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Inside the nucleus of every cell, from skin cells to brain cells, there are tiny organelles called mitochondria. These are the essential powerhouses that produce the energy needed for normal cell function and survival. The decline of mitochondrial function caused by free radical damage is often associated with aging. Antioxidants that has been proven to fight the effects of aging and provide essential protection to our complexion. We had a chance to get the 411 from Dr. G on how and why it’s so important to incorporate anti-oxidants into our diet and skincare regimen.

What are the benefits of antioxidants? 

Antioxidants come in many different shapes and sizes, including foods, topical plant derived antioxidant actives, to name a few, but the quality they all share is that they are able to neutralize free radicals, preventing them from damaging the body – both internally and externally. Free radical formation is normal. Plants, animals, and humans produce free radicals all of the time. Our bodies have defenses against free radicals, but when the strength of these defenses are outweighed by the amount of free radicals themselves, they can cause lasting harm, and even cell death. That’s why incorporating anti-oxidants into both your skincare and foods are crucial for obtaining a youthful existence.

Why are they essential for skincare? 

Research has been substantiating the benefits of super potent antioxidants for a long time and they are absolutely essential for the skin for both the protecting and nourishing skin properties that they contain.

Antioxidants not only help combat and protect the skin from the toxic elements that are the leading cause for the visible signs of aging (photo-aging, sagging, loss of elasticity), but anti-oxidants in all forms also contain various enzymes, nutrients and vitamins that can help to revitalize the skins texture and tone and also calm irritated skin.

Can antioxidants in food have a similar effect on your skin that skincare has? 

Overall wellness and healthy-looking skin certainly requires more than just incorporating topical treatments. So much of what we see on the outside (in terms of a healthy-looking complexion), is a result of how healthy we are internally.

In the same way that anti-oxidants help to fight free radical damage to our skin cells caused by environmental stresses on the skin, ingesting anti-oxidants (*mostly come from fresh fruits and vegetables) they help prohibit and also prevent the oxidation of harmful molecules that can form in the body. If free radicals are left to roam freely within the body, it can lead to a wide range of illnesses.

What are the best sources of antioxidants in food? 

Fruits, vegetables, seeds, tea, and legumes.

We see free-radicals thrown around as a buzzword, what are they and why are they harmful? 

Cumulative exposure to toxins in the form of ultraviolet rays of the sun, pollution and environmental stresses (smoke, UVA/UVB rays, pollution, etc.) produces free radicals that can damage the sensitive lipids, proteins and DNA in your skin cells. This environmental-induced damage to your skin can result in gradual loss of tone, wrinkling, discoloration, increased redness, and even cancer. Topical treatment with green tea polyphenols has been shown to help prevent the DNA damage that leads to skin cancer and to support the general health and long-lasting beauty of your skin.

What are your favorite sources of antioxidants and why?

Fruits and vegetables of course, but uniquely, Red tea (also known as Roobis) contains some of the most potent natural antioxidants known for protecting your skin from the free radical damage that can cause aging. These include vitamins C,E and beta-carotene. Red tea is known to possess 50 times the antioxidant capacity of green tea due to a high concentration of a special enzyme called superoxide dismutase(SOD for short), a major scavenger of free radicals. The combination of these natural vitamins and enzymes found in red tea aids in promoting new skin health after the removal of dead and damaged cells, giving your skin a smoother, brighter, and healthier appearance. In addition, red tea also contains a number of powerful polyphenolsand flavonoidsthat help heal and rejuvenate the skin.

Craving a cold, yummy fruit and veggie smoothie? You’re not the only one. During warmer months we aren’t as hungry and don’t desire as many heavy/ hot foods. And besides we all want our summer bodies to look good in our bathing suits. So lighten up! Swap one meal a day for a nutritious, antioxidant rich smoothie. The combinations are endless.

Below are a few of our favorites, which also all have detox properties. Feel free to add your favorite protein powder or vitamins! Dr. G’s favorite extras are flaxseed, hemp seed, collagen, plant based protein powder and bee pollen.

Image via SHUTTHEKALEUP

Summer Daze

Squeeze ½ Lemon

½ cup of cubed Watermelon

½-frozen banana

A hand full of watercress

Blend and enjoy!

Summer Spice

A few slices ginger (very potent)

½ cup of frozen mango

¼ teaspoon of chai powder

½ cup of coconut milk

A hand full of spinach

Blend and enjoy!

Summer Coolie

½ cup of red tea (chilled first)

½ cucumber

½ cup of frozen raspberries

½ frozen blueberries

½ of avocado

Blend and enjoy!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; so don’t take yours for granted. Proper sun care includes protecting the eyes with sunglasses and proper products. Not only can the delicate eye tissue of the upper and lower lids get sunburned but the actual eye cells can be damaged from years of overexposure to UV rays. Below Dr. G suggests a few solutions for keep the eyes youthful looking and safe.

photo via @margoandme

Dr. G recommends:

Sunglasses

  • The bigger and darker the better
  • Sunglasses should cover the entire eye- think Jackie O!
  • The darker the lens the more protection
  • Wrap around shades if exercising or working in direct sun

SPF

  • Eye tissue is 15% thinner than facial skin-protect it!
  • SPF must be worn around the eye area
  • 10% of skin cancers are around the eye area
  • Crows feet love sun damaged skin

After sun products

The kiddies

  • Children have larger pupils than adults which allows more sun in
  • Encourage hats
  • Choose a clean SPF and apply everywhere
  • Encourage kids to wear sunglasses (Velcro wrap around glasses)
  • Goggles in the water as eye can be susceptible to UV rays off the water reflection