You know you need to be drinking more water, and for more than one good reason. Drinking six to eight glasses of water every day will get your skin looking healthier and more hydrated and it's vital for flushing toxins and helping to prevent blemishes. Sleepiness and fatigue can be a sign of dehydration, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. To rehydrate and revive yourself, choose water over kilojoule-filled (caloriefilled) soft drinks and other sweetened drinks. Go for filtered, spring, sparkling, natural mineral or purified water. Avoid tap water if you can because it contains chemicals (like chlorine) that aren't great for your health or your skin.
Green tea for gorgeous skin? Studies show that green tea is a powerful skin protector because of its antiinflammatory and antioxidant actions. It appears to have a hormonal effect too, as it blocks the conversion of the acne-causing hormone. Green tea also increases blood levels of the minerals zinc and selenium, which you need to help fend off and prevent acne. To top it all off, it has a calming effect on the body and the mind. Freshly brewed green tea is the way to go. Studies show that the fresh-made green tea contains up to a hundred times more antioxidants than the green tea you purchase in bottles.
And bottled tea is usually so full of sugar that it's nothing more than another 'liquid lolly' pretending to be healthy. Occasional juices, smoothies and herbal teas are good for you too, as long as you're also drinking lots of water. Carrots are bursting with beta carotene, which helps lower your skin's production of that greasy goop involved in acne. This antioxidant also helps repair skin damage and improves your skin's overall health. Other beta carotenerich foods include sweet potatoes, green leafy vegies, apricots and rockmelon (cantaloupe).
If you live for sugar, finding stand-ins for all your favourite sweet snacks can be challenging. But when it comes to being seriously sweet, naturally dried fruits like dates, raisins, apricots and figs give sugary snacks a run for their money. What's more, many dried fruits are sky high in antioxidants. One interesting study reported that figs boost the antioxidant power of blood, even 4 hours after eating them. What's particularly exciting is that figs were shown to reduce the cell damage caused by drinking a high-sugar soft drink.
If you're a chocolate lover, you'll be happy to hear that it's a true beauty booster. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Research has found that the antioxidants in dark (bittersweet) chocolate, called polyphenols, keep skin hydrated, lessen the effects of sunburn and improve skin's texture. Researchers aren't sure why, but suggest that it's because polyphenols increase blood flow to the skin. And get this: dark (bittersweet) chocolate even improves how your body responds to insulin. It's a chocoholic's dream come true. But the green light only goes for dark (bittersweet) chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains. Unfortunately, milk chocolate and white chocolate don't get the go-ahead, as they're mostly pure sugar and bad fats.
You need to look for high-quality dark (bittersweet) bars with 70 per cent or more cocoa solids or pure cocoa powder. Pure cocoa powder can be pretty bitter by itself, so you'll need to sweeten it up with some honey, xylitol, stevia or agave syrup. You can use cocoa powder to make a yummy hot cocoa. Substitute soy, rice or oat milk for cow's milk, and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. So when you're in need of a sugar fix, snack on some dried fruit, Bliss Balls or a piece of dark (bittersweet) chocolate.
Chocolate contains small amounts of phenylethylamine (PEA), a substance your brain produces when you feel happy or are in love. Eating chocolate causes the brain to release feel-good endorphins that boost your mood. It also increases the brain's level of another neurotransmitter (brain chemical) called serotonin, which also promotes positive feelings. The mild rush we get from all these neurochemicals may explain why some people say they're addicted to chocolate.
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