LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "diet"

Spring Ahead! Why It’s Time to Freshen Up Your Skin-Care Regime

For my mother and grandmother and generations of Romanian women before them, the first day of spring has always signaled an important transition in their natural skin-care regimes. According to our Old World beauty traditions, the season of planting and cultivation is also the perfect time to concentrate on nurturing and renewing our skin.

Spring Training for Your Skin

As members of a culture strongly in tune with the rhythms of natural world, Romanian women believe in shifting the focus of their skin routine in synchrony with the changing seasons. After our wintertime exfoliation program, has sloughed off the accumulation of dead cells on the skin’s surface, we turn or attention to the delicate new skin cells that have emerged. Like the tender young seedlings in our spring garden these new skin cells require a strength-building diet to achieve and maintain robust health.

The Care and Feeding of Skin Cells

According to recent scientific research, a diet rich in superfoods, such as blueberries, nuts and seeds, green and white teas, avocados, and peppers, can help prevent premature aging and restore healthy cellular functioning in all the tissues and organs of the body, including our skin.

Superfoods That Perfect Form and Supercharge Function

The same amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that we consume to boost skin cell health from within can also beautify and strengthen our skin from the outside. Skin care products made from certified organic extracts and natural plant-derived ingredients are a safe, effective solution to the damage that environmental stresses and the passage of time inflict on our complexions. In my upcoming posts, I’ll discuss some the specific nutrients that will help you not only shape up your skin for spring but also keep it in the pink all year-round and at every age.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net







Green Sugar Part 2: Traditional Food of the Goddesses

During a recent visit to India, I was struck by the vibrant energy and youthful appearance of so many of the older women I saw. They looked like walking advertisements for India’s legendary Ayurvedic health and beauty secrets. Despite their aura of mystery, the underlying mechanisms of these ancient treatments are proving to be anything but magical. In fact, the latest scientific research suggests India’s ancient holistic healers may have invented the world’s first anti-aging diet.

A Holistic Diet for Balanced Health

Unlike the typical fad diet, an Ayurvedic eating plan isn’t about temporarily  excluding certain categories of food. It strives instead to permanently sustain the optimal balance of physical tendencies in each individual by including a full range of food types—sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent, and sweet—in every major meal.

You have to love a culture that considers dessert essential! In India’s tropical regions, traditional desserts like kheer (rice pudding) are considered one of the best ways to cool the body. The source of this refreshing quality, also gives Indian sweets their intriguingly complex flavor—a little like molasses or brown sugar, yet ultimately indefinable—as well as some surprising nutritional benefits.

Jaggery: The Green Bonuses

Also known as “medicinal sugar,” jaggery is prized through Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean as not only a healthful food, but also a soothing remedy for coughs and other ailments. Produced by cooking sugarcane or the sweet sap of date, coconut, or sago palm trees, jaggery’s golden-brown crystals retain more vitamins, amino acids, and phytonutrients than chemically extracted sugars—and no toxic residues. The purity and wholesomeness of date palm jaggery is particularly revered among Hindus, who consider it a worthy gift for their deities.

How does this shining reputation stand up under modern scientific scrutiny? Compared to refined sugar, jaggery’s  nutritional value looks pretty impressive:

* A motherlode of minerals, including iron, magnesium, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, is packed in every bite. From regulating blood sugar levels and boosting cell metabolism to promoting healthy circulation, these vital nutrients keep all physiological functions in peak form.

* Anti-aging assets The antioxidant compounds in jaggery help counteract free radical damage from aging, sun exposure, and environmental pollutants. Its established use by industrial workers to relieve smoke- and dust-related respiratory symptoms—together with research findings on its effectiveness in preventing coal-induced throat and lung lesions—underscore jaggery’s potential as a healing agent.

The Golden Mean of Anti-Aging: Consume Moderately, Live Longer

As with all of life’s riches, however, moderate consumption is key. Minimally processed plant sugars like jaggery are smart alternatives to highly refined carbohydrates—not an excuse for overindulging an overactive sweet tooth.

Photos Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Green Sugar Part 1: Are All Sweeteners Created Equal?

