When we think of healthy diets, we often think about them in terms of how they effect the body's major organ systems. For instance, our immune, circulatory and digestive systems. However, the food we eat can also have a significant impact on the body's largest organ system, the skin.
I'm close to entering into my final year in my 40's (what??!!) and I can't help but notice how rapidly my own skin is changing. Signs of aging, lines and wrinkles... they're a real thing now. While I can't undo the damage that's already been done to my skin (hello 80's and aluminum foil), I can certainly try to prevent any further damage from occurring.
Some lessons I've had to learn the hard way, and one of them was learning how to properly take care of my skin. I'm trying to teach my teenage daughter the importance of proper skin health NOW, so she can avoid some of the mistakes I made in my younger years. From using non-toxic sunscreen to choosing non-toxic beauty products (we use Beautycounter), it's never too early to think about taking care of your skin. But, it's not just about the products you put on your face and body.
Boosting your intake of certain nutrients can be it's own "fountain of youth".
Nutrition can play a key role in helping to reduce the signs of aging, dry lines and wrinkles.
I'm sure you've heard a lot about antioxidants.
Plant-foods contain a multitude of them.
But one particularly powerful antioxidant called lycopene, has been shown to be beneficial for the skin. High levels of lycopene are found in fruits and vegetables that have a reddish/pink hue (watermelons, guava, papaya and tomatoes for example).
Studies suggest that maintaining high levels of lycopene in the blood may help boost collagen production, as well as protect the skin against damage caused by the sun and environmental pollutants.
In addition to antioxidants, skin cells need certain fatty acids to help them hold on to water and stay hydrated (reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles). Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are types of essential fatty acids that help keep cells hydrated, as well as promote skin cell growth and repair. We can obtain them in a plant-based diet in the form of nuts and seeds, like sunflower and hemp (seeds I used in this week's recipe).
With this recent heat wave, my skin was in need of help from all the above. So, I decided to make this salad for lunch this weekend, for a boost of all these key nutrients.
Sometimes the best meals are made of only one or two ingredients that are in season and at their best, like these heirloom tomatoes and basil! Perfectly ripe, juicy and fresh from the farmers market!
You'll be sporting a healthy glow not only because this salad is good for your skin, but because it's delicious, light, refreshing, AND it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare! What's better than that in the summer?!
Heirloom Tomato and Basil Seed Salad
- about 4-5 heirloom tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- pink himalayan salt or other coarse salt
- dash of pepper
- handful fresh basil roughly chopped
- Remove stems and slice tomatoes lengthwise.
- Sprinkle tomatoes with seeds.
- Season with salt, pepper and fresh basil.