We love a hearty bone or veggie broth for its immune boosting power—and amazing benefits for healthy skin.
The weather is starting to turn, the nights getting colder, here in the northern hemisphere. A warm Broth is the perfect food for this time of year.
Bone broth is very much a staple in our house, made every week for all its immune system boosting goodness—and its ability to help keep skin healthy, elastic and supple. We also love a good veggie broth for the same reasons. Both deliver different key nutrients to support and maintain your skin, its health and well-being.
Discover why chicken soup is good for the soul and so much more. This blog in a nutshell:
Why Your Skin Elasticity Declines in the First Place
Collagen is a crucial component in your hair, skin, teeth and nails. The tricky thing is that as you age, your body’s natural collagen production declines, further compromised by environmental factors like:
Your body knows what to do. It is already wired to make collagen from nutrients found in a healthy diet, including fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. This is where including Broths—bone and/or veggie—in your diet can really step in to help your body stimulate collagen production.
What is Broth?
Bone broths—beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more—are staples in the traditional diets in many cultures. Back in the the ancient day, it was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments—all the stuff they couldn’t eat—were boiled and then simmered over a period of days. Strain out the animal matter and, Voila, they got bone broth, a rich flavoured, nutrient-dense, easy to digest way to boost their immune systems and stay healthy, from the inside out. A steaming bowl of stew or curry, anyone?
Vegetable broths are equally a staple in traditional diets all over the world. It was—and still is—a great way to get plant nutrition into your body, in a warm, hearty format. Back in the ancient day, a veggie broth was made from boiling and then simmering a combination of vegetables together in water. Strain out the plant matter and, Voila, they got veggie broth, a flavourful, nutritious boost to the immune system and over all health. Miso or dal, anyone?
It would appear that meals that combine both broth types may just deliver the best of both worlds. A study of chicken soup (containing both animal and vegetable ingredients) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center investigated what it was in the soup that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. Researchers found that some of the nutrients produced when making chicken broth reduced inflammation in the respiratory system, improved digestion and helped relieve joint pain, while nourishing and protecting organs—like your skin. Good to know that Grandma, officially and scientifically proven, knew best!
Collagen: The Building Block for Your Skin
Collagen is responsible for maintaining the elasticity of your skin. Your skin is made of collagen fibres which get damaged by those pesky environmental factors noted above. You can help your skin by consuming foods that have the nutrients your body needs to produce more collagen.
Glycine is an amino acid, a building block, that helps create proteins, in particular collagen. It is kind of a multi-tasker, too: it helps the metabolic synthesis of certain nutrients that the brain and nerves use for energy; and it is also very valuable for slowing down the loss of cartilage in joints, which happens naturally as we age. As we age, our joints and skin can't have enough Glycine. It keeps creating collagen, repairing damaged tissues within joints; and restoring the collagen in our skin that breaks down due to ongoing free radical damage. Glycine is important for digestion as well as cognitive function and—BONUS—it helps your body create enough serotonin for a good night’s sleep.
Proline is another amino acid building block your body uses for making protein. Your body can make proline on its own, and it can also get it through your diet. Proline helps skin retain moisture, adding to a supple look and feel. It also helps support collagen production to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Several high-protein foods are believed to nurture collagen production because they contain the amino acids that make collagen—glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These include poultry, meat, eggs, cheese, legumes, beans leafy greens, dried seaweed, watercress, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and cabbage.
Collagen production also requires nutrients like zinc that is found in shellfish, legumes, meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains; vitamin C from bell peppers, and tomatoes; or herbs such as cilantro leaf, thyme, dill, and parsley; potassium from winter and summer squashes or potatoes; magnesium from leafy greens and legumes.
So there are a number of tasty ingredients you could put into making a nutritious bone broth base, a veggie broth base or a soup using that both broths. Either way, its a win win for your skin.
Hyaluronic Acid: Your Hydration Regulator.
Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold onto moisture and water. It also plays a crucial role in wound healing, skin repair and tissue regeneration. High water content in skin helps it retain resilience, pliability and an overall youthful look.
