Eat your way to healthy skin
Beauty cases beware: Your days of being overfilled with useless creams and lotions maybe replaced with a little nut. While peeled almond slivers are traditionally found on top of Aunt Bessy's sponge cake, in the beauty world, they're making their way on top of faces. "Xingren has a nourishing yin effect on the skin," says Beijing Chinese Medicine practitioner Stefan Brinkop. "It moisturizes kidneys, spleen and lungs," he says. With autumn's drying effect on the skin, there is no better time to munch your way to healthy, glowing skin.
The Holy Nut
Almonds (as well as pistachios) are mentioned in the Bible many times. In Genesis, Israel asked his son to "take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present." One of the gifts happened to be almonds.
If almonds were good enough to merit a mention in the Holy Book, they were certainly good enough for explores to chomp on while trekking. It is said that almonds were introduced to Europe and the Middle East by explorers traveling the Silk Road to China.
During the Tang era (618-907 A.D), one of China's most cosmopolitan of dynasties, there were many failed attempts to introduce dairy products to China, but the Chinese were more interested in extracting the juice from nuts and berries. This fascination led to the creation of almond milk and since then, its popularity hasn't wilted with canned almond milk (lulu) available at most grocery stores.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dry skin is due to a yin deficiency, which is caused by a lack of body fluids that are needed to naturally moisturize and nourish the skin. Brinkop says one way to rejuvenate skin is to eat more "green food."
Such food includes peaches, plums, apricots, dates and almonds. It's little surprise then, that many face creams, cleansing bars and exfoliating masks contain almond extract.
Prescription: For a nutty tea, crush a handful of peeled almonds into a paste. Add hot soybean milk and drink. Add sugar to sweeten. For a tea on the run, substitute the almond paste for a few teaspoons of canned lulu.
The main function of the stomach is to aid digestion by moving food particles to the smaller intestine. Stomachaches, indigestion and colic are bought on when there is a lack of digestive fluids.
"All types of nuts - walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds - are good for people with long term digestion problems," says Brinkop.
Prescription: Add crushed almonds and other nuts to breakfast porridge or congee. Add honey to sweeten.