Some say natural health and beauty is an inside job. "You are what you eat," stands true, of course, but what you use on the outside is also important. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola in his book Take Control of Your Health, your personal products and the manufactured ingredients found within them pose a higher risk to your health than first imagined. Anything you use on your body also deserves scrutiny, according to Mercola.
Active ingredients in consumer products are taken up by the bloodstream through their use. Parabens and sodium laurel or laureth sulfates are two examples of common substances found in many beauty products that may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and neurotoxic (brain toxins). With this in mind, why not build your natural health beauty from the inside out? Read on for easily accessible superfoods that will help get that job done.
1) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has myriad beauty benefits, both when internalized and used for the skin, externally. When taken internally, coconut oil contains a healthy combination of medium-chain fatty acids (including lauric, capric, and myristic) that boost healthy cholesterol levels (HDL), lowering your risk of heart disease. Fatty acids of this variety are also known to promote fat burning and give the body an energy surge. Aim for one teaspoon per day to begin. After two weeks, raise your levels gradually to two teaspoons daily, according to healthline.com.
When used externally, coconut oil is a marked beauty-enhancer. For dry and damaged hair, coconut oil adds moisture and on-contact frizz control. As a makeup remover, coconut oil's fatty acids easily remove waterproof makeup. It is gentle enough for use on the delicate eye area, as well. Also, use coconut oil directly on the face as an exfoliating scrub. It also adds moisture to skin when applied as a night cream, or it provides a healthy glow to the surface of the face or body when combined with your existing moisturizer.
2) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is known for its weight loss and immune-stimulating properties. Aloe vera is antioxidant rich and may bolster the immune system. It also contains amino acids, enzymes, and sterols which enhance the metabolism and could assist the body to lose weight. To make a juice, blend the gel with a fruit of your choice to sweeten or add honey and lemon to taste. The liquid or smoothie can be consumed daily to improve digestion according to food.ndtv.com.
As an external beauty enhancer, Aloe vera is excellent for the skin. It contains vitamins A, B, C, and E and a carbohydrate called "acemannan" to nourish and brighten the complexion of the outer, epithelial level. For this reason, and with its antiviral and antibacterial properties, it may be used to treat acne or dry, sensitive skin. Its antioxidant properties serve to brighten the complexion; use it as a scrub by mixing the gel with sugar and lemon juice. Also, the gel or Aloe-based product can be applied directly to all skin types in both winter and summer.
3) Spirulina and Chlorella
Commercially available in a combination tablet or powder form, the blue-green algae, spirulina, and green algae, chlorella, when taken internally, have a host of health and beauty benefits. Regarding beauty, both greens are chock full of vegan proteins. Proteins are paramount in the growth of healthy skin, hair, and nails. The proteins found in the greens also contain antioxidant properties; these combat the free radicals of the body which cause premature aging and cell damage created by the byproducts of metabolism.
For overall health, spirulina and chlorella pack a punch. They work together to detoxify the body of heavy metals accumulated from the environment. In turn, detoxification may positively affect the liver and work to eliminate toxins and reduce fat stores. Also, the greens may work to by stimulating the immune system, helping the body lose weight, regulating blood sugar, and regulating blood pressure levels according to healthybeing.com. Take greens daily as a powder or supplement; a recommended dosage is three tablespoons daily (or an equivalent) to start.
4) Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is the combination of nectar, honey, and plant pollens to create a natural beauty superfood. It is taken as a supplement or added to many commercial cosmetics. In early China, bee pollen was used to enhance beauty as a whitening agent for the skin and remains a beauty agent for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties. According to research, over 70 percent of the substances of bee pollen are active cultures. These include carbohydrates, lipids, fatty acids, and vitamins that encourage its natural anti-aging properties when used internally or directly on the skin.
More exciting news about bee pollen, it is under research for its many beneficial skin properties. In a recent study documented by the National Institutes of Health, bee pollen demonstrated much promise with protective benefits. It may insulate the skin against premature aging, drying, and oxidative damaging due to free radicals. It may protect against ultraviolet B radiation, inflammation, and prevention of skin cancers. Since recommended treatment is still new, there is no ideal dosage; many begin with 1/8 teaspoon of bee pollen granules each day.
5) Wolfberries (Goji Berries)
As a natural-based medicine, "wolfberries" and "Goji berries" are synonymous with the Chinese berry, Gou Qi Zi. They are used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and have been for thousands of years. Wolfberries serve as a top grade herb that offers health benefits with no harm. For beauty and health, the berries are consumed raw or consumed as a tea. Wolfberry's most remarkable recorded advantages include the support of the eyes and skin, according to one study documented through the National Institutes of Health.
Other health benefits of wolfberries may include the prevention of some cancers. The wolfberries may work to support the immune system and keep the body free from colds, flu, and other diseases. Wolfberries are also thought to improve regulation of blood sugar, improve mood as it pertains to depression, and improve sleeping patterns. Wolfberries are promoted to strengthen the liver which aids in the body's detoxification.
Natural health and beauty is a lifestyle promoted popularly. With a bit of self-education, it is easy to add their benefits to your healthcare arsenal. As always, however, do your research and speak to your health care professional with all changes. Add only one thing new at a time and see how your body responds. Give due diligence to your natural health and beauty standards, stay away from toxic chemicals and add natural superfoods to your regimen—you are sure to be healthy and beautiful for many years to come!
(c) 2019 Laura M. Turner