For the upcoming issue of Urban Eyes in That’s, I’m doing all about beauty. Skincare secrets, best hair stylists in town. All those fabulous tips and tricks designed to get us looking good for summertime.
(Although after a semi-failed, DIY olive oil hair mask in which I’ve slicked up everything from my cellphone to my keyboard and have to wear a hat every time I go out, my roommate has directly stated I might not be the best for the job. But, if it clears up my dry scalp, I guess I don’t mind trading in those horrid white flakes for a soaking-wet otter look.)
Anyway, in my research (said lightly), a friend let me borrow a beauty book of hers. While I haven’t gotten too in-depth with the beauty aspect, I have been reading a lot on how to internally take care of yourself. Fight off all those free-radicals with antioxidants and the like.
The more I’ve read, the more I’ve realized how important some of these tips are, especially for people living in China (Shanghai to be exact), where free-radicals flock like, well, people. There’s a lot of them here.
Free radicals and antioxidants. You’ve heard of them, you know which one’s good and which one’s not, but do you know how they work? I didn’t. In order to start making changes, you need to know why it’s important. So, to give you a quick rundown on how this all works here’s the 4-1-1:
“In stable atoms and molecules, electrons are paired. Any loss of one of these paired electrons results in the formation of a free radical. A free radical will try to stabilize again by attacking anything that it comes in contact with to ‘steal’ an electron. When an ‘attacked’ particle loses its electron, a chain reaction begins. Once this process has started, it can cascade and may finally result in the disruption of a living cell.”
So, what are free radicals? They’re EVERYWHERE.
-Industrial pollution (China)
-Sun exposure (sometimes China)
-Burnt or barbecued food (streetfood, China)
-Ozone (thanks for this, China)
-Nitrous oxide aka automobile exhaust (billions of people, China)
-Heavy metals (what, lead in baby toys? Oh, thanks China)
-Cigarette smoke (no ban on smoking? China)
-Alcohol – hangover is basically a free radical attack on the body (aka living in Shanghai. China.)
Wow. So after reading this. I’ve realized, I need as many antioxidants as I can get. (The good cop in the free-radical war).
“Antioxidants are stable even if they are missing an electron, therefore they can donate electrons to the electron-greedy free radicals, taking away the stress that free radical action puts on the body and slowing down the aging process.”
So where can you find these little do-gooder anti-oxidants? Thankfully they’re everywhere, especially in the age-abusing country of China.
Vitamin C – berries, kiwi fruit (higher concentration than oranges), citrus fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green leafy vegetables and bell peppers
Vitamin E – nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cereals, oats, grains, eggs and olive oil
Vitamin A – carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, parsley, spinach, kale and sweet potatoes
Lutein – kale, spinach, turnip greens, sweetcorn and egg yolks
Lycopene – tomatoes, guava, rosehip, watermelon and pink grapefruit
Lignan – flax seed, pulses and whole grains,
Coenzyme Q10 – sardines, mackerel, meat, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, wheat germ, whole grains
Glutathione – fish, meat, asparagus, avocado and walnuts
Flavinoids and polyphenols - red wine, red grapes, cranberries, soy and tea (both green and black)
You also need these supportive minerals: Selenium, manganese, zinc and copper (In a Batman and Robin type case, one doesn’t have the full effect without the other).
Top 10 antioxidant foods: Berries (blueberries especially), red kidney beans, prunes/raisins, plums, red grapes, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach), russet potatoes, apples and tea.
Whew. Well, that was a relief to discover, especially given that most of these products you can pick up on any street in China. We may not be able to escape free radicals, but at least we can blast them.
Here’s a few easy recipes for a quick antioxidant fix or if you want to shine from the outside, try this:
Carrot and avocado antioxidant face mask
-1 cooked and mashed carrot
-1 mashed avocado
-125 ml heavy cream
-1 beaten egg
-3 tablespoons of honey
Another obvious, but easily forgettable, yet possibly the most important reminder is to stay hydrated!
Why? (Some of these might surprise you, some might be obvious)
-Kidney’s can’t function, waste builds up
-Constipation occurs which can lead to blemish breakouts
-More likely to think we are hungry and will eat more
-Difficult for the body to use up or metabolise fat stores
-Difficult to regulate body temperature
-Brains become sluggish, forgetful and lack enthusiasm
-Possible to lose muscle tone
Not only that, but dehydration shows on the face, making our skin look dry and saggy and becoming itchy. You might think moisturizer can cure this, but if it can’t lock any of the moisture on the inside in, then it’s really a quick, feel-good fix over anything else.
-Drink at least 2 litres a day. That’s how much your body flushes out and how much you should replenish it with, at the minimum.
-Keep a bottle of water by your desk; you’re more likely to stay hydrated if the waters right there at hand
-If you find yourself reaching for the fridge, drink a glass instead. You might just be thirsty.
-Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, caffeinated beverages because they are diuretics and actually flush water out. Maintain a balance by drinking one glass of water for every diuretic-infused beverage
-Boost fluid intake by increasing the number of fluid-rich fruit and veggies you eat
**Popular model tip: Half an hour before breakfast, drink a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon or lime. Not only will this freshen your complexion, but it’ll perk you up if you haven’t slept well.
I could continue to go on and on about other body benefits I’ve been learning about, but I just hit 1,000 words and think that if you’ve made it this far, well, congrats to all one of you. If I find anymore healthy nuggets, you can expect a blog or two, but for now, watch out for those free-radicals (especially if you live in China), stock up on those antioxidants (did you know Splenda has sugars that give you antioxidants?) and drink megatrons of water. Plus, get enough exercise, sleep, sunlight and don’t forget to detox. Ah, can already feel another blog post coming….
(Credit: Teach Yourself Beauty)