As you may know, fruits and vegetables are a great way to obtain a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, they are also a great source of fiber and antioxidants. The combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants work together well to promote great skin, healthy hair, and strong nails.
Over time, consuming fruits and vegetables can help you look younger, increase skin elasticity and promote healthy, growing hair. How you may ask? Antioxidants!
Antioxidants, found in fruits and vegetables, reduce damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause cell damage (that can sometimes lead to cancer). Some well-known antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Antioxidants are also found in some vegetable oils to delay deterioration. Other sources of antioxidants include nuts, berries, grains, seeds, coffee, tea, and exotic fruits, such as goji and acai berries.
Exotic fruits, like goji and acai berries, contain a very high amount of antioxidants. For example, acai berries contain more antioxidants than an apple. However, they can be more expensive than fruits you would find at your local grocery store.
Great Ways to Get the Necessary Antioxidants
Eating raw foods can be a highly beneficial way to get more nutrients and antioxidants in your system without eating more or taking supplements. Cooking food often damage the nutrients that you could be getting from those foods. For example, boiling vegetables is the easiest way to remove as many nutrients as possible. However, it is very important that the raw foods you consume are clean and free of pesticides, bacteria, and mold.
Also, be careful of which foods you are consuming raw. Some beans, such as kidney beans and lima beans, are poisonous when raw or undercooked. You should also avoid eating raw potatoes, cassava, and other starchy foods.
Smoothies and juices are another good way to get more antioxidants into your diet and a more exciting alternative to eating raw vegetables.
Smoothies are the healthiest way to consume fruits and vegetables other than eating them raw. They are also very simple to make. I’ve pinned a few easy recipes to my Pinterest board here if you are interested in a few unique, yet easy recipes to try. My go-to base is vanilla Greek yogurt and I also like to add a spoonful of peanut butter for a little extra protein (and who doesn’t like peanut butter?).
Green smoothies use green, leafy vegetables as the main ingredient, such as spinach or kale, and can also have berries or bananas to sweeten them a little bit. Green smoothies are especially great for your skin because they contain antioxidants along with phytonutrients (like vitamin K). These things work together to fight free radicals and prevent aging and dry skin, protect against cell damage and help to prevent problems such as eczema and acne. For my green smoothies, I prefer to use almond milk as my base, rather than Greek yogurt.
Getting your essential nutrients for beautiful hair, skin, and nails is much easier when consuming fresh fruits and vegetables rather than health supplements because it is easier for your body to absorb. It is also a good idea to start your day with a smoothie or have your smoothie on an empty stomach since this is when your body is most likely to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients. I guess that is why they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day!