Do Fruit And Veggie Smoothies Really Clear Your Complexion? I Drank Spinach And Fruit For 15 Days To Find Out
It's no secret that allegedly, drinking fruit and veggie smoothies benefits your skin. So, when a good friend of mine recently endeavored to drink a green smoothie every day for a week, it seemed like a good time to jump on the bandwagon, and measure some of the effects. After all, summer is just around the corner, and for many people, that signals a time for revamping health and beauty routines in order to feel and look radiant. It's also a great time to rebound from some of the damage that winter can do to your skin, and of course, replenishing some of the nutrients we sometimes lack in the winter season from slacking on our fresh fruit intake or staying out of the sun is a tried and true way to give our personal beauty routines an added boost.
Granted, there are other options out there, and if you don't feel inclined to ride the internal juice cleanse or smoothie diet train, you can turn to these natural facial smoothies to get your antioxidant fix. I, however, love a good smoothie, and although I used to drink them regularly, up until recently, it had been a while since I made blending and sipping part of my regular routine.
Getting back into the habit excited me, and while I was tempted to try out the myriad of colorful fruit and veggie combos out there, I knew that for the sake of this experiment, it would probably serve everyone better if I kept things simple. So, I stuck to a few easily attainable ingredients, primarily focusing on high antioxidant and vitamin B levels. The theory here was that the daily intake of all of these green, purple, red, and yellow yummies would help protect my skin from spring and summer sun, hopefully up my collagen production (which gives skin its elasticity and firmness), and clear up some of my blemishes.
After some research, trial, and error, I settled on a daily combination of the following items:
- 1 cup of fresh spinach (antioxidant rich, high in vitamin C, which supports collagen production)
- 1/3 cup of fresh kale (reduces inflammation, high in antioxidants, and high in vitamin C)
- 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries (because they've been on sale locally, and my pocket book liked that, but also because they boast one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits)
- 1/2 cup of fresh red grapes (for UV protection, antioxidants, and vitamin C)
- 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple (they're high in antioxidants, and contain bromelain, a natural digestive enzyme)
- 2/3 cup of frozen strawberries and blueberries (again, these berries are super packed with antioxidants, and their frozen nature means not having to add ice)
- 2/3 cup of water
For just over two weeks, I blended these ingredients together each morning, and enjoyed them with a side of water as a start to my day, which worked really well, because they're so refreshing together, even without dairy or added sweeteners. Despite how repetitive I chose to be with their flavor profile, drinking these smoothies each day didn't get old because I wasn't limiting my intake of other foods or drinking only smoothies, so, it still felt like I was able to maintain a sense of variety. And while juice cleanses can be beneficial now and then, with the exception of some extreme cases, they're not really meant to be a long term solution, so it is important to treat any long term juice or smoothie regimen as an add-on to your existing daily diet.
So, was it worth it? Well, let's start with a visual comparison from day one to day 15, and go from there.
Now, there are a few considerations we have to take into account. Primarily, you'll notice the lighting in these two images is slightly different, because while my main light was in the same position, the first image (on the left), from the beginning of the experiment, was taken on a very overcast day, whereas the second was taken on a sunny morning (when I was sleepy, so please be kind), and my bathroom has a window, which bounces a bunch of light into the room. Secondarily, my hair color is obviously different, which gives my skin the appearance of having a slightly more yellow tone as well. However, right off the bat, there are a handful of things worth noting, which you may or may not be able to pick up on from these images, but living with my face on a daily basis, I've definitely been aware of.
1. Collagen Boost
For quite some time, I've had a sprinkling of fine lines gaining depth between my brows and on my forehead. And for all of my beliefs regarding wrinkles as signs that we've lived full, emotion-worthy lives, I'll admit they've still been a source of anxiety for me. I'll be happy to embrace them in a decade or two, but for now, I'd like to keep them at bay.
While most of my friends and family tell me they're hardly noticeable, they are quite literally the very first thing my eyes go to when I look in the mirror, without fail. You may have to click the images above to see them clearly, but if you do, you'll notice that they're more apparent on the day I began my smoothie regimen than on the final day. I can only assume that since I've made no further changes to my diet or skin care routines, I have the increased levels of vitamin C provided by my daily smoothies to thank for this happy little collagen boost. That alone is reason enough for me to keep blending.
2. Clearer Skin
This one I'm a bit surprised at, not only because I've eaten a mad amount of ice cream recently, but also because that was a development that became apparent pretty early on. By the end of the first five days of incorporating the daily spinach and fruit smoothie into my diet, my pores were clearing out, and I was impressed. There are, of course, still some visible blemishes (I have a tendency to rest my face in my hand when I work, or touch my temples, and those areas are always a little breakout prone), but what's there is petite, and seems to heal fairly quickly, which is certainly a nice plus.
3. Even Skin Tone
Whether it's caused by an allergic reaction to something I've been eating or some other unknown factor, over the past few years I've noticed some dull redness forming around my inner cheeks and lower nose, and much to my excitement, these smoothies have also helped to clear some of that up. While the redness is not entirely gone, it's certainly more subtle, and the overall texture and tone of my skin seems to be evening out, not to mention, the areas around my forehead and inner cheeks where my pores were largest have begun to tighten.
4. Less Puffy Eyes
As you can see, I rock some pretty puffy eyes. They've been a part of my personal brand of beauty since I was four or five years old, and frankly, it doesn't seem to matter what creams I use, the puffy, dark circles always stick around. And, yes, they're still there — no miracles to announce on that front. But, I will say that they seem to be less pronounced after this experiment, and I'm excited to see if over time they lessen even more.
5. Muscle Tone
Since adding spinach and fruit smoothies to my daily routine, I've noticed increased muscle tone on my entire body. Pretty cool, considering I hadn't expected this benefit — although I suppose it doesn't really come as that much of a surprise. Some of the cellulite build up around my upper arms and thighs has become less apparent, and my tummy is experiencing slightly less bloating, which makes sense, since my digestion has greatly improved, and I've noticed my sleep patterns evening out a bit as well.
6. Expedited Hair Growth
My esthetician is going to be pleased about this one, perhaps more than I am. Although the extra few centimeters added to my tresses in the past 15 days seems nice, I've also noticed that my collection of stray eyebrow hair has nearly doubled, which is both intriguing and a little alarming. I guess it's time to head back in for yet another eyebrow threading experience.
Generally speaking, the physical changes have been subtle and are, of course, subjective. But after 15 days of drinking smoothies, I only want to continue the habit. Beyond a few days of adjusting to my more active digestion, there was little to no discomfort in the process, and I certainly feel more at ease, which could be just as much from the energy boost I've experienced, considering the uptake in my vitamin B levels these past few weeks. Either way, for me, smoothies as a daily beauty regimen are here to stay.