Is this the answer to brighter, tighter skin?
When you’re trying to eat healthily do you tend to stick to the same old fruit and veg you were brought up on? Does some of the more weirder-looking greenery you find in the supermarket and health store leave you wanting to run back to the safety of the carrots, lettuce and tomatoes?
While all efforts to eat well deserve encouragement and a pat on the back, you could do your body and skin a few more favours if you venture into alien veg territory a bit more often – because then it comes to ramping up that healthy eating regime, going green is definitely a mantra worth following.
Not sure what to try? Take a look at our list of power greens that pack a punch – from the slightly odd-looking to the slightly odd-tasting and the just plain overlooked.
You may have seen this curious, curly-leaved, cabbagey veg cropping up more and more in shops – particularly health food markets and organic food stores. It has become something of an on-trend vegetable to eat – but not without good reason. Whether you choose to eat it lightly cooked or raw, Kale is a powerhouse of healthy vitamins and minerals.
Body-wise, it’s a high source of calcium, so it’s great for maintaining healthy teeth and bones. It also boosts immunity and is packed with antioxidants. Your skin will love kale, too. Vitamin K helps brighten your complexion and reduce dark circles, vitamin A encourages your skin to repair itself and retain moisture, and lutein and beta-carotene help maintain elasticity and firmness and help prevent premature ageing.
OK, so this one may take a little bit of getting used to. Unlike kale, which has a really nice taste and texture, wheatgrass is one of those ‘good for you’ greens that are better for your body than it is your tastebuds. It’s harvested from young wheat sprouts that form early in the growth cycle, and is most commonly consumed in juice form. Even as a liquid, it’s best mixed with other fruit juices such as apple or citrus to help mask the taste.
So, what are the benefits of gulping down the green stuff? Wheatgrass is known to aid digestion, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels and is rich in amino acids, chlorophyll and vitamins A, C and E. It can also be applied topically. Some skin care treatments are formulated with wheatgrass to help alleviate severe dry skin conditions.
If you thought dandelions were just annoying garden weeds, then you may want to look at them in a new light. Another green that’s surged in popularity in recent years, the young leaves of the Dandelion plant are now harvested and sold to be eaten as a vitamin-enriched power veg.
Dandelion greens contain viamins A, B complex, C and D, and minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc. As well as being an overall body-loving green, it also helps regulate blood sugar. High blood sugar levels can result in a process called glycation, which causes the release of chemicals in the body that can accelerate the ageing process. And that’s something we’d all love to avoid.
You may have also come across Dandelion tea in health food shops, which is used as a treatment for inflammation, bloating and water retention.
So this power green is probably a lot more familiar to you, but it is still often overlooked as a raw salad vegetable in favour of some of the more prettier-looking leaves. But swap out the lettuce for spinach and your salad will pack an extra-healthy punch. Not only can spinach assist weight-loss (as its high fibre content curbs overeating), but it also helps maintain low blood sugar.
It has an abundance of antioxidants, plus our old skin-loving friends vitamin C, vitamin E and a high concentration of vitamin A, which promotes great skin by encouraging a healthy moisture balance, combating dryness and fighting premature ageing.
Do you eat any of the power greens listed above? What's your favourite health-boosting food?