Sugars and Sweeteners

Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

Physicians, diet experts, and beauty gurus agree: refined sugar is the enemy of graceful aging. If you want to stave off wrinkles, weight gain, fatigue, and age-related diseases, then start by replacing all those empty calories you consume with real nutrition.

A Sweet Life After “White Death”

While this anti-aging prescription might sound like a bitter pill to swallow, a spoonful of nutritional awareness—and a trip to your local Asian market or health food store—can make it a lot easier to take. Today’s expanding green marketplace offers a number of naturally delicious plant-derived sweeteners that ancient holistic traditions and emerging scientific research suggest are not only far less toxic to our bodies than refined sugar, but even beneficial to our health.

The Beauty of Whole-Food Sugar

As for the old saw that sugar is sugar regardless of what you call it, there’s a good deal of evidence that throws that nutritional wisdom into question. Although the jury is still out on claims that honey, molasses, and their more exotic counterparts release energy into the bloodstream more gradually than refined sucrose and high-fructose corn, scientific research does suggest the effect of minimally processed sugars on blood glucose levels is balanced by their green bonuses.

Not only do the simple cooking methods used to produce these more complex sugars leave most of their nutritional content intact—heat derivation is a far safer than chemical extraction. Obviously, the phosphoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and bleaches used to manufacture those sparkling white granules and crystal-clear syrups are anything but pure and innocent.

Why Less Isn’t Always More

But what about no- or reduced-calorie sugar substitutes like aspartame? Confirmed waist-watchers who think artificial sweeteners are the best way to avoid empty calories should consider the other negatives of sugar’s synthetic cousins. From headaches and other side effects to increased risk of cancer and neurological damage, the numerous health hazards of nonnutritive sweeteners are hardly a positive alternative to white sugar’s potentially deadly effects.

And while these chemical concoctions only remind of us of sugar, the traditional Asian sweeteners I’ll discuss in my upcoming spots add a deep, rich flavor that may even surpass it.

Putting Healthy Color in Your Skin: The Beauty of Phytonutrients

Oranges and Lavie Organique for your skin

Oranges and Skin Health. Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

One of the best ways to keep your complexion in the pink is also one of the simplest. Head straight for the produce section of your local supermarket and load up your cart with oranges. And while you’re at it, pick up plenty of greens, yellows, whites, reds, blues, and purples, too.

The Glow That Keeps Going: No Blushers, Bronzers, or Pink Tattoos Required

Each of the various pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant hues is made up of a different collection of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are antioxidant compounds that protect plants—and the people who eat them—against the free radical damage caused by excessive sun exposure, infections, and other environmental stresses.

The Brighter the Better
To help defend your skin against free radical damage, you need to regularly consume adequate doses of a full range of phytonutrients. That means your daily diet should include fruits and vegetables in each of the different color families. And whether you’re choosing peaches or tomatoes, always go for the most richly colored pieces in the produce bin. High-intensity color signals a high concentration of phytonutrients.

A Full Spectrum of Skin Benefits

Phytonutrients go to work beneath the surface of the skin to combat the visible effects of aging. By promoting the strength and suppleness of the collagen and elastin fibers in the underlying dermis, these energetic free radical fighters help stave off the wrinkles, lines, sags, and enlarged pores that can make us look old before our time. Phytonutrients also help skin retain its youthful firmness by increasing the stability of cellular membranes. Another key benefit is their ability to improve blood flow to the skin.

Include a varied palette of plant pigments in your diet to nourish your skin with these vital phytonutrients:

  • Polyphenols (flavonoids) such as the anthocyanidins found in the deep blues and purples of fruits like grapes and blueberries enhance circulatory health. Other flavonoids including those found in red peppers also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Carotenoids including beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene protect against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Yellow/orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes; leafy greens like kale and spinach; and tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables are good sources.
  • Allicin and quercetin are two of the important phytonutrients found in healthy white foods including garlic, apples, and onions. In addition to their antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, these compounds help boost collagen production.

To take full advantage of the rejuvenating power of phytonutrients, revitalize your complexion with a steady diet of plant-based organic skin care products. Any way you slice it, a healthy daily dose of these plant-derived nutrients is the perfect meal for your  skin.