Mushrooms for Beautiful Skin
Various studies have long proven the many health benefits of mushrooms. Not only do these delicious, meaty veggies help maintain healthy cholesterol levels; they also increase Vitamin D levels and improve our overall nutritional intake, and help keep our skin in tip-top condition and much of it has to do with their potent antioxidant effects.
Our modern day diet tends to comprise many foods which cause skin to age prematurely. Sugar is, perhaps, the biggest culprit. When we consume too many processed carbohydrates, our glucose levels spike, which leads not only to insulin resistance (and, possibly, Type II diabetes), but also plays havoc with our skin, causing collagen fibres to cross-link and skin to take on a saggy, dull, lined appearance.
Another culprit is the amount of environmental toxins we expose our skin to every day. Common skincare products, advertised as bestowing anti-ageing effects, can contain many chemicals which together form a toxic concoction that leads to premature ageing. Many commercial sunscreens, for instance, claim to keep harmful UV rays away from the skin, yet they contain chemicals which, in combination with these rays, can do more harm than good. Therefore, when it comes to sunscreens, it is best to use physical blocks, which completely repel the sun’s rays.
For youthful skin that is free of sagging and lines, we need to approach ageing from an internal perspective, questioning the chemical content of the products we apply to our skin, and adopting a diet that is high in antioxidants (which fight the free radicals that cause our skin to age). It is also vital to avoid known toxins (including cigarettes and illicit substances), taking necessary steps to curb any harmful addiction, since drugs and tobacco contain an inordinate number of chemicals that age skin considerably before its time. If you are in recovery from addiction, now is a better time than ever to consume antioxidant-rich foods such as mushrooms, to improve your overall nutrition and help your body detoxify from harmful substances.
Some of the beneficial effects of mushroom for our skin include their anti-inflammatory properties. Much research by eminent skin specialists such as Dr. Nicholas Perricone have pointed to the role of inflammation in skin ageing. To keep harmful inflammation processes at bay, it is vital to fill your pantry with antioxidant- rich mushrooms. Mushrooms fight free radicals, which cause fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and loss of firmness. Additionally, make sure you drink enough water (to flush out toxins) and load up on Omega-3 essential fatty acids – these can be found in fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon) and walnuts. Omega-3s repair skin’s protective barrier, locking in much-needed moisture.
In addition to being powerful inflammation busters, mushrooms are also rich in Vitamin D and selenium, which protect skin against the pigmentation caused by sun exposure. The secret to mushrooms’ ability to prevent dark spots is kojic acid, which controls the production of melanin.
Mushrooms are also a wonderful source of a specific polysaccharide that has similar properties to hyaluronic acid, plumping and firming skin and ensuring it has enough moisture. If you have acne, you can even try applying mushrooms topically; their Vitamin D content has been found to reduce skin lesions and calm infections, making them an ideal solution for those who prefer natural methods to treat skin conditions.
As a bonus, mushrooms are also an ideal food for beautiful hair. They are an excellent source of iron, a vital mineral which plays an important role in red blood cell formation. Anemia is one of the most common reasons for hair loss so if you suddenly find that you are losing more hair than usual, pay a visit to the doctor to check your red blood cells levels. If your iron levels are low, stock up on mushrooms, which are also rich in selenium – an antioxidant which kills a fungus called Malassezia (which, when present on the scalp, can cause hair loss).
Mushrooms are delicious, affordable and ultra-healthy. Some of their additional benefits include reducing cholesterol and aiding with weight loss (since they are low-calorie and low-carb all at once, yet high in fibre). They are easy to prepare – check out our recipes section for tasty ideas the whole family will enjoy. When you begin to approach beauty from an internal perspective, the pursuit of beautiful skin suddenly becomes effortless, simple, and more affordable than it ever was.