There’s a nip of newness in the air. Enjoy wellness inside-out this New Year with these choicest fresh fruits and vegetables, says Brinda Gill
Bell peppers add a dash of zing to a dish with their bright colours, crunchy texture and mild flavours. A good source of beta-carotene, bell peppers help prevent damage by free radicals, while the Vitamin C it contains boosts the immune system and helps keep skin youthful. Though packed with nutrients they are low in calories.
Bell peppers are not chilli, which makes them easy to add to food preparations. Enjoy them raw, with a tasty low-calorie dip, lightly steamed, roasted, stuffed or baked!
• Pick up bell peppers that have taut skin, are firm to touch and heavy for their size. Bell peppers that have deep vivid colours are high on health-giving bioflavonoids.
Wheat is widely consumed across the world; valued as a good source of energy for its protein, minerals and dietary fibre. Wholewheat flour, coarsely ground wheat and wheat bran are also beneficial for topical application.
“Wholewheat has a cleansing effect on the skin. It helps remove dead skin cells and accelerates the process of cell regeneration, keeping skin youthful,” says beauty expert Shahnaz Husain. She suggests a few easy recipes.
• Mix wholewheat flour with little warm water and honey, apply the paste on your skin and wash off after 20 minutes.
• For acne-prone skin, mix three teaspoons wheat bran, an egg white, one teaspoon of honey and yogurt each. Apply on face, avoiding the area around the lips and eyes. Wash off after 20-30 minutes. Add egg yolk or almond oil instead of egg white, for normal to dry skin.
One of the world’s most popular fruits, orange is valued for its Vitamin C content that protects against cell damage and for its health-giving bioflavonoids. Oranges are low in calories, good to taste and versatile—they can be enjoyed as a juice, eaten, added to salads and used in desserts.
As oranges are full of nutrients, their extracts are used in skincare products as well as in easy blends made at home. On topical application, orange extracts act as an astringent, reduce pigmentation and smoothen and soften skin.
• Fresh orange peels may be grated or dried orange peel powder used along with cream to make a face mask for application on normal to dry skin. The blend tones and nourishes the skin, and when gently massaged it helps remove dead skin.
• Orange peel may be mixed with yogurt for application on oily skin.
Rosemary essential oil
Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is a small evergreen shrub that yields a sharp, herbaceous aroma when crushed. A popular ingredient in food, rosemary has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. “Rosemary essential oil has been widely used in aromatherapy as it helps relieve muscular tension and fatigue. It helps to close pores, prevents pore clogging and has a healing effect on pimples,” says Husain. She recommends a few simple blends:
• Rosemary essential oil should always be mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil.
• Add a few drops to rose water for use as a skin toner.
• A blend of one part rosemary essential oil with three parts rose water can be applied on pimples.