Enjoying a little bit of avocado along with carotenoid-rich vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to improve your body’s ability to absorb skin-healthy nutrients. In a study published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers tested the theory that since carotenoids are lipophilic (meaning fat-loving or soluble in fat), consuming monounsaturated-rich avocado along with carotenoid-rich foods like vegetables might enhance carotenoid absorption in the body. And the theory proved true. They found that adding even a small amount of avocado to a salad of carrot, lettuce, and baby spinach, or to salsa, greatly increased the body’s ability to absorb the carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, all of which protect the skin.
Borage oil is a little-known secret for keeping your skin healthy. Able to be applied topically or taken internally, it is the ultimate skin hydrator, restoring moisture and smoothness to dry and damaged skin.
From Flower to Seed to Oil
Borage is a wildflower commonly called the starflower. Grown throughout the world, it is a relatively large plant, with star-shaped, bright blue flowers. There’s no need to go digging in ditches for it, however, because borage oil cultivated from the seeds of the plant can easily be found at your local health food store. The oil is very beneficial to the skin and is the richest known source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that helps moisturize the skin.
Gives You the Fatty Acids You Need
GLA is produced in your body from linoleic acid, another essential fatty acid, which is found in many foods such as nuts, seeds, and most unrefined vegetable oils, like sunflower oil. In a healthy person, linoleic acid is converted to GLA through enzymes in the body, and in turn, GLA converts to a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), which acts as an anti-inflammatory. As such, PGE1 is useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s disease, atherosclerosis, and skin conditions.
GLA is essential to skin health, as a deficiency in GLA has been detected in sufferers of skin disorders. Research has found that people with skin disorders characterized by dry skin and inflammation, such as eczema and psoriasis, have an increased level of linoleic acid and low levels of GLA. This suggests that something is blocking the conversion process of linolenic acid to GLA. The outcome is a decrease in PGE1, and this decrease is associated with dry skin and trans-epidermal water loss.
Add Borage Oil to Your Shopping List
Look for borage oil at your local health food store. Moisturize your skin from the inside out every day by sprinkling borage oil on your foods; add it to salad dressings or smoothies. Know that borage oil should not be heated, as heat will change its composition and make it a poor source of GLA. You can also buy borage oil in capsule form. Because it has a higher concentration of GLA (23 percent) than any other oil, evening primrose, and black currant included, less needs to be consumed in order to achieve the required dosage. Follow label instructions carefully.
If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Many oils used for cooking at high heat are a problem for your health. Canola, safflower, and sunflower oils, for example, contain rich amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which are highly susceptible to heat damage that is, they become oxidized and unhealthy to consume when brought to high heat. Opting instead for coconut oil an oil that can take the heat is a much healthier choice for both the skin and body.