Bone broth is a good whole food source of Glucosamine, which has been shown to stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis in your body to accelerate wound healing, improve skin hydration and decrease wrinkles(3).
Other foods such as tofu and edamame, leafy greens, almonds and root veggies provide nutrients that can naturally increase hyaluronic acid synthesis in your body.
You can also add naringenin, a flavonoid that blocks the activity of hyaluronidase, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of hyaluronic acid. Oranges don’t contain hyaluronic acid, but they do contain naringenin. So, eating foods such as citrus fruits, oranges, figs and tomatoes could help you maintain healthy levels of hyaluronic acid in your body.
Make Your Own Broth
Making your own bone broth is an art really, and an exercise in slow-boil patience. Here is a bone broth recipe from Blue Bird Provisions, maker and purveyor of Bone Broth. Founder Conner is a trail/ultra runner, dad, husband, and wolf-dog dad. In 2016, he used bone broth to heal a devastating foot injury that doctors said would never heal. He was told that he would never run again. Using bone broth, he got back to ultra running and winning 50km races. Now, I’m not a big athlete but I do swear by bone broth for my own bone and skin health, as well as Thom’s.
Conner also has a recipe that he calls Vegan Bone Broth. It’s a nutrient-rich, flavourful stock made using all plant-based ingredients. He says, “We substitute bones for dried mushrooms, adaptogens and wakame seaweed to give your an irresistibly nourishing beverage with a truly umami flavor.You can buy premade vegetable broth bases, but my advice is to avoid them as they are truly the worst and most processed food products out there.”
I’m looking forward to Fall Equinox this week, and turning inward once again. A warm Broth is the perfect food for this time of year. So happy to be broth-making and broth-drinking, for all its benefits— especially that cosy, warm, hug-from-the-inside-out feeling. Yummm!
Nature's way to gently remove dirt and toxins for a glowing, clear complexion. Learn how to add them into your Skin care routine
I love a good facial exfoliation! I really enjoy this part of my skin care rituals for its massaging moves, and the almost instant payoff of skin that feels soft and smooth, refreshed and reset.
Plant powders are my go-to for facial exfoliation. They are straight out of my grandmothers’ beauty playbook and I have been using them since childhood. I love them for their ability to gently remove dirt and toxins for a glowing, clear complexion. Using natural ingredients, like plant powders, gives you all that without destroying your skin biome. Win-win, right?
Your skin is in a constant state of cell turnover: As new skin cells are made, the older skin cells rise to the surface, dying in the process. Over time, the surface of your skin becomes host to a buildup of dead cells on the skin’s surface. Add pollution and other forms of environmental stressors to the mix, and-- hello, dull, rough and itchy skin.
That’s where plant powders augmented with plant oils can really bring some beneficial goodness to your skin and its biome. Here’s why plant powders are a brilliant ingredient to add to your skin care routine.
1. Plant Powders are Gentle on the Skin
When mixed with water (ideally distilled) and a few drops of plant oils, plant powders transform into a luxurious paste that draws out toxins and smooths the skin. They are incredibly gentle on the skin, exfoliating without scratching. No extra pressure is needed -- the granules will do the work. The massaging action you bring helps promote circulation and skin cell turnover.
2. PLANT POWDERS CONTAIN MUCH NEEDED SKIN NUTRITION
Plant powders are high in minerals and naturally derived proteins, vitamins and acids, all of which help draw out toxins, enhance skin cell health and provide additional exfoliation by dissolving dead skin cells.
3. YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE PLANT POWDERS TO WHAT YOUR SKIN NEEDS AT THIS MOMENT
Depending on the day, season or your skin type, you can customize your plant powder paste to suit your skin’s needs. If you want more of a mask feel, use less water. If you want more of a general soft cleanser, use more water. If you need more moisturizing, add a few drops of oil to your blend. If you are having breakouts or skin irritation, add yogurt. If you need more antioxidants, add lemon juice. If you need to even out your skin tone and bring down inflammation, add turmeric. The possibilities are endless.
