If you’re past 50, you may be wondering what you can do to return the youthful glow to your skin. As a dermatologist, I know that there are several things you can use on your skin topically to make it look younger, but the #1 thing that influences the way your skin looks is what you put in your body. So, I’d like to tell you about a common vegetable with some uncommon skin and overall anti-aging benefits that you can reap today!
Researchers are finding out more and more about the amazing anti-aging health benefits of a common garden vegetable – beets. Recently, it was found that eating beets, and drinking beet juice, can have some profound benefits to your skin, eyes, heart, and brain. Beets are packed with very high concentrations of antioxidants, carotenoids, folate, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium and Vitamin C. These ingredients in beets have been found in research to have the following protective effects:
1. Eyes: The high carotenoids concentration in beets helps fight age-related macular degeneration and keep vision strong.
2. Brain and heart: Recent research out of London School of Medicine found that beets are full of natural nitrates. These help produce nitric oxide which relax blood vessels and naturally decreases blood pressure. The folates in beets also help to break up homocysteine a dangerous blood protein that figures in heart disease. It also helps increase blood flow to the brain as well as the lower extremities. It’s thought that dementia can start from decreased blood flow to the brain. And, people with poor circulation in their lower extremities could benefit from beets’ natural nitrates. Getting more blood flow to muscles helps older people maintain muscle strength and prevent falls.
3. Fights colon cancer: Beets contain betacyanin – the chemical that gives the vegetable its deep red color. Russian researchers found that the phytonutrients in beets helps detox the entire digestive system – from the liver through the colon – by attaching itself to pollutants and toxins and removing them through elimination. It’s also been shown to improve gallbladder disease and dissolve sludge and stones in both the gallbladder and kidneys. It also helps the body produce glutathione – a master antioxidant which helps fight free radical damage throughout the body.
4. Boosts Exercise Stamina: It was found that the nitrates in beets boosted the endurance/stamina about 16% in people who drank beet juice and exercised.
5. Skin Rejuvenation: As a dermatologist, in addition to the general health boosting properties of beets, I’m particularly impressed by their anti-aging skin benefits. In studies, it was shown that the high levels of folates and antioxidants can decrease the depth and severity of skin wrinkles by 60%! This is best accomplished by eating beets (or drinking beet juice) as well as by applying beet juice topically, directly to skin.
The following is a beet juice skin treatment you can do at home on your own as well as a delicious beet juice cocktail you can make and drink once a day.
1. Juice 1 whole beet and 1 whole carrot with pure, filtered water and pour into a mason jar, or other glass bottle. Store in your refrigerator and stir or shake before using.
2. Once a day, morning or night, take a cotton ball and dip in the beet/carrot juice mixture and apply liberally to your face, be sure to saturate any age spots you have. Leave for 15 minutes then rinse with cold water.
3. Twice a week (3 days apart) exfoliate your entire face and neck area with either a commercial facial exfoliate product or use plain sugar on a wet cloth.
4. Apply a natural moisturizer like coconut, olive, or grape seed oil afterwards, or your own.
Beets are great to include in your diet, but eating them raw whenever possible will allow you to get their full nutrients as cooking destroys some of them. Drinking 8 ounces of a raw beet juice cocktail once a day is a good way to ensure that you get all the skin and general health benefits of them. If you have a juicer, just add all ingredients and juice. If you have a blender, you’ll want to chop up the beets, apples, lemon/lime into smaller pieces first. Add a little water, grate the ingredients first, then puree, adding extra water to liquefy to a drinkable consistency.
1. 1 cup filtered water (or ice cubes if you want more of a shake consistency)
2. 1 whole beet, peeled. Also cut off stems, leaves and roots where environmental toxins gather.
3. 1 Red Delicious or other sweeter apple, cored, but I recommend leaving the skin on for its vitamins and fiber. You can also use unsweetened, natural apple juice if you like, about 4 oz.
4. 1-2 tablespoons granulated Stevia Extract (like Truvia or Stevia in the Raw)
5. One-half lemon or lime.
Makes enough for about 1 serving, 8-10 ounces. The apple provides sweetness from its natural sugars. But if you want to decrease the amount of sugar per serving, sweeten with just the Stevia instead. If you use a blender, you may want to remove the pulp before drinking by straining through cheesecloth, but there’s a lot of vitamins and fiber in the pulp as well. You’ll also want to be aware that the red pigment in beets is excreted through urine and elimination.