestimate the caloric content of fruit juices.
The benefits of antioxidants
Environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, ultraviolet radiation and stress contribute to the formation of what’s known as free radicals in your body.
- These aggressive oxygen compounds can damage tissue and cause your skin to age prematurely when present in excess amounts.
Natural antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium stabilize free radicals and keep them from causing damage in the body.
A diet high in antioxidants also reduces your risk of developing certain serious diseases. Eating a range of whole foods can help you ward off damaging toxins and free radicals. Among the top picks:
Berries are chock full of healing antioxidants.
- Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain proanthocyanidins that can help prevent the likelihood of cancer and heart disease.
- Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries contain carcinogen-fighting ellagic acid.
- Blueberries also appear to help delay the onset of senility. Eat them on their own, throw a handful in your morning cereal, make a smoothie or enjoy them for dessert with a dab of low-fat whipped cream.
Veggies are great too!
- With more vitamin C than an orange and more calcium than a glass of milk, broccoli gets a gold star for nutrition. On top of that, broccoli is loaded with disease-battling phytonutrients. Boil it, steam it or make a flavourful soup.
- Garlic (aka, “the stinking rose”) acts as a natural antibiotic, killing off some strains of harmful bacteria. It can also help fend off cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. Roast it whole and spread on a baguette, or sauté it with a little butter and toss with hot pasta. Yum yum!