We all know the many health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Along with feeling good and keeping our body’s at their peak, the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants also play a huge role in our outward appearance. Summer is a perfect time to take advantage of the vast array of fresh food available to us in Australia.
My favourite fruits to eat this time of year are berries and watermelon. According to webmd.com, just one cup of berries in enough to fill your antioxidant quota for the day. A study by published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found berries are the best source of antioxidants by far. As you probably know, antioxidants are important in fighting free radicals, which cause aging, and one of the easiest signs of aging is the quality of your skin. Strawberries have high levels of vitamin C, also important for radiant skin as it assists in the production of collagen. Strawberries are also useful for external use, mashed up and used as a fresh face mask or mixed with bicarbonate soda for a natural teeth whitener. In fact, I love nature’s red heart-shaped fruit so much I even have a tattoo of one.
Watermelon is a perfect refresher on a hot day. As with berries, it is low in calories and high in vitamin C, along with potassium, lycopene, vitamin A and B6. Because most of it is water, it is very hydrating which is essential for smooth and supple skin. I love blending it and adding fresh orange juice or coconut water. Lycopene has been shown to be beneficial in warding off sunburn and sun damage caused by UV rays. It is also found in other red and pink fruits including tomatoes and pink grapefruits.
The current Holy Grail in the health world at the moment is the humble coconut. Once shunned because of its high fat content, it is now in vogue as one the healthiest foods. Along with the plethora of health benefits to the body externally, it can do wonders for your skin. It is very hydrating and can be used on the skin and hair. If your hair is in need of some TLC coconut oil can be used as a moisturising treatment. Simply massage through hair, comb and leave for several hours before shampooing and conditioning for soft and silky hair. Coconut oil is also a great natural lip balm for chapped lips, a natural massage lotion and lubricant.