A recent trip to Okinawa (a city in Japan with a laid back lifestyle and tropical climate.) sparked the content for this article. What is it that keeps the complexion of the women so youthful despite being in their 60s? Age spots does not seem to exist on this island!
Genetics, Lifestyle, Skincare and Diet. These 4 factors that contribute to good complexion.
Let's go into the diet. Besides wearing vitamins on your skin with your toner, serum and moisturiser, eating the right vitamins is a prerequisite for a healthy and damage-free skin.
In general, Okinawan diets are low in salt, high in fruits and vegetables which contains plenty of fibre and antioxidants. Fibre helps to flush out toxins that would otherwise cause outbreaks and blemishes.
Here is a look at the staple foods consume by the centenarians :-
Bitter Melon : Being a natural blood purifier, bitter melon helps in improving the appearance of your skin. It has an excellent source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant which helps to reduce skin damage thereby slowing down the aging process.
Bitter melon is often served with other vegetables in a stir-fried dish called goya champuru, pictured top left, the national dish of the Okinawan diet. Also in picture, local Okinawa tofu in soup.
Bitter melon juice and tofuyo served as appetiser.
Brown Rice : Nutritionally, brown rice is superior. The rich content of fibre, vitamins and selenium in brown rice helps to maintain skin elasticity and blemish-free skin.
Brown rice with fish and vegetables served in a shiitake mushroom broth.
Seaweed : If you are looking to replace your multivitamin supplement with a natural food source, seaweed is it! Rich in carotenoids, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, iodine, selenium and zinc. It is also a treasure trove of antioxidants, phytonutrients and not forgetting the rich fibre content. What more, it contains omega-3 fatty acids and vital amino acids required by the body for cellular growth.
Clockwise from top : Sashimi, Umibudo (Okinawa seaweed aka sea grapes) and Sukugarasu Tofu (Cold silken tofu with fermented anchovies, yet another Okinawan specialty)
Purple Sweet Potatoes : A cousin of the yellow-orange sweet potatoes, despite its sweet, satisfying taste, the purple sweet potato does not spike blood sugar as much as a regular potato. It contains antioxidants called sporamin, which possess a variety of potent anti aging properties.
Deep fried Imo Purple Sweet Potato. (Not sure if this is still considered healthy but otherwise it was delish!)
Shiitake Mushrooms : Shiitake’s anti-inflammatory properties improve vitality and also encourage faster skin renewal and increase skin elasticity. The antioxidant, L-ergothioneine, helps prevent cell breakdown.
Tofu : Tofu is pretty much like bread to the Europeans. It is a huge part of the diet, similar to the rest of Japan. Soy is high in flavanoids and is extremely healthy when not genetically modified.
More tofu dishes along the course of an Okinawan dinner, with shiitake mushrooms. (bottom left)
: Ginger’s golden cousin, is prominently in the diet consume both as a spice and a tea. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent,
that helps flushing out toxins from the human body and gut.
When it comes to diet, never over eat one of anything. Hara Hachi Bu, a self-imposed habit of calorie restriction by the Okinawans, eat until you are 80% full.