4 Things We Can Learn About Clear Skin From This Beautiful Country
Well we’re more than half way through the Rio Summer Olympics and I’ll admit, I’m not a sports fan and have not been following it one bit. But I do love Rio and have been thinking, Hey! Those beautiful Brazilians can seriously teach us a lot about clear acne-free skin.
I travelled to the Amazon and Rio last year and got to experience these natural and yummy treats for reals – no matter where you live, you can get a taste of Brazilian beauty too!
How Coconut Water Gives Us Clear Skin
Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is the thin juice that can be poured out from inside a fresh coconut.
It naturally hydrates and moisturizes skin without making it greasy – it’s important to keep even oily and acne-prone skin hydrated, as dry skin with produce excessive amounts of sebum in an attempt to balance it out.
We’ve all heard about coconut water being used to replenish electrolytes after a workout, but those electrolytes are also vitally important for good skin. Potassium, magnesium and manganese, all available in coconut water, play a role in clear skin and help keep it alkaline (acidic skin is a hot spot for bacterial infections like acne.)
Another plus is that coconut is one of the best natural sources of cytokinins. What the heck are those?? They’re plant compounds that promote cell growth and considerably slow the degenerative process (aka: aging) of cells. This keeps our skin cells strong, helping to shed old cells that could clog pores, replacing them with fresh new cells which will also help scars fade faster. Nice!
Here’s How To Use It
- Drink it straight if you love the taste! Avoid brands and flavours that add sugar (a single serving bottle should be no more than 9 grams of natural sugar that comes from the coconut.) Blue Monkey, Zico (tetra-pak bottles only) and Vital Juice are good ones to try.
- If you’re not super crazy about the taste, like me, then stick it in your smoothies. All the other stuff you put in there will hide the taste but still give you all the nutrition.
- Use it as a toner (those cytokinins work topically too!) Coconut water is antibacterial, smooths out the skin and can even enhance skin tone. Just dab some on a cotton ball and saturate your gorgeous face.
How Açai Gives Us Clear Skin
Açai berries come from the açai palm tree, which is native to the rainforests of Brazil.
So it any wonder that no matter where I went in Rio, there was açai in my face (in a good way)? There was even a restaurant dedicated entirely to dishes made with açai!
This Brazilian berry is one of the top antioxidant foods in the world. Antioxidants are so important for clear and acne free skin, because they fight the free radicals that damage our skin cells and clog pores (see more about antioxidants under “Brazil Nuts” below.)
Here’s How To Use It
- It can be hard to find whole açai berries outside of Brazil (maybe try your luck on Amazon?), so the next best thing is blueberries, which have a similar nutrient profile. Add them to smoothies, sprinkle on Greek yogurt or oatmeal and add them to your homemade pancakes, muffins or corn bread.
- Sambazon offers ultra convenient frozen and powdered açai – I love using the frozen stuff in my smoothies and it’s so easy to add the powder to anything and everything I eat!
- Why not add the powder to your clay face mask – just stir it in and get a dose of antioxidants on your insides and your outsides!
- Grab a ready-made açai bowl (all the rage in Rio!) at one of my favourite juice bars in Toronto, The Good Press.
How Brazil Nuts Give Us Clear Skin
Would you believe that just one serving of Brazil nuts (about 1 ounce) give us 767% of our daily requirement of selenium?* Brazil nuts are the highest source of this important acne fighting mineral (with a number like 767%, I would hope so!)
Not only is selenium yet another potent antioxidant, it also increases the body’s overall antioxidant levels by serving as a cofactor for other antioxidants, especially vitamin E, improving their effectiveness, helping them to fight free radicals even harder and even regenerating those antioxidants that have been previously used, so they can be used again (hello recycling!)
Antioxidants come up again and again and you better believe they really are important. Oil blocks our pores, which then oxidises when it comes into contact with gross stuff like toxins in our body, pollution, sunlight, and chemicals in body care products. These things react and combine with the oil on our face to create an ideal breeding ground for acne, with even more pore clogging and inflammatory power. Gah!
Selenium also works closely with zinc (the most important clear skin nutrient), enhancing its acne fighting ability by transporting it into cells where it can do its thang.
Here’s How To Use It
- Eat them straight (they’re pretty tasty!)
- Use them as a replacement for almonds in recipes like salad dressing, granola, baked goods…whatever!
- Make this easy DIY Brazil nut milk yourself at home, courtesy of The Full Helping
Fresh Veggie & Fruit Juices
How Fresh Veggie & Fruit Juices Give Us Clear Skin
Little juice bars are all over Rio! I had sucos morning, noon and night while I was there.
I’m talking fresh juice, from real fruits and veggies – there’s no added sugar (provided you tell the barista not to add it!), natural flavours and other fillers.
Clearly, fresh juice is an easy way to get tons of skin friendly vitamins and minerals in one concentrated shot.
In Rio, it’s super easy to get cool exotic fruits like caju, passionfruit, caja, lychee and graviola (I feel so tropical just writing these down!), but any type of veggie and fruit will do – they’re all packed with amazing nutrients for our skin.
Here’s How To Use It
- Invest in a juicer and make your own at home (look out for my upcoming blog post about how to build a proper acne fighting juice!) Use organic produce as much as possible to avoid toxic pesticides. Access to exotic Amazonian fruits is limited in other parts of the world, but no worries – juicing any and all fruits and veggies will make your skin happy!
- Check out your local juice bar (click here for some of my favourites in Toronto)
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PS – if you haven’t heard yet, I recently released the second edition of my eBook “Food For Your Face: Clearing Your Skin From The Outside”, full of easy DIY beauty product recipes that you can make at home with food that’s probably already sitting in your kitchen. Food For Your Face eBook Sample and buy it now by clicking here!