As a young child, I found myself very curious about the nature of our beings and how it relates to the food we eat. By the time I was 12, I began to have the conviction to not want to eat meat; the very thought repulsed me. Of course, this was not something my mother or father appreciated as they continued to force-feed me for another 2 years before they realized I’d been fattening up the dog, not me. Further into my teens, I discovered others with the same inclination to avoid meat and eat more sustainable foods. Basically I fell into healthier eating, because vegetarianism was not the just a diet based on the absence of meat, but also the addition of whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. The further I immersed myself into this new lifestyle and culture, the more I discovered a cleaner understanding and respect for a healthier body along with fasting and juicing. What a cultural shift indeed. I found my tribe and never looked back.
But what does nutrition have to do with skin care?
I'm sure you've heard the saying "You are what you eat". Well, what if we told you it was true? Of course not in a literal sense; if you eat celery you won't become celery and the same is true for less healthier options. But, it's true in the sense that what you eat directly contributes to your overall health. The vitamins and nutrients you receive from a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains and lean protein directly feeds your body on a cellular level. But on the same spectrum, the lack of vitamins and minerals you deprive yourself of by eating a diet rich in preprocessed fast food, sugary pastries, and cholesterol-laden foods also affects your body on a cellular level. Without those necessary good-for-you nutrients, your body can't perform at its best.
This is doubly true for your skin. People love to tout the fact that your skin is the largest human organ, but no one ever seems to approach skin care the same way we approach care for other organs. If your skin is the biggest organ, wouldn't it make sense that you skin is the most effected by your diet. So just as your heart suffers when you eat super fatty foods, so does your skin and on a much more visible level. That's right! All those pimples and rashes, lesions, dull lack-luster skin is the direct result of your diet.1 So when you think specifically about your skin, you really ARE what you EAT!
And what's even crazier to think about is that our skin plays a major role in both the absorption of nutrients as well as the disposal of waste. You heard it here. What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your mouth. So the ingredients in your skin care routine are just as critical to your bodily health as the ingredients in your diet. So if your skin care is as clean and healthy as your diet, your skin will absorb all those amazing nutrients; and likewise, the more processed and plastic-filled your skin care, the more you deprive your skin of those super important vitamins and minerals.
So let's get specific about nutrition. For instance, what's a superfood?
The world has changed in the last 40 years for sure thanks to forward-thinking folks and pioneers in the health food industry. We've gained easier access to an abundance of healthy choices for fresh, organic foods. One of the more prevalent trends in the past few years has been the identification of so-called "superfoods". Superfoods are all the rage right now, and rightfully so. While there is no scientific definition, superfoods are often classified as “nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals." These select, organic foods provide nutrients that are beneficial for our bodies, as well as our health and well-being.
Superfoods provide our bodies with plenty of health benefits, such as an increased immune system, and in some cases can provide our bodies with antioxidants. So not only do they taste good, but they pack our bodies with amazing nutrients as well!
But what is an antioxidant exactly? And why is it so important?
You’ve probably heard about these amazing little guys, but what exactly are they? An antioxidant is a “substance (such as beta-carotene or vitamin C) that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, or free radicals." Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron which present a danger to our health. Antioxidants protect our bodies by giving free radicals the electron they’re looking for. That's right. Our skin cells oxidize in the same way that metals do. Think of the Statue of Liberty; know where she gets her distinct green color from? Oxidized copper. And that's not a good thing. So in other words, antioxidants keep molecules from oxidizing. Get it, anti-oxidant. When you think of oxidation when it comes to your skin, that means your skin cells lose their elasticity, which means more wrinkles and fine lines. In other words, antioxidants are critically important to keeping your skin strong, radiant, and ageless.
How does Benedetta incorporate nutrients like antioxidants?
While superfoods can only be consumed, there are a variety of ways to incorporate antioxidants into our everyday lives. When Julia was formulating her initial approach to skin care, she already understood the importance of a nutrient-rich delivery system. So when she created her Precious and Nourishing Antioxidant Facial Oils, she made them specifically to address environmental harm associated with depleted, unhealthy skin and aging associated with damage caused by oxidation. These oils deliver a synergy of botanical nutrients that enhances our immunity and skin strength to combat degradation at the cellular wall. Benedetta has been relentless in preaching the “protective” and “corrective” attributes of antioxidants in all of our oil-based skin nutrient preparations. From our Precious and Nourishing Facial Oils to the Visibly Radiant Moisturizers to our corrective Ombra Del Sole series, Benedetta works to deliver nutrients further into the dermis of the skin to address free radical elimination.
