4 Superfoods for Better Skin

Guess what day it is. Guess.. what.. day.. it.. is.. Hump Daaaayyyy!

Happy Hump Day everyone!

A little background about me

Today, I had an appointment with my doctor to follow up with some medicine that I was prescribed to help my PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). In short, it’s a condition where one’s ovaries develop cysts and then your body produces more of the male hormone than normal. This starts all sorts of fun havoc (sarcasm detected). It causes extra facial and body hair to grow, horrible period symptoms (I basically got* the flu every month, yay…), acne, weight gain, decreases your chance to get pregnant in the future, and increases your chance to develop diabetes.

If you’re wondering what all this has to do with superfoods for your skin, hang on, we’re getting there!

With my family’s history with diabetes, I felt medication was necessary to nip the symptoms in the bud so that I don’t carry on that legacy. Keep in mind that this is type 1 diabetes, the genetic one, not the diet-related type 2 (this is very important to distinguish).

At the beginning of January (before going vegan), my doctor prescribed metformin (a diabetic medicine) and a water pill (to help the acne and hair growth). This is probably more information than you wanted to know about me, but oh well, you’re still reading so something about this must be interesting.

Anyway, today was my follow up appointment. All is well. My symptoms are slowly decreasing and it helps that I have gone vegan and that I am getting more exercise.

But the really unfortunate thing is that, as a result of my PCOS, this very unsightly acne-like rash on my neck has appeared. It has persisted for the past month and a half despite my attempts to make it go away.

Vitamin E Oil - I also used it topically and in my hair!

Vitamin E Oil – I also used it topically and in my hair!

At first, I treated it like acne. I applied acne medicine (prescription grade stuff), kept it really clean, etc. Then, upon visiting urgent care two weeks later, the doc told me to use hydrocortisone cream. That didn’t help either.

I then had another appointment a week later because it wasn’t getting better. It had started to itch by then and I had to wear a scarf everywhere I went. That doctor prescribed me an antibiotic ointment (I told him I didn’t want to inhibit my very healthy gut with oral antibiotics). He said that I probably came in contact with something irritating and the skin on my neck was very vulnerable. This irritation then developed into an infection. The ointment was reducing the redness, but the rash still wasn’t going away.

Then, fast forward to today, 5 weeks after the rash appeared. It hasn’t gotten any better other than not itching anymore. Now, my doctor says to use Vitamin E cream (or oil) on it and treat it like acne because at this point it’s probably just inflammation and the infection is most likely gone.

Which brings me to this post’s purpose. In an effort to alleviate my skin problems from the inside out (with food), I decided to make a “superfood smoothie.”

Warning: This is not a smoothie to drink every day and it really doesn’t taste all that amazing either. But if you’re having some skin issues, this smoothie may help. I’ll explain each ingredient’s purpose below the recipe, and all the nutritional info is at the  bottom of this post.

Recipe

Ingredients (try not to wince):

8 baby carrots

1/3 cup of raw, unsalted peanuts**

5 drops of Vitamin E oil (Vitamin World has this)

10 (about) grape tomatoes

1 mango

1 cup of spinach

3 fresh mint leaves, no stems

1 cup of rice/almond/soy milk

1 cup of water

1/2 tbsp of coconut sugar (or organic cane sugar)

Who knew that peanuts were good for skin health? Now you do!

Who knew that peanuts were good for skin health? Now you do!

Directions:

In a blender, pulse baby carrots and peanuts until well-ground. Do these first and separate from everything else so that you don’t have big chunks of the hard ingredients. Add tomatoes, mango flesh (no skin, obviously), vitamin e oil, spinach, mint leaves, rice milk, and water. Blend until nice and smooth. Then add coconut sugar and blend for about 10 seconds on low. Enjoy!(?)

**The texture might be a little gritty. To avoid this, use freshly made peanut butter instead of raw peanuts, approximately 1/4 cup of peanut butter to replace 1/3 cup of peanuts.

Purposes

Carrots have a ton of vitamin A which promotes cell growth. Vitamin A is also good for the treatment of acne and other skin conditions, including wrinkles.

Peanuts contain a lot of good-for-you vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E (good for healthy skin), folate, and all the B vitamins, with the exception of B12.

The tomatoes were just one of the oddball ingredients in this smoothie. They are high in vitamin A and C. Vitamin C, of course, is good for healthy skin and an overall good immune system.

The mango was another vitamin c-rich ingredient in this smoothie. I also added it to add sweetness where there wasn’t much.

Spinach has been shown to be a good skin superfood. It has a crap ton of vitamin K, which isn’t really related to skin directly but has other properties, like preventing bleeding. Which is good, right? It also has been seen to reduce the likelihood of cancer-cell growth. Go, spinach!

Mint leaves were added to punch up the flavor. They add little to no nutritional value.

The rice milk that I buy is enriched with B12, A, D, and calcium.

The coconut sugar was added to sweeten it up a bit.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist. This post is based on my body’s needs and you should listen to your body for its needs. Please keep in mind that not all vitamins are created equal. There are fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Usually, you can eat however much you want of water-soluble vitamins because the excess will just come out in your urine. But, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fat cells and aren’t flushed out. You should consult a physician before eating (or drinking) too many of them.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 690
Carbs: 105g
Fiber: 13.6g
Starch: 2.3g
Sugar: 77.3g
Fat: 25.9g (good fat from the peanuts)
Protein: 17.7g
Vitamins, percent of daily value
B12: 63
B1: 43
B2: 27
B3: 65
B5: 38
B6: 62
A: 88
C: 224
D: 50
E: 1843 (yes, this is percent)
K: 197
Copper: 122
Iron: 30
Magnesium: 51
Manganese: 90
Phosphorus: 62
Potassium: 33
Selenium: 11
Sodium: 14
Zinc: 29

Source: CRON-O-Meter 

*I use the past tense for my symptoms of my periods because I no longer have periods (waaayyyy too much information for you). It has nothing to do with me being vegan. I have Mirena and after about 4 months, I stopped having periods (which is normal for women with Mirena).

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