As the founder of a global nonprofit breast cancer organization, it should come as no surprise that I care deeply about what I put in my body. It's just as important to incorporate natural beautifiers into our diet as a way to help rid our bodies of everyday toxins and create more naturally beautiful skin. Here are six of my favorites:
1. Drink lots of water.
Water is the essence of life. When your skin is dehydrated, it looks less youthful and can easily get dry and flaky. To keep your dermis looking healthy and radiant, daily H2O intake is essential. Don’t worry about getting waterlogged — you can eat your water too!
Foods with high water content like leafy spinach, ripe tomatoes, juicy watermelon, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans can prevent your skin from looking parched, and aid in maintaining a healthy weight.
2. Drink your lemons.
Lemons are packed with vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber, meaning this citrus fruit helps to cleanse your system, aid digestion, and boost your immune system.
As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and never is this more true than when it comes to benefiting your skin. Every morning when I wake up, I pluck a lemon from the tree in my yard and squeeze the fresh juice into a mason jar filled with filtered water. I let it sit on my kitchen counter and whenever I walk by, I take a huge sip. When I’m on the go, I put the mix in my water bottle so I have it with me throughout the day. Basically, you can never have enough lemon water.
3. Get your greens.
On days I just don’t feel like eating a salad, drinking a smoothie is one of my favorite ways to get my greens into my diet. Kale, arugula, spinach ... the darker the greens, the better they are at fighting off free radicals that break down your precious collagen over time. And don’t forget to add avocado to your diet: It supplies skin with healthy fats to improve your complexion from the inside out.
My favorite green smoothie combo is coconut water, kale, spinach, avocado, cucumber, prickly pear, and ginger. You can make a large one in the morning and bring half to the office for an afternoon snack. It provides a much better burst of energy than that 4 p.m. coffee break!
4. Soothe with aloe.
Aloe is a miracle plant with many benefits, to both our insides and outsides. I wear SPF daily, but as much as I try to avoid the harsh rays of the California sun, I’ve been known to get burnt. To soothe my irritated skin, I always turn to aloe’s cool, gooey, green gel. When I was growing up, my mom always had a huge aloe plant on hand for sunburns and minor cuts. The gel is good for drinking too, especially in a smoothie!
5. Mind your mantras.
Beauty comes from attitude and confidence, which is why I turn to mantras. If I’m having a particularly hard day, I look in the mirror — I mean really look at myself — deeply into my eyes and tell myself, “I am beautiful. I am kind, and God shines through my face.”
A friend of mine is a healer and taught me to do this a long time ago, and to this day, I swear it makes all the difference. My eyes get brighter, those little wrinkles on my forehead relax, and my smile starts to curl up.
6. Make friends with turmeric.
Our systems are burdened with stress, excess fats, loss of sleep, and toxins that create an imbalance in our immune functions and the hormones that keep it all in check, so turmeric is one of my favorite cure-alls at the moment. I take supplements every morning and night to help with inflammation. I also love to use fresh turmeric root in my green smoothies, scrambled eggs, salad dressings, or even on my face!
Here’s an easy DIY face mask that has anti-inflammatory properties to help soften your skin, clear acne, reduce swelling, and even diminish wrinkles:
Mix together 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 teaspoons rice flour (for oily skin) or finely ground oats (for dry or mature skin) and 3 tablespoons plain yogurt (or milk, cream, or sour cream).
Slather the mixture on your clean face, and then let it dry.