Tropical Fruits To Invigorate Your Skin
September 6th, 2011
On Little Corn Island on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua you’ll see lovely pineapple plants each with one sizable textured fruit each. You’ll notice this as you graze them walking the most gorgeous path from the south to the north of a tiny island that is surrounded by aqua and cerulean blue sea and has no roads for cars! That’s right not a single car on the island to disturb the growth of this marvelously unique fruit-talk about going green. They are most for real there with a single path for pedestrians and bikers only and the juiciest sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted just growing in a “Nica’s” backyard. Nica’s will tell you personal tales there on Little Corn of the proven medicinal benefits of pineapple and every other botanical there-whether you inquire or not.
But if you do ask you’ll find that bromelain in pineapple is a protein digesting enzyme that is excellent when coupled with fruit which you’ll find plenty of in the Caribbean. For skin, the citrus fruit has intense anti-inflammatory properties especially helpful during and following sun exposure.
The University Of Maryland Medical Center reported that applying pineapple directly to a wound expedited the healing process. It also relieves itchy skin due to insect bites or allergens. When used as an exfolliant, the crushed organic fruit combined with sea salt actually gently removes the older surface skin layers revealing your skin’s soft youthful vitality beneath.
This yummy one is deemed the “super fruit” of the tropics because of it’s many nutrients and health benefits. The long list begins with the essential anti-oxidants. If you plan to protect you skin from the litany of free radicals out there from pollutants to sun damage you will want to choose any organic foods that aid this process.
Look no further than guava for this benefit and the many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium, and manganese. It has astringent properties making it an excellent choice as a skin cleanser that both tones and tightens skin. The soft fruit also effectively detoxifies skin for clearer pores that breathe better and promote an overall healthier appearance. Protein-rich guava has been known to assist with weight loss management allowing your body to better absorb nutrients as it fills you up. One medium size guava can fill you up for breakfast with no noticeable hunger until the next meal.
Papaya or “pawpaw,“ of South American origin, is another healing tropical fruit with enzymes that promote healthy digestion of protein and reduces nausea. When I visited Thailand some years ago, I saw endless commercials on the skin bleaching effects of papaya soap that are still popularly marketed even today. There are exhaustive accounts of the benefits of papaya for overall improved health. It is vitamin and mineral abundant with calcium, riboflavin, iron, potassium, vitamin A and C. Without this sufficient source of vitamin A daily skin is prone to distress. The vitamin C heals wounds and sunburn, enhances collagen production for toned skin and inhibits conditions like eczema. In shampoos the fruit prevents the build up of dandruff on the scalp. The compound carotene found in papaya also protects against skin damage from exposure to solar UV rays. As a diuretic this giant pod-shaped fruit helps in cleansing the body and skin of toxins when eaten as part of healthy balanced diet. You can apply this natural antiseptic directly to your skin after cleansing to tighten pores and gently soothe inflammation after a lazy day at the beach.
Just keep in mind that even with the sun protection benefits these fruits offer it’s still essential to choose a sunscreen with sufficient SPF to properly shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
Antropia Luna has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and a Masters degree in cultural anthropology from New Mexico State University–now writing health and wellness articles for Joanna Vargas Skincare Sanctuary in NYC. Otherwise trekking the national museum scene freelance.