I am not sure about everyone else or everywhere else, apparently it is not Summer for us in Canada at the moment. It’s been a hell of weather this past week, with all the sun and snow and hails and ALL KIND (grr). Everyone got sick and tired. Even so, we cannot avoid the fact that Summer is approaching and we need to prepare ourselves to cope with the heat of the Summer days (I guess it’s not another half year for the other southern half of the globe :D). As I mentioned before in one of my posts, I’ve come across a wonderful book written by Jolene Hart on the subject of nutrition for beauty. It was a well written book for people who is looking to improve their skin health from the inside. Even though I believe the list recommended in the book is not inclusive of all the foods out there, it is quite a lot to go through and it is quite sufficient for us to utilize into our daily diet. For this post, I will be sharing what I learned from this book by picking out the top 5 foods that I think are the essential items in your Summer diet, which will help you keep your skin glowing and healthy.
As the new season is approaching, we will need to change ourselves to adapt to the changing climate and environment around us. If Spring is more about detoxing after a long cold Winter, Summer is the time to stay active and enjoy the outdoor activities. Below are some of the tips for Summer:
- Eat water-rich foods to keep your body hydrated at all time. Coconut water is my top choice as it is the natural electrolyte liquid that can be absorb and hydrate your body almost instantly. Try to find the coconut water from the fruit itself rather than canned water, as they might not be as pure the coconut water as we would like them to be. Some other water-rich foods include watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, celery, and aloe vera. If you cannot find a good product that contain only pure coconut water, you can resort to aloe vera juice, which is a great source of hydration and cooling. Beware, though, of the aloe drinks you find in the supermarkets, as 99.9% of them contain really little amount of aloe and really large amount of sugar.So far, I’ve been really enjoying the aloe juice from Ultimate Aloe™. This brand has been certified by the IASC for quality and purity. The brand has 4 different flavours to choose from and offers 150% purely concentrated aloe extra through a patented production process. My best was Pomegranate juice, which also contains real pomegranate juice. This product also works amazing on the digestive system.
- Avoid sun damage at all cost and whenever you can, as the UV rays from the sun can speed up the aging process of your skin and body. You must always wear sunscreen/sunblock when you go outside (and this is not just for Summer). There is a small different between sunblock and sunscreen, in which sunblock blocks off all effects of the sun, including the UV rays and the tanning, while sunscreen does allow for some tanning to occur. I personal am allergic to a lot of sun protection ingredients, so I am very careful when I pick my sunscreen. The best one so far is an anti-aging moisturizer from Cellular Laboratories®. It contains SPF 50 and hypoallergenic active ingredients (Homosalate: 10.0% Avobenzone: 3.0% Octisalate: 5.0% Octocrylene: 2.6%). After going out under the sun, you can also apply a thin layer of pure aloe gel to prevent your skin from being burned.
- Stay active. When is another time you think you can get outside and enjoy the warmth and play some beach volleyball? Make sure you wear light and also supply yourself with enough nutrition. Just because you stay more active and eat more doesn’t necessarily mean you get enough nutrition. Take an example of vitamin D, which we get from the sun. However, as we are protecting ourselves from UV rays with the help of sunscreen products, unfortunately that also prevents our body to absorb and produce vitamin D from the sun. An adequate amount of vitamin D will help boost the immune system and protect your body from bacteria.
- Lighten up your diet with more refreshing produce and raw foods. Summer is the time of abundant foods and drinks, but make sure you watch your portion and also know when to stop, especially with high GI foods, as they cause inflammation (acne is one such result) and will speed up the aging process. Check out your local farmer’s markets and be more creative with the daily/weekly produce that you find out there.
- Sweat all you can, as this is a most organic way that your body can deliver toxins out of your body. So stay active and do more outdoor sports. My best sport to play in the Summer is beach volleyball. Make sure that you replenish your body with lots of water during the day as well.
Now that we have gone through quite a bit of preparation for Summer activities, let’s find out what to eat to keep our system in check for a healthy and beautiful lifestyle. Of course you will find many articles and blog posts about Summer skincare routines, and Summer fruits, and Summer this and that. They are all worth checking out just for the sake of knowledge. I would also like to offer my 2 cents of thoughts. In this post I will also offer my top picks of Summer foods. Below are the top 5 foods that I find easily accessible, and are essential to help protect your body from the negative effects of Summer, just so that you can enjoy it to the fullest:
Cucumber contains mostly water (95%), which is extremely beneficial in Summer. It certainly helps with hydration and detoxification boost for your body. Cucumber is anti-inflammatory and kidney-cleansing food that helps reduce water retention, which keeps your body slim. It is a surprisingly good source of vitamin K, which is like a soulmate to vitamin D. Vitamins K2 and D3 work best at delivering Calcium to your bones and other parts in the body where it is supposed to be. Cucumber also contains a potent amount of silicon, which is a beauty mineral that promoted healthy connective tissue, and skin moisture and elasticity. If you are able to access organic cucumbers, then buy them instead, as you can actually eat the skin as well where it is packed with vitamin C and Chlorophyll.