4. PLANT POWDERS HAVE A LONG SHELF LIFE, NO UNNEEDED PRESERVATIVES AND ARE TRAVEL FRIENDLY
Plant powders have a long shelf life. They don’t need preservatives, as they are not pre-mixed with liquids. You mix them up fresh, every time you use them. And because they are liquid-free, they can be carried while traveling with no fuss. Your face care will be there with you, where ever your destination.
HOW TO USE PLANT POWDERS IN YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE
Now that you know the overall benefits of using a plant powder to your skin, here is how to use them as a gentle cleanser:
A few little things you can do for yourself everyday to enhance your wellbeing while replenishing and protecting your skin
The secret to being naturally beautiful rests not in a jar of expensive creams. Rather it is in a few little things you can do for yourself everyday to enhance your wellbeing while replenishing and protecting your skin from damage. So here are seven healthy habits that will leave you feeling and looking your best, naturally.
1. SLEEP IT OFF
A night of tossing and turning and a mirror check in the morning is all you need to understand just how much your skin needs a good night's sleep. A 2013 case study says as much. In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, physician-scientists found that sleep quality impacts skin function and aging. The study, commissioned by Estee Lauder, demonstrated that not having enough sleep increased signs of skin aging and slowed recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Those were just the physical symptoms. Not having enough sleep also decreased energy levels and sense of confidence and self worth. It was easier for a tired person to look in the mirror and find fault than someone who was de-stressed by complete rest. So in short, sleep well because it will help your skin, mind and spirit regenerate.
2. SWEAT IT OUT
Your Skin is your body's largest organ. Just as exercise keeps your other organs, like the heart, in healthy form, it also enhances the skin's ability to repair the effects of aging and other damage. In fact, the moment your heart starts beating faster, muscles pump out more of a protein (IL-15) that powers your skin cells' mitochondria to act youngerâover time, that can make skin some 25 years younger at the microscopic level, according to a study at McMaster University in Ontario.
You don't have to go crazy on cardio for your skin to get the benefit of exercise and increased oxygenation in your body. Pick something that works for you and do it regularly. Consistent exercise will likely help on the sleep front, too.
Also, consider hitting the sauna or the steam room on a regular basis (though in this COVID period, a steaming hot shower could do the trick, too). It's a lot like having a facial but for the whole body. Fifteen minutes in the steam room opens pores, increases sweating, stimulates circulation, and eliminates toxins. The elevated heat and the increased sweating and circulation stimulates the reproduction of collagen and deeply cleanses and rejuvenates your skin.
3. WALK IN THE SHADE
Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen, yes. But also by covering up with long flowing garments or a sun parasol. Don't forget your sunglasses for UV protection (and the fashion factor). And when you're outdoors, seek shade, especially between 10am and 4 pm. It would be a good time to go for a grounding forest bathing walk. Here are some summer shading suggestions from our Wild Beauty Blog, Three Chill Ways to Protect your Skin from the Sun.
4. STAY HYDRATED
Keep the water going all summer long. If you're not a big fan of plain water, add fruit to create a lovely tasting fruit infused beverage. Or add a little bit of fruit juice to your water in a 1:4 proportion.
If you're feeling a bit weak out there in the sun, your body may be low on electrolytes. Stay away from the Gatorade, though--it's full of sugar which causes other skin issues. Instead, consider throwing a Hydralyte tablet into your water bottle. Hydralyte is a Canadian made fizzy tablet, formulated with the right balance glucose and electrolytes for rapid rehydration. Thom uses it frequently through the summer, as heat and dehydration can exacerbate his MS symptoms. But it's brilliant for anyone who needs a little boost in the hydration department.
5. DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY
When you're stressed, cortisol goes up and does a number on your collagen proteins, causing dry skin and wrinkles. So find ways to bring your stress levels down.
Meditation with deep breathing helps calm your cortisol count while oxygenating your body. It can also help you get a good night's sleep. Book a massage or a hair cut or any other self-care service that you find relaxing. Hit the yoga mat at home or join a socially distanced Tai Chi class. Sing out loud or dance up a storm all over the living room furniture. Binge watch something hilarious. Or get on computer and hilari-chat it up with your besties.
