Sprouts, Nuts, Seeds and Juices For Beautiful Skin And Hair

    The most important thing you can do for your skin is eat healthy. The cells of our skin are being renewed all the time, and healthy food gives the best building blocks for that. Skin and hair are the last to get vitamins and minerals from your food -- if there has been enough for the more important organs first. That is why a healthy diet is reflected in your hair, skin and nails.

     It is not easy to get all the necessary vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that we need, since fruit and vegetables have been bred to be bigger, sweeter but less nutrient-dense. I don't recommend supplementing with vitamin pills, especially the synthetic kind. I know that they are really popular in the US but here in Germany it is usually recommended that you fix your diet first, and then choose natural supplements above synthetic ones. (For example my midwives have all recommended what they call Kraüterblutsaft which is a syrup with concentrates of iron-rich vegetables and herbs, over iron pills).

   Here I want to talk about three ways of giving your body a boost of vitamins and minerals:


    Sprouting is  the cheapest way to get a maximum nutrition boost and is way easier and less time consuming than you think. Sprouts are chock-full of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. You need sprouting seeds (don't buy gardening seeds since they are very often pre-treated with pesticides), or you can also try to sprout seeds and grains from the produce section. And you also need some kind of container for sprouting. I have a sprouting jar from the DM, and you can find them at health stores. However, you can also go the cheap way and line a tray with cotton wool or kitchen towels (unbleached). Here is a nice guide to sprouting.
   You have to soak the seeds for one night in water, and the keep them moist till they sprout. With my sprouting jars, I rinse the sprouts once a day and let the water drip out through the mesh lid, so it's really almost no work at all. When you don't want them to grow any more, you can keep for many days in the fridge. They taste good on salads, sandwiches or in smoothies.

“Fiber Boom!” Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Nuts and seeds

  We ideally need about a handful of these every day. "But nuts are fattening!" is the reply I usually get. Well, the fats in nuts and seeds are very healthy (they are the exact opposite of "empty calories"), and you won't be eating huge quantities. And besides, the science of calories is old and antiquated -- newest studies show that not all calories are alike! Do read nuts are less fattening than you think, which breaks it down nicely.
    I found two ways of eating nuts and seeds which works for me -- one is added to salads (which, along with a gluten-free ... like quinoa are my lunch on most days), another is as a snack when on the run. I have these little boxes which I fill with nuts, bigger seeds like sunflower and pumpkin, and a few rains or cranberries for taste. These little boxes keep me from buying crappy snacks in the city.
   For salads, I like walnuts as well as fine seeds: sesame seeds are great sources of calcium and are delicious; hemp contains a lot of protein but unfortunately is rather pricey. Another big favourite are flax seeds -- great sources for Omega 3 and are amazing for the hair and nails.
      A special mention for flax seeds -- A couple of bloggers I follow had done a cure with this and noted: stronger nails, baby hair, smoother skin, less menstrual pains. If you prefer, you can drink a gel : pour boiling water over Tbs flax seeds and drink the gel.


   I'm not talking about fruit juices, many of which tend to be over-processed and are in no way comparable to actually eating the fruit. I'm talking about vegetable, herb and other juices that are really good for you but unfortunately not so tasty: like nettle juice or aloe vera juice.

   Try drinking a juice every day for 4-6 weeks. Remember that the results depend on your own unique body and the amount of minerals and vitamins you have or lack in your body. Once juice could give you amazing effects and another not.

   I buy my juices from health stores (Reformhaus or DM), but at least in Germany I see them very often in regular supermarkets. When buying these juices, try to buy the pure thing (or the almost pure thing). Don't be fooled by drinks "with xyz juice" which contain water, sugar and other additives.

Carrot juice

   This blogger did a month-long cure with carrot juice, and noticed that her under-eye puffiness decreased. I have been drinking it as a part of a fast, and though I cannot talk about its effects as it was only one of the many things I did, I love the tint it has given to my skin -- it is usually colourless and almost greyish in the winter but now it has a lovely peachy-golden shade. In case your skin takes on much more colour than that, you can make a pause for a day or two. For an extra boost, you can mix in some beetroot juic.e PS carrot juice tastes delicious! Also, simply eating raw carrots works just as well, but if you have a juicer than  you can use the pulp to make these amazing healthy raw cupcakes with cashew cream frosting.

Nettle juice

  Nettles are great for skin with acne. It also stimulates hair growth. You can drink nettle tea, eat nettles as you would cooked spinach, or blend them in smoothies -- if you are lucky enough to find nettles growing away from a road or any source of pollution (organic garden, forest). As that is difficult for most of us, nettle juice is the way to go.  8 to 12 g a day is the recommended amount.

Aloe vera juice:

   Aloe vera is a natural antibiotic and it helps to combat food allergies and digestive problems, which often show up on the skin as breakouts or other problems. This juice is especially effective against acne, lichens and atopic dermatitis. It also more than doubles the absorption of vitamins C and E by the body. It is also recommended in the cold part of the year for persons with low resistance to sickness. You can drink up to 50ml a day, best one hour before meals. If you can't  stand the taste, try mixing it with a fruit syrup or juice. You might get a skin-detox breakout in the beginning, but it goes away within a few days.

Cranberry Juice

   This is great for those of you with acne, as it is anti-inflammatory. Cranberry juice also moisturises the skin and is anti-aging.  It is also detoxifying, and is a part of several weight-loss diets. Drink no more than 300ml a day. Choose the unsweetened version, as most typical cranberry juices come with a lot of sugar. If you are lucky enough to live in a place with fresh cranberries, eat those instead!

   Obviously this list is very much biased towards stuff available in my geographical location. I strongly encourage you to try out juices that are available where you live.

   If you have tried any of these juices (or others), do share what results you saw. Also, have you ever tried sprouting? What is your favourite nut? Mine is the almond, and I have recently discovered the super-delicious almond butter. You must try it together with apple slices!

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