The Top-Ten Absolute-Best-Ever-Anti-Oxidant-Rich, Skin-Beautifying Foods

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the goods that will be found in my upcoming book, Chill Out and Get Healthy. Shhhhh!

Hands down, the following are my top-10 absolute-best-ever-anti-oxidant-rich, skin-beautifying-must-eat-daily-foods. They’re nature’s anti-aging rock stars that battle wrinkles, pimples, sun damage, cellulite and wattly neck horrors! Eat these foods regularly, organic when possible. I recommend getting in at least one of these foods each day of the week (and you can eat a small handful of nuts or flaxseeds EVERY day of the week). Mix it up, rotate them, follow my serving size advice and don’t overdo it. Remember: too much of a good thing isn’t always good.

1. Avocados: An avocado a day keeps the premature aging demons away. This luscious fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is the highest in the anti-wrinkle, anti-pimple, anti-cellulite, vitamin E department. If that weren’t enough, the avocado is also a prime source of the antioxidant glutathione, an antioxidant that’s responsible for deterring the development of skin cancer. Eat three to four avocados a week; put them in your salads, your protein shakes or some homemade. Don’t worry about the fat, it’s good for you and it’s amazing for your skin.

2. Green Tea: Green tea is skin’s best friend. It’s loaded with polyphenols which protect your skin from inflammation associated with exposure to ultraviolet light, and helps prevent skin cancer! Have a cup of organic green tea every day. Good brands to buy are: TAZO and YOGI. Or go to a local tea shoppe and buy organic green tea in bulk.

3. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are an all-around anti-aging nutritional goddess. They are packed with vitamins C and E and are one of nature’s greatest sources of beta-carotene. According to a study published in the European Journal of Dermatology, beta-carotene’s ability to absorb light may protect skin by minimizing sunburn. Once digested, beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, a nutrient that plays a major role in promoting healthy skin. Vitamin A is critical to maintaining skin integrity in addition to warding off wrinkle-causing oxidative stress. Without it, skin becomes rough, dry and scaly. Eat a sweet potato at least once per week, roasted, baked, sautéd or pureed in a soup. And while you’re at it, add a dab of organic butter or ghee.

4. Blueberries: Blueberries are bite-sized antioxidant and anti-cancer machines. To boot- they’re high in vitamin C, which is instrumental for the synthesis of collagen, one of the skin’s major structural wrinkle fighting proteins. We love ANYTHING that promotes natural collagen synthesis! When in season, eat a cup of fresh blueberries daily. When not in season buy frozen organic blueberries and make a smoothie.

5. Goji Berries: These little guys have been a part of Chinese Medicine’s herbal regimen for thousands of years! They are the uber-antioxidant with 500 times the vitamin C per ounce than oranges. Goji berries also contain linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that plumps up the skin and makes it look smooth, supple and youthful. Go Goji. A handful of goji berries each day is plenty. No need to overdo it.

6. Flaxseeds: This seed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to amazing skin. Omega-3 fatty acids also contain the essential fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which helps keep skin smooth and pliable. Flaxseed is the best source of plant omega-3 fats (although fish, specifically fish oil, is the best over-all source of omega-3’s). Remember what I said in my blog earlier this week about flax seeds. Sprinkle them on your favorite foods like your organic steel cut oatmeal, your full-fat organic yogurt or in your fruit smoothies. You can eat a tablespoon or two of flaxseeds daily.

7. Tomatoes: Not only are tomatoes rich in collagen-building vitamin C, they also contain the major antioxidant lycopene. FYI: Lycopene is also found in watermelon and ruby red grapefruit. Eat as many organic tomatoes as you want. Slice and sprinkle with organic sea salt and olive oil for an afternoon snack.

8. Walnuts: When it comes to fat, there are two kinds we need, but our body can’t make – linoleic and linolenic acids. Leave these out of your diet, and your skin will be dry and flaky- Eeewww! While most of us eat plenty of linoleic acid (found in veggies, fruit, nuts, grains, goji berries and seeds), it is a lot harder to get enough linolenic acid (found in flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, spirulina and green leafy veggies). That’s where walnuts come in. They are packed with beta-carotene and vitamin E and alpha linolenic acid, helping to keep skin soft, smooth and supple. Walnuts also contain zinc, which plays a pivotal role in healing aged and injured or acne-ridden skin. Eat a handful of walnuts a day.

9. Medicinal Mushrooms: Eat medicinal mushrooms, namely: maitake, shitake, reishi (aka ling zhi) and wood ear (aka black mushrooms). These mushrooms are kick-ass anti-aging, essence-generating foods that have been a part of the Chinese Medicine healing tradition since 200 A.D. These fantabulous fungi are used to enhance the immune system, fight off cancer and boost post-natal essence. In fact, many cancer specialists have taken to recommending medicinal mushrooms to their patients as many scientists, particularly those at Cancer Research UK, have found evidence that these foods actually do have immune-enhancing, anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Put them in your salads, sauté them with some olive oil or munch on them raw. Just eat em’!

10. Olive Oil: I remember being in Greece one summer, talking with my best girlfriend’s 80-year-old grandmother, who had the most amazingly supple and smooth skin. When I said, “You have such beautiful skin,” she smiled and said “Olive oil.” That’s it? Since the age of 14 she’s been putting only olive oil on her skin each morning and night (and of course she’s been ingesting it for longer than that). In 2001, Australian researchers concluded that individuals who consume olive oil rich diets had the most youthful looking skin. Why? It seems that olive oil’s high monounsaturated fat content keeps skin cells in tip-top shape by preventing injury to the outer shell of skin cells. Couple that with generous proportions of vitamin E, polyphenols and beta-carotene, and you’ve got an anti-aging powerhouse! So put it in your salads and then dab some on a cotton ball and put it on your clean face before you go to bed at night.

Stay tuned for more Chill Out and Get Healthy sneak peaks in the months to come…and click here to check out the book cover on amazon.com… you can even pre-order the book if you want! (note that there is an error in my credentials on the book cover, it says MD, where it should say MS… this is being fixed!)

Have a great weekend!

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