But more importantly, Benedetta introduces these antioxidants using bioavailable antioxidants so the skin immediately recognizes these nutrients, absorbs them, and puts them. Our acquisition of antioxidants was always intended to be as close to their earthly source as possible which feeds into our Seed to Bottle approach. Over the years Julia Faller, our Founder and Formulator, has recognized the value in many powerful extracts and other botanical compounds. In some cases, Julia even makes her own extracts and infusions from plant materials that have greater absorption than their seemingly equivalent pharmaceutical counterparts.
Nutrition in 2017
The world has changed in the last 40 years for sure thanks to forward-thinking folks and pioneers in the health food industry. We've gained easier access to an abundance of healthier choices for fresh, organic foods. If your daily diet consists of fresh, organic greens, your body may already be benefitting from the powers of superfoods. Fresh, organic greens are a fantastic, easy way to give our bodies the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
Try growing these select foods in your garden or visiting your local farmer's market for organic, locally sourced greens. Your body will thank you!
- Acai: high levels of Antioxidants and contains Iron, Calcium, fiber, and Vitamin A
- Alfalfa Grass: Alfalfa grass is rich in minerals
- Amalaki: contains high levels of Vitamin C
- Barley Grass: rich in Chlorophyll, which has many health benefits
- Beets: a great, holistic solution to detoxing our livers, but make sure to use only a small amount of beets when juicing
- Blue and Green Algae: rich in amino acids, these sea vegetables contain Chlorophyll, Beta Carotene, Potassium, Phosphorous, Biotin, Magnesium, and the B-Complex vitamins. A few examples of consumable blue and green algae include Spirulina and Chlorella powders.
- Cacao: packed with Antioxidants, Protein, and Minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and Potassium
- Carrots: a good source of Beta Carotene
- Chard (green, red, and rainbow): a great source of Vitamins K, A, and C, as well as Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, and dietary fiber
- Goji Berries: good source of Protein, Thiamin, Calcium, and Dietary Fibers, as well as Vitamins A and C, Riboflavin, and Iron
- Hemp Seeds: high fiber content, a blend of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, and are also high in Magnesium
- Kale: contains Vitamins K, A, and C, as well as many other nutrients such as B6, Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and some Fiber and Protein
- Maca Root: contains Vitamins C and E, as well as Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron
- Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) Oil: easily absorbed saturated fats that metabolize in the liver and are used for energy
- Nut Milks (almond, cashew, and hemp): dairy free alternatives to milk and a good source of Vitamin A and Calcium
- Oat Grass: a good plant source of complete protein, as well as Vitamins C and E, as well as Chlorophyll and Beta Carotene
- Pitaya (Dragon Fruit): contains Vitamin C, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (good fats), Carotene, and protein
- Sea Buckthorn: rich in Vitamins, Carotene, Flavonoids, Essential Oils, Carbohydrates, Organic Acids, Amino Acids, and minerals
- Spinach: contains Vitamins B and E, as well as Potassium, Zinc, Fiber, Protein, and Omega-3’s
- Turmeric: an excellent source of Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin C, and Magnesium
One of these increasingly popular forward-thinking approaches to nutrition is juicing. Juicing changed from buying a juicer or getting juice at local juice stand to prepackaged “pressed” juice bars or grab-n-go from most grocery stores. I still feel the best juice is that which is made fresh in your kitchen. So here is one of my favorite recipes that I call Spicy Detox Anti-inflammatory Juice. You can cut the recipe in half, as 16oz is quite a jolt if you are new to juicing. I suggest small sips with a water chaser, and adding a granny smith apple will give it a tarter, sweeter taste as well.
Spicy Detox Anti-Inflammatory Juice
- Ginger (5" root)
- Celery (3 stalks)
- Tumeric (3" root)
- Beet (1/2)
- Burdock Root (10" root, peeled)
- Kale (1 small bunch)
- Carrot (4 stalks)
Juice together, strain, and enjoy!
Here is to your radiant skin and your vibrant health!
From my heart to yours,