Again, choose your stress reliever (one or more) and engage regularly and consistently.
6. SCRUB AWAY THOSE DEAD SKIN BLUES
Skin cells turn over constantly, and sometimes they need help to fully slough off. Give your skin an assist and exfoliate once or twice a week. For a scrub and polish, try Free Lion Namika Salt Scrub. It's formulated with some old-school Japanese beauty care ingredients like adzuki bean flour, rice flour and seaweed. The scent is a delightful blend of green tea and jasmine. Or try our Lavender Salt Scrub. This one is blended with clay and apricot kernel shells. The scent is pure relaxation as only Lavender can deliver. If you have sensitive skin, try our Rose Garden Sugar Scrub. It's blended with some skin soothing oat and chickpea flour. The scent is both grounding and uplifting. And you want to wake up your skin and smooth out that bumpy cellulite look, give our Espresso Sugar Scrub a go. It's a caramel macchiato for your skin!
7. CULTIVATE KINDNESS AND GRATITUDE
When you can, reach out to someone to lend a hand, an ear or your heart. Things are difficult for many people these days and a kind, friendly word can help make all the difference--to them and to you. When we give of ourselves and connect with others, we get to step out of our own stories for a while and experience the reality of our interconnectedness. This is especially important during this COVID period when isolation feelings can be overwhelming.
Bookend your day with all the things in your life you are grateful for. Write them down or simply affirm them to yourself. This simple ritual will help clear the anxiety clouds of future thinking and open you up to receive the best the universe has to offer in this moment now. Your heart (and your skin) will thank you.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
CHIA SEED OIL: A SUPER MOISTURIZING ROCK STAR
Sometimes you meet a oil that you just love, and loves you back, inside and out. Chia Seed Oil is one of those ingredient rock stars for which I just can't sing enough praises. On the inside, Chia Seeds are a super food that bring so many health benefits. On the skin, it's pure magic. It's moisturizing, soothing, softening, protective and anti-aging.
A BIT OF CHIA SEED HISTORY
They ascribed their military prowess to the power of Chia in their diets. It was also used in their sacred and worldly ritual. Chia was given as sacrificial offering to the gods; extracted as tribute payments from conquered nations; and often used it as currency. Now, that's one valuable plant!
WHAT MAKES CHIA SEED SUCH A NUTRITIONAL SUPERSTAR?
Chia is rich in essential fatty acids, specifically omega-3 and omega-6. They are 5 x richer in calcium than cow’s milk; extremely high in vitamin C, 7 x more than oranges; high in iron, 3 x higher than spinach. Last but not least, chia seeds are also high in potassium, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, E and B6. Not to mention fibre and protein. Added bonus: they are gluten-free.
So with all that nutritional power, chia seeds promote the correct functioning of the heart, brain and immune system while helping blood circulation by exerting an anti-oxidant function. They benefit teeth and bones, help improve your mental acuity, keep blood sugar and pressure in check, and are quite filling, should you be on a diet. All that in a tiny little seed.
WHAT MAKES CHIA SEED OIL FOR FABULOUS FOR SKIN?
Once again, it's that Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid content that skin just soaks up. These fatty acids help maintain moisture levels in the skin which reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as relieving dryness and flaking. Chia seed oil can also help with issues like rosacea or eczema on the face. It leaves your skin feeling soothed, smooth, soft and replenished. This is wonderful for dry and sensitive skin.
Chia seed oil is also a great source of vitamin B3 and zinc, which helps with oily skin and clogged pores. It also can help take down the inflammation and irritation that comes with break-outs.
It's also full of amazing antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, as well as myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonoids, all of which protect your skin from environmental stressors. In fact, the antioxidants in chia seed oil have shown to be even stronger than vitamin C and vitamin E, two common and powerful antioxidants. This is exactly the kind of care normal skin needs to fight off signs of aging.
Put all of chia seed oils properties together—moisturizing, protection, and calming you have the perfect natural ingredient for maintaining your skin through all its changes. And that is why I chose to include it in all our Facial Oil blends.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE