How To Get The Most Out Of Your Antioxidants
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With all the wellness tips out there, it can get pretty overwhelming. What am I supposed to eat? Where do I even get that? Yeah, we've all been there. Eating healthy shouldn't be confusing nor should it be a struggle. When it comes down to it, we should eat what makes our bodies feel and look it's best. That's where antioxidants come in.

To put it simply, antioxidants are your body's best defender. These naturally occurring compounds fight free radicals, assist in healing skin, and boost your immune system (to name a few benefits).

When a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet is combined with a similar skincare routine, it makes a difference.

Here's what you need to know:

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For Your Skin:

Skincare has always been extremely important to me. But it hasn't always been an easy road. I've dealt with acne, melasma, the whole thing! When I first started modeling, I was breaking out pretty badly. It could have been something to do with the stress of traveling or the constant wear of makeup. It also probably didn't help that my idea of a skincare routine was finding the harshest cleansers around to clear up my face. It didn't end so pretty! Instead of banishing my breakouts, it made them worse.

Conclusion? Skincare should be just like our diet: simple, easy, and full of nutrient-rich antioxidants. When I partnered with Garnier Skin Active, I knew how important it was to educate women on how a healthy skincare routine can make a huge difference.

When applied to the skin, antioxidants have major beauty and skincare benefits depending on their unique properties. Here's a quick guide to some of the most common antioxidants (+ my product recommendations from Garnier SkinActive!):

Vitamin C: Can have brightening and skin restoring properties. Reduces the appearance of brown spots and sun damage, increases the effectiveness of your sun screen.

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Sun Damage Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($14.99)

Vitamin E: Moisture protecting and restoring properties

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Overnight Peel ($16.99)

Vitamin A: Helps in the fight against anti-aging. Can interrupt the free-radical damage process that causes wrinkling and other signs of aging.

Garnier SkinActive Ultra-Lift 2-In-1 Serum + Moisturizer ($16.99)

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On Your Plate:

You know how they say "you are what you eat?" Well, add a bunch of delicious antioxidants into your diet and reap the benefits. Not only do they fight free radicals but can also promote heart health, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation.

The easiest way to ensure you're getting enough antioxidant rich foods is to have as much color in your diet as possible. Or as I like to call it, "eating the rainbow." The more variety and color, the more vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients you'll get.

8 antioxidant-rich foods to add to your diet + their unique benefits:

  1. Oranges: The high concentration of Vitamin C in oranges has other benefits beside immune health. The compounds have also been linked to fighting off free radicals that cause cancer (specifically in the mouth) and lowering cholesterol levels.
  2. Grapefruit: A great source of Vitamin A and C. Not only has grapefruit been known to fight off certain types of cancers but the fruit can also help with weight loss by stabilizing blood sugar and keeping you full longer.
  3. Blueberries:This fruit packs a serious punch. A half cup of blueberries can double your normal intake and has fantastic anti-aging effects.
  4. Blackberries: Another berry with major health benefits. Blackberries have been linked to reducing the risks of certain cancers.
  5. Acai Berries:These purple berries strictly grow in the Amazon Rainforest, which is home to the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. Acai is believed to improve heart health, circulation and prevent clogging.
  6. Spinach: Another reason to get your greens! Spinach has high concentrations of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E which work together to fight off numerous health problems related to free radicals. This veggie also contains high amounts of Vitamin K which is important for maintaining bone health. Popeye was definitely onto something!
  7. Sweet potatoes: Have you ever wondered what gives a sweet potato that gorgeous orange hue? It's the beta-carotene, which is responsible for raising the levels of Vitamin A in our blood.
  8. Carrots: Another root vegetable packed with beta-carotene. Carrots have always been a well-known link to eye and vision health.
  9. Walnuts: We've all heard of super fruits but what about super nuts? Walnuts, specifically, contain an antioxidant called polyphenols which are masters at fighting free radicals pertaining to cancer. Be careful though! Nuts are loaded with calories so be mindful of your intake.
  10. Grapes: While all grapes have antioxidant content, it's the red variety that packs the most. They contain an antioxidant compound called Resveratrol, which has been linked to fighting cancer and heart disease. And, yes. Your glass of red wine counts (in moderation, of course!)

Here's a yummy antioxidant-rich recipe by one of my favorite superfood chefs, Julie Morris:

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photo credit: Oliver Barth | Food Photography LA

Acai Salsa

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon acai powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar, or liquid sweetener of choice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of  cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup blackberries, halved width-wise
  • 1 cup mango, finely diced
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, trimmed, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, trimmed, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 green onion, white and light green parts sliced thin

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, acai, olive oil, agave, sea salt and cayenne. Add all the remaining ingredients, and toss until combined. Chill 30 minutes before serving

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.