by Shannon Young, nutritionist at THR1VE
Sleepless nights and hectic days can really take a toll on your skin. However, there are plenty of functional and delicious ingredients that can lend a helping hand. A smoothie is a great way to get in lots of nutrients, especially if you’re short on time. Just blitz up and get set to glow – no expensive eye cream required!
If you’re spending lots of time outdoors with the kids, berries are a must-have in your next blend. They contain ellagic acid – an antioxidant found in some fruits, vegetables and nuts, especially raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and pomegranates. Ellagic acid has a photoprotective effect, which is essentially a process that helps our skin cope with damage caused by sunlight. It works to protect against UV damage in two ways. It blocks enzymes that break down collagen in damaged skin cells and it helps reduce inflammation. This all adds up to fresher, younger-looking skin.
This warming spice contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that will get your skin glowing. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants that can help slow down skin aging. Recent research found cinnamaldehyde, the compound in cinnamon responsible for its flavour and smell, is effective against bacteria and promotes the growth of fibroblasts, a cell type that is important for wound healing. It’s really worth adding a sprinkle – it will add a nice natural sweetness to your smoothie, too.
Cacao has a host of beauty-boosting benefits and adds a delicious chocolate flavour to your mix. It’s really a win-win situation! Research has found cacao can boost skin health by increasing blood flow and improving skin density. It can also improve natural hydration and elasticity. Polyphenol antioxidants found in cacao belong to the same group of antioxidants as green tea. These antioxidants protect the cells from premature oxidation or destruction – keeping you looking younger for longer. The key is to use a 100% raw cacao powder, rather than a processed cocoa powder with added sugars – check the label carefully.
Your skin will love a big handful of greens blitzed in your daily smoothie! This is because greens have alkalising and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight free radicals which can arise through excessive exposure to environmental pollutants and UV rays or just as part of the aging process. Free radicals can result in the breakdown of the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. When this happens, you can lose skin elasticity and wrinkles form. Sure, there’s only so much a bunch of kale can do, but adding extra antioxidants to your diet where possible can certainly help ease the impact.
Collagen plays a major role in tissue repair, regeneration and elasticity of the skin. As we age, there is a natural decline in epidermal collagen, resulting in a loss of smoothness, firmness and resilience in skin. Apart from the natural aging process, the three biggest enemies of collagen regeneration are smoking, sun and sugar. Foods like bone broth, eggs and meat cuts that are close to the bone all contain collagen. However, you probably don’t want to add these to your delicious chocolate berry blend. Instead, let your body do the work. Adding foods rich in vitamin C and essential fatty acids supports the body’s natural process of collagen formation. Think: spinach, kiwi fruits, avocado, chia seeds and berries. Want to boost your collagen intake? You can purchase supplements that contain collagen that are perfect for smoothies!