Vegetables make us fitter, healthier and more attractive – and we don’t necessarily have to eat them to benefit from their marvellous properties.
Why Are Vegetables So Good For Us?
Vegetables contain certain antioxidants and nutrients that cannot be obtained in any other way. These nutrients include:
- Beta‐carotene which helps keep the skin healthy and is found in carrots and pumpkins as well as in leafy vegetables, the darker the better.
- Vitamin C which we tend to relate to citrus fruits, but which is also located in sweet peppers and broccoli – it’s vital to help skin repair and to give the dermis the tools to fight free radicals which harm the skin and lead to wrinkles and premature ageing.
- Vitamin A is essential to the creation of new cells which rejuvenate the hair and skin. A lack of vitamin A causes dull skin and can make acne worse – find it in spinach, kale, and broccoli.
- Vitamin E is another antioxidant that prevents UV damage, helping the skin to avoid age marks and liver spots as well as keeping hair shiny. It’s easily found in avocados and leafy green vegetables and in pumpkin seeds which make a marvellous snack.
A recent survey carried out at the University of Nottingham also suggests that carotenoids (nutrients found in carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, melons, spinach and kale) have a profound effect on our attractiveness to other people. The study was reported in Evolution and Human Behaviour and revealed that the healthy glow produced by carotenoid rich vegetables appealed more to viewers than a sun‐tan did.
The skin colour was found preferable by people who looked at a range of photographs of people with normal skin, tanned skin and carotenoid rich skin. Those who viewed the images consistently selected the carotenoid‐intense skin colour, saying that they found it healthier looking and more attractive. This improved skin tone is available to all of us if we simply eat more carotenoid high vegetables and fruit.
Juicing For Beauty
Juicing is a way of breaking down the sometimes indigestible form of certain fruits and vegetables to enhance their nutritional availability.
A simple complexion enhancer to start you on the juicing track is to juice grapes and strawberries in the proportion of two‐thirds grapes to one third strawberries by volume.
Once you’re used to drinking fruit juices, you can move onto a vegetable juice that works to clear the skin of impurities and delivers vast amounts of carotenoids and Vitamin E to revitalise and rejuvenate the complexion. Try juicing broccoli and/or spinach, three medium sized carrots, a celery stick and an apple.
Vegetable Masks And Treatments
Topical application is the term used for applying a substance to the area needing to be treated. There are some doubts about the role of some elements in topical application as there are few scientifically demonstrable trials that reveal benefits to topical application in many circumstances. New products in this area are termed ‘cosmeceuticals’ as they are cosmetics preparations but claim pharmaceutical results. Vitamins, herbs, oils and botanical extracts all feature in cosmeceutical products but they are not considered active ingredients and are not tested by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA.
However, there are many traditional recipes worldwide that attest to the power of certain vegetables, fruits and plant extracts when applied to the skin, and these folk remedies, as they are often called, are frequently the basis for sophisticated cosmetic treatments. It can be simple and effective to replicate their effects at home.
Cucumber Face Mask
Cucumber is a product famous for the way it moisturises and reduces swelling. It has health benefits as a food as it contains antioxidants and its high water content makes it a moisturising food to eat. As a facial treatment it has often been used with milk to soothe stressed skin and to reduce puffiness in the eyes.
Cucumber Mask Recipe
Peel a cucumber and slice, reserving two slices from the centre of the cucumber. Blend the cucumber with a teaspoon of honey one of milk or natural yoghurt. Spread over the face, avoiding the eyes and mouth and place to two remaining slices over the eyes. Relax for up to thirty minutes before washing away the mask with tepid water and patting the skin dry.
Tomato Face Mask
Tomatoes are not normally seen as a face mask ingredient, but they have wonderful brightening and clarifying properties.
Tomato Mask Recipe
This simple but effective mask tightens and brightens the skin and acts as a natural bleach, reducing the redness of skin and damping down age marks. Skin a tomato and remove the pips, blend the flesh a teaspoon of honey to make a paste and apply to the face and/or backs of hands. Avoid the delicate eye and mouth area of the face and remove after fifteen minutes by wiping away with tissues before rinsing the face with cool water.