I’m sure it’s not news to you that pollution is bad for your health, but did you know that poor air quality is one of the biggest causes of aging in industrialised countries? Whilst reusable straws and paper bags are becoming the norm in today’s society, the UK’s air quality is still one of the worst globally. Even more alarming is the fact that the concentration of air pollutants along roads and footpaths are much higher than other urban sites in the UK, meaning your morning stroll could be costing your skin more than you think!
Which antioxidants can help fight pollution
Although your local park may spare your skin and health a little more than the high street, the external effects of pollution on your skin are essentially inevitable. You’ll be glad to know however, that specific superfoods have been scientifically proven to be effective in fighting the stress inducing effects of pollutants on the skin
Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants in the body that scavenges free radicals throughout your body and skin (think of a Pac Man gobbling up those stress causing free radicals – who knew science could be so fun?). It’s also provides a helping hand to vitamin E function, making your body a free radical fighting party! Load up on peppers, blackcurrants, strawberries, guava, grapefruits and our favourite - broccoli. Just half a cup of this cruciferous veggie provides more vitamin c than an orange, along with a generous helping of minerals and fatty acids (and with virtually no sugar – it’s a no brainer really!).
Unable to be produced by the body, this beauty vitamin veteran should be an integral part of your anti-pollution diet. Its fat-soluble nature allows vitamin e to operate in the deeper dermal layers of the skin where collagen resides, and helps neutralise free radicals before they damage the key structural proteins and skin cells that contribute to plump, dewy skin. Include healthy fats like avocado and olive oil (uncooked to reap the most benefits) or a handful of almonds if you’re in the mood for something crunchy!
Having shot to fame under its stage name retinol, vitamin A works by promoting the production of collagen and fibroblasts (skin cells) to thicken your epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin). This strengthens the biological barrier to the external environment, preventing pollutants from entering your skin and causing inflammation and oxidative stress. Be sure to include foods rich in beta-carotene (the precursor to this vitamin) such as sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes as well as leafy greens like spinach – now you know the secret to Popeye’s flawless skin!
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Don’t be fooled by the term ‘fats’. Omega 3 fatty acids are great at fighting the inflammation caused by free radicals. They are also potent free radical scavengers, and they also contribute to the health of our skin barrier, not to mention they are revered for maintaining brain health (a few extra brain cells never hurt anyone!). Include foods like ground flaxseed and chia seed to get your fatty acid fix.
Renowned for its cancer-fighting abilities, sulforaphane has more recently been established as an indirect antioxidant. Found hidden in the leafy insides of cruciferous veggies, sulforaphane functions by inducing the production of detoxification enzymes that help maintain the activity of free radical scavengers like vitamins A, C and E. Combine cruciferous veggies with avocados, peppers and other foods we mentioned above rich in vitamins A, C and E to give your skin all the tools it needs to become an anti-aging machine!
Anti-pollution smoothie recipe
Want a healthy shot of pollution fighting antioxidants (I mean it’s almost non-negotiable for a Londoner)? Start your mornings with this:
- Half an avocado
- A handful of spinach (fresh or frozen)
- Unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk that tickles your fancy)
- One tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds
- One large handful of mixed berries
- For an added boost: add in one scoop of the Raw Beauty Lab Vegan Collagen Superfood
Blend it all up and drink away your pollution problems – it’s that easy! Show us your renditions of this anti-pollution smoothie and tag us on our socials, we’d love to see them! Until next time, happy blending!
Be sure to share your anti-pollution recipes with us on our socials @rawbeautylab. For more anti-aging tip, tricks and recipes, join our facebook group here.