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Food & Beauty:The Best Beauty Foods, Part I

By admin | March 27, 2012

Photo: Pan Pacific

By: Allana Mortell

I will never forget the first time I walked into a beauty salon. I was eight and dragged along to watch my mom get her haircut. To reach the upstairs salon, we had to first walk through the spa. As I turned the corner too quickly, I almost ran smack-dab into an employee carrying a whole tray of sliced cucumbers.  I figured they were for a snack. I quickly realized I was wrong when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an elderly woman lying on her back with her feet up, hair wrapped in a towel with two slices of cucumbers covering each eye.

I didn’t know it then, but those cucumbers were working magic on what I could only assume to be, a pair of very puffy eyes. Cucumbers, along with a plethora of other fruits, vegetables and pantry items you possibly have lying around your house, are not only beneficial for your health but for your beauty as well. There are plenty of at-home remedies, masks, scrubs and the like you can create just by going through your refrigerator. These days, finding at-home remedies that actually work is like finding a five-dollar bill on the street. It’s unexpected and always welcome!

So just which foods can also be used to enhance your beauty? Here’s a list of ingredients (and tips of their use) that can work as beautifiers that you just may have lying in your pantry or fridge.

Cucumbers

With their high water content, cucumbers are perfect for soothing the under-eye bags so many of us often deal with, remedying with expensive creams that don’t even work. Placing cucumber slices over your eyes adds a zap of moisture, instantly waking those tired eyes right up!

Cucumber as an exfoliant: Peel 1 cucumber, mash it and place in a strainer to drain the water. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix well together. Apply the mixture to your face for ten minutes and wash off, revealing a much smoother and fresh-looking face.

Bananas

With the high amount of fiber content, bananas are huge sources of immediate and prolonged energy. They have two times as many carbohydrates as an apple, five times as much Vitamin A and iron and three times as much phosphorus. Combined, these factors help classify bananas as a “superfood” integral to a balanced diet.

Banana as moisturizer: Mash 1/2 of a ripe banana and combine with 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1-tablespoon honey. Apply all over face and neck area for ten minutes before rinsing.

Avocados

Ranked by the Guinness Book of Worlds Records as one of the most nutritious fruits in the world, there shouldn’t be any reason you’re not eating avocados on the daily. Not only do they taste great but you guessed it- they’re delicious for your body too! Rich in Vitamin A, C, E and K, they also boost healthy fats that are good for your heart and skin. Additionally, avocado oil protects better against UVA and UVB rays more effectively than other plant-based oils.

Avocado hair mask: To add shine and body to your luscious locks, mix a mashed avocado with an egg yolk and a tablespoon of olive oil. Apply to your hair and cover with a plastic cap for 20-30 minutes before rinsing out and shampooing.

Hibiscus

Known for its tightening effects on the skin, hibiscus contains a firming agent, which not only calms the skin but smoothes out wrinkles as well. Rich in AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and amino acids, hibiscus tightens the skin without stripping away any natural oils.

In terms of ingesting hibiscus, one of the best ways to do so is through sipping hibiscus tea. Known to be effective for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, the University of Maryland Medical Center recently recommended steeping 2 tablespoons of dried hibiscus in 1 cup of water to drink or instead, to use hibiscus that is already bagged.

Oatmeal

The benefits of incorporating oatmeal into your daily routine are enormous. For starters, eating oatmeal lowers cholesterol, boosts your immune system, contains antioxidants for heart protection, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers risk of diabetes and has even been proven to prevent breast cancer.  In terms of your skin, oatmeal contains beta-gleans, skin soothing nutrients that also have an extreme tightening effect on the skin.

Oatmeal face mask : Combine 2 tablespoons oatmeal and1 tablespoon baking soda with a touch of water to make a paste. Apply to face and all over skin, rub gently and rinse. This mask will work particularly well for those with sensitive skin as well.

Stay tuned for Part II of Food & Beauty for more tips on beautification.

Photo: ppacificvancouver

For more food tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

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