Tips: There are so many recipes that include cucumbers. My choice of using cucumbers this season is to eat them raw as snacks, or in smoothies. You can also make a delicious vitamin water using cumbers, lime, and mint. Remember to try your best to find organic produce, as the ones grown in factories or industrial farms usually contain pesticides on their skins and might be transferred to your body during consumption.
Tomato is amazing at defending your skin against the negative effect of the sunlight (UV damage). This is because it contains a high amount of lycopene and beta-carotene. Potassium in tomato also helps provide the body with balanced electrolyte and helps circulate beauty nutrients in the body. As mentioned above, organic source is always the best choice if you ever have access to it. Heirloom tomatoes are the best!!!!! They are presented in a variety of sizes and shapes as they are products of an organic and natural cross-pollination among different types of tomatoes.
Tips: Tomato releases the most lycopene when cooked. Tomato is best consumed after being cooked, so you can enjoy it baked and stuffed, or sliced and added to baked frittata. You can also enjoy it raw in salad with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, as the vitamin E in the olive oil helps to increase the power of vitamin C in the tomato. Lycopene is a fat soluble phytochemical so eating tomato with oil-rich dishes will increase assimilation from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Tomato and avocado smoothie is also not a bad idea (avocado is a really good fat :D)
Celery is one of the top choices when it comes to detox and diet planning. It is because it contains a healthy balance of sodium and potassium, which helps cool and flush out excess water in your body. Celery also contains a good amount of water to keep you hydrated in the Summer heat and produces a calming effect to your body thanks to a substance called coumarin. It also contains silicon, which helps with skin moisture and elasticity, AND promotes hair growth.
Tips: My personal recipe for celery is celery soda: infusing your club soda with celery and some orange slices. Amazingly refreshing and a good drink for your Summer BBQ party.
Papaya is DELICIOUS!!! It is soft and sweet and flavourful. What you might not know about this super fruit is that it is packed full of lycopene. It is a phytochemical that gives the red color to some of the fruits including tomatoes and papayas. Not all red pigment in vegetables come from lycopene, and it is also found in asparagus and parsley. It is an essential nutrient that aids the skin in fighting against the UV damages. The interesting fact about lycopene is that it is also used to produce red food coloring. Even though papaya is not the most concentrated source of lycopene (Gac from Vietnam is the real power fruit – 70 times more lycopene than in tomato – but hard to find), it is a great alternative to supply your body with lycopene in place of tomatoes. Besides, papaya also contains amazing enzymes that aid in digestive process. This is crucial to help your body digest and break down bad processed foods and proteins, preventing inflammation and promoting healthier body and cleaner skin. Papaya is well known not just for its flesh. Its seeds are also known to clean the intestine, and its leaves are dried and served as tea to cure cancer (now you pay attention eh!).
Tips: Some creative ways to use papaya besides the delicious raw consumption is to use it as a fresh fact mask. Crush some fresh papaya meat and add the pure aloe gel in to make a simple but effective mask. The enzymes in papaya will dissolve the excess oils, but will also moisturize the skin at the same time. The aloe gel add-in will also helps with soothing and cooling against the Summer heat.
Watermelon is my last but not least. I know this picture is cute, that’s why I couldn’t help but use it hehe!!! We all know this one and we all love it. As you can already tell, watermelon is a great source of water to supply your body with in the Summer.Watermelon also contains lycopene, which helps with UV protection. It also helps reduce water retention (slimming effect) and promotes body cooling and detoxification. What you might not know is that watermelon is an amazing source of Iron, which is important in red blood cell production, promoting healthy hair, skin and nail. If you want radiant skin and shiny hair, you know what to eat in Summer now 🙂
Tips: Watermelon needs to be consumed fresh and as soon as it is cut. It oxidizes really fast. The vitamins and minerals in watermelon will lose their properties within an hour after being exposed to open air (especially in liquid form). If you eat watermelon that has been left out in the air for a while, you will have stomachache. It is a great idea to cut the flesh into cubes and mix in with your salad. The white part of the fruit can also be pickled and served as a side dish with BBQ. As it is quite sweet, I don’t recommend having this in large amount either fresh or as juice. Watermelon contains mostly water so it doesn’t make much of a difference to press it or to eat it as is, but because of this fact, the large amount of sugar will be absorbed into our body much faster and might cause inflammation (reverse effect) to our body if we over-consume. Also seedless watermelons are a GMO product so be careful to eat them too much.
The above foods seem so simple and normal, but they offer the ultimate protection for your body and your skin during Summer. Together with a proper Summer skincare routine, I hope you can create an inside-out complete beauty habit after reading this. If you are interested in any products mentioned in this post check out the link below and use code 10OFFMA to save 10% on your purchase
Most of the above information was taken from the book Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart. I am simply sharing with you what I find interesting and most helpful to me, and also some extra information that I find from other sources. STILL, Get this book and explore more on how-to tips and knowledge of eating beauty. Also check out the link on the right column to receive cashback if you are buying from Indigo Chapters or Barns & Noble. Book depository is also a great store to buy books. Free shipping worldwide and amazing collection of books.
Happy Summer 2016!!!