You’ve likely heard many times that antioxidants, whether topically applied or ingested, are good for your health and skin because they fight free radicals. So what does this actually mean?
How do antioxidants benefit skin?
Free radical damage can lead to premature aging, loss of skin firmness, inflammation and dull skin tone.
Free radicals are molecules generated both internally (including from inflammation and even exercise (!)) and from environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke, UV rays, smog, x- rays, the oxone, radiation, certain drugs and pesticides and industrial chemicals.
As an example, when an avocado turns brown, this is due to oxidation. Antioxidants are molecules that essentially help stop this process from happening in your skin by inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules!
Including a combination of antioxidants in your diet or skin care can provide these proven benefits to your skin by addressing:
premature aging, including by diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and slowing down the deterioration of collagen and elastin, enhancing skin firmness and resilience to dryness and sensitivity;
inflammation, by soothing skin;
- the appearance of dull and uneven skin, for a brighter, healthier complexion.
For our top food picks rich in antioxidants for these skin benefits, read our previous post.
Papayas : A powerful anti-inflammatory and skin brightening tropical superfood
Packed full of superfoods, antioxidants and vitamins from colourful fruits, smoothie bowls are a delicious way to complement your skin care routine. We love incorporating proteins and good quality fats for a healthy, nutritionally balanced breakfast. There are so many wonderful antioxidants to choose from, but we’ve decided to feature papayas in this recipe for its natural anti-inflammatory and brightening properties.
Papaya is a tropical superfood high in vitamins C and E (as well as lycopene, which studies have suggested may reduce the risk of breast cancer and heart disease). These antioxidants help with inflammation and protection from sun damage and wrinkles.
Our recipe can be adapted to make a fantastic anti-inflammatory and brightening face mask, so if you have leftovers from your breakfast, just pop them on your face for 15 minutes for a quick morning pampering!
General tips to boost your smoothie bowls
- Top your bowl with quality protein such as chia, pumpkin or hemp seeds.
- For a creamy texture without using a sweet banana, try using avocados or natural full fat yoghurt.
- Smoothie bowls typically contain a lot of fruit. To keep things balanced and not too sweet, try halving the recipe and keep some of the fruit in chunks. This will add more fibre and increase chewing, which aids digestion.
- Use enzyme rich foods such as papaya. As well as being full of antioxidants, papaya enzyme, papain, can make protein easier to digest.
- Add superfood powders for a way to nutritionally enhance your smoothie bowl. With plant protein leafy greens, probiotics, and matcha green tea The Beauty Chef’s Vanilla Body Inner Beauty Powder is a great source of fibre and antioxidants, and also offers blood sugar support.
- Sprinkle blood sugar-lowering cinnamon over the top for a natural anti-inflammatory boost.
Recipe: Anti-inflammatory Papaya Protein Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 5-10 minutes | Makes: 2 bowls (~600 ml)
- 150g or 1 medium very ripe fresh or frozen papaya
- 50g fresh or frozen pineapple
- 1 small, ripe avocado, with flesh scooped out
- handful of washed spinach (changes the colour but adds extremely nutritious vegetables)
- 1 tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon The Beauty Chef’s Vanilla Body Inner Beauty Powder
- 120ml or 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk or full fat natural yoghurt
- 60ml or 1/4 cup water or ice
- juice and zest of half a lime
- 1 inch/ 1 teaspoon fresh peeled ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or turmeric
- dusting of cinnamon or turmeric
- chia or hemp seeds
- toasted coconut flakes
- toasted sesame seeds
- drizzle of tahini paste
- Scoop out and roughly chop the papaya, setting aside 1/4 of the fruit, place the rest in a blender with all the other smoothie ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Pour the papaya smoothie into a bowl (or bowls), and mix in the papaya chunks. Top with your choice of toppings and eat immediately, or take a spoon and first apply a thin coating to face, and enjoy eating the smoothie whilst your skin soaks in the goodness! You can also freeze one portion for another day, or pour into a popsicle mold.
Recipe creation by our resident GSB nutritional expert, Alice Fotheringham, a registered nutritional practitioner and chef specialising in working with young children and women’s hormone health. Based in London & Hong Kong, Alice has a successful clinical practice as well as running aromatherapy candle & beauty workshops.