“You are what you eat”... Absolutely! It's important to eat good nourishing food to be healthy and fit, but did you know that by applying nutritious foodstuff directly onto your skin and hair can also be very 'fruitful'?
Making use of fresh natural ingredients for beauty treatments and maintaining shiny, lustrous-looking hair is nothing new. In truth, women have been using Gotu Kola, Turmeric, and Coconut Oil for centuries to cleanse and rejuvenate their skin. Today, however, we're going shopping for some different amazing superfoods foods that are easily available at local Sri Lankan markets during different times of the year and will do wonders for your inner and outer beauty:
Referred to sometimes as the 'miracle tree' or 'tree of life', this slimy textured vegetable is packed with powerful antioxidants and is used in traditional herbal medicines, and in some locally-produced teas. Its naturally-dried leaves are exceptionally rich in nutrients and are available in powdered form which can be added to curries, stews, casseroles, soups, and salads for a delicious spinachy flavour. It's an excellent source of protein, calcium, beta-carotene, vitamins A & C, potassium, and iron, and has been proven to lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and promote good cholesterol levels.
Moringa is also notable for boosting the skin's natural collagen production, keeping skin bright and healthy and increasing the firmness of your skin. It's perfect for applying topically in a paste to encourage skin cells to renew themselves, to minimise blemishes, prevent wrinkles and in combatting premature ageing. Exceptionally rich in nutrients and high in many essential vitamins, Moringa is certainly a powerful skincare ingredient, a beauty superfood essential for a flawless complexion.
Moringa oil has great beauty benefits for your hair too. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, it helps to soften de-tangle, prevent split ends and condition dry hair. Finally, Moringa oil is used as an ingredient in a range of lip balms and lip care products, as it is capable of moisturising the sensitive skin of the lips and makes them retain their softness.
DIY face mask at home mixing half a tablespoon of Moringa powder, a tablespoon each of honey and rose water, and half a tablespoon of lemon juice. Add a little water to obtain a fairly thick and smooth consistency. Then, apply to your face and leave for ten minutes before washing off with lukewarm water. Pat dry and apply a small amount of your usual moisturiser for a smooth and soft skin.
Dark crimson with leathery skin (inedible) and spikey stems on its outer layer, Dragon Fruit, Pitaya, or Strawberry Pear as it is known, is packed with soft pinkish watery flesh flecked with black seeds. This fruit of a cactus plant tastes like a combination of a kiwi and a pear and is not only used for controlling cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, but also contains beauty-boosting vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, is a source of iron and is rich in vitamins A, B, and C.
A true superfood, Dragon Fruit will work wonders for your beauty regime too. It’s essentially a natural moisturiser and as Dragon Fruit contains a natural form of collagen, it improves the elasticity of your skin to make it look firmer, and is amazing for acne-prone skin. When applied topically, the high vitamin C content helps to reduce redness and inflammation by boosting your skin’s blood flow. it can also be used to revive coloured hair and it's great as a hair fortifier boosting the condition of dry brittle hair by bonding pigments and helping to strengthen and protect hair fibres. Another super benefit of the fruit is that it's full of proteins and skin-repairing enzymes which will soothe sunburn and speed up the healing process while hydrating your skin.
Soothing DIY lotion for sunburn by blending the pulp of half a Dragon Fruit with 3 tablespoons of curd. Pat into your skin and leave for 15 minutes, then wash off with cool water.
As strange as it sounds, Jackfruit, although an exotic juicy fruit, is a popular meat substitute with a distinctive taste, something between chicken and pulled pork when cooked. It's a staple in Sri Lankan diets as it's deemed to be a high-calorie food that has little to no cholesterol or saturated fats. Believed to contain antioxidants that help protect eyesight, boost immunity, and energy, maintain blood pressure amongst other things, it's also packed with protein and loads of other powerful nutrients like Vitamin B and Potassium. Its seeds, which taste like potatoes when boiled are also rich in thiamin and riboflavin and small amounts of minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium.
AND, did you know that jackfruit is also an excellent superfood for maintaining healthy skin and hair? Jackfruit seeds are great for the skin's texture, reducing wrinkles, and for enhancing fuller, shinier, better-looking hair. For years, Sri Lankan women have realised the benefits of soaking and then grinding the seeds with cold milk to make a thick paste that keeps fine lines and pimples at bay. The seeds can also be used as a nourishing hair mask for combatting hair loss, damaged, brittle or dry hair, and irritation of the scalp... amazing superfood for the hair.
An effective jackfruit seed hair mask to achieve shiny, lustrous-looking hair. Dry the seed and grind into ½ teaspoon of powder. Mix the powder with 1 teaspoon of green banana flour, 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, 1 teaspoon of gingelly (sesame) oil and a drop of water. Massage into scalp and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing.