What kind of foods hydrate and nourish? Watermelon. Coconut water. Cucumber. These are the ingredients that come to my mind when I’m walking outside, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh ocean air. I’m wondering how to blend these ingredients up and make something nourishing out of it. A freshly blended, icy, good for you slushie comes to mind. I need moisture, replenishing moisture. Drinking water isn’t enough for me these days. My skin has been especially dry, and I’m noticing that the very basics of feeling good come down to three things: drinking water, eating whole foods, and sleep. Those three things are the most simple, yet effective, in feeling youthful, vibrant and delicious. Yes, delicious! I hold this working theory that the better hydrated, the better you feel, the even better your sex life. Hydration is essential to everything: feeling good and looking beautiful starts inside. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, exercising (like yoga, pilates, walking, bicycling) and hydrate your body. As we age, we need more water to help us stay juicy. Plump up those cheeks, moisten your lips and drink up!
So, how to feel juicy? I’ve contemplated how to create and conjure up a beautifying, nourishing drink that helps me glow with radiant health and moisturize my skin from the inside out.
Here are the ingredients and why they are good for you:
COCONUT WATER: Hydration at its tastiest. There has been a surge of coconut water drinks on the market, and I’m excited to find coconut water in so many stores. Ideally, fresh from the coconut is best. I love drinking coconut water with a straw in the top of the opened coconut. Its sweet flavor is easy to drink, although some people don’t have the palate for it. It’s one of those things that you either love or you don’t. If you don’t, I suggest using it in a smoothie if you want to benefit from its nutritional content. Drinking coconut water has a certain nourishing quality that helps me feel better when I’m catching a cold or fighting off the flu. Electrolyte and mineral rich, coconut water is the hydrating nectar of the tropics, naturally sweet, excellent in smoothies or making almond milk, and great on its own. Coconut water also contains bioactive enzymes that aid in metabolism and digestion, adding to the list of healthy reasons to drink coconut water regularly.
WATERMELON: Watermelon is 92 percent water, high in vitamins B5 and C, beta carotene, folic acid, vitamins B1, 2, 3 and 6. Watermelons contain calcium, magnesium, lycopene, phosphorus and potassium. They help quench our thirst and we can’t imagine a summer without eating them in big, juicy slices. High in potassium, a natural diuretic, reduces uric acid in the blood, lowers blood pressure, and (listen up, gentlemen) watermelon rind helps raise your erection a bit. Really? This is why:
Watermelon rind contains a high concentration of a phytonutrient called citrulline which relaxes blood vessels to increase blood flow throughout the body. This has a similar effect as some erectile dysfinction treatment medications. It can also assist prostate health.
ALOE: Aloe Vera juice has many benefits. Care should be used, however, as it is extremely laxative. Just a little bit of aloe juice goes a long way; so don’t go wild with it. Also, it can lower blood sugar, so diabetics need to use it sparingly.
CUCUMBER: When I treat myself to a spa day, I think of cucumbers. The classic image of a woman wearing cucumber slices on her eyes isn’t just a silly cliché — it actually works for the skin in many ways. The spa I frequent is a Korean spa and the first thing I do is schedule a body scrub. This is one of my beauty secrets that everyone can benefit from. Dead, tired skin is sloughed off, improving its radiance and circulation. During the scrub, where I am completely head to toe naked, sliding around on a wet vinyl massage table, being scrubbed with a loofah by a strong Korean lady, I am dreaming of “the cucumber moment.”
The “cucumber moment” is when my therapist covers my face with freshly grated, ice-cold cucumber. Just the smell of cucumber makes me happy and relaxed. And guess what? The scent of cucumber is an aphrodisiac for women. No wonder. I must admit, sometimes while I’m laying there with the cucumber all over my face, I feel a bit like a sunomono salad. But drifting off during the body scrub into relaxing bliss with cold grated cucumber on my face makes me a happy girl. And that is one of my better associations with cucumber. Yes, the phallic shape has been a well known source of adult-oriented humor. But that’s not why I love cucumbers so much. They taste so watery good and slices of them in a pitcher of water lends a refreshing taste to every day drinking water. Super hydrating!
Cucumber is a palate cleanser, nourishing with its high content of water, potassium, antioxidant vitamin A, and vitamin K, which is necessary for supporting and regulating blood coagulation. There are so many reasons why that crunchy, cool cucumber is good for you. Eating it and using it on the skin, both ways benefit your beauty.
Add cucumber slices to your drinking water to keep in a glass pitcher in the refrigerator!
ASIAN PEAR: Sweet, juicy, crunchy. Asian pears (Nashi in Japanese, Bae in Korean) Apple pears, Korean pears— it has many names but one thing is for sure: they are hydrating and delicious! With a quenching taste between an apple and a pear, the Asian pear is one of my favorite fruits. It has many beautifying perks and contains a golden amount of nutritious value. High in vitamin C, the Asian pear helps boost immunity, nourish the body with water, fiber, and minerals like potassium. Vitamin C also helps your body form collagen, a protein in our connective tissue. Asian pears contain a bounty of B vitamins, such as folate and pantothenic acid, niacin and B-6.
LIME: Limes are known for their effective treatment of scurvy. The slang term “Limey” was coined back in the 17th and 18th century, a derogatory name for British sailors that suffered from scurvy, a chronic deficiency of vitamin C. Those poor British sailors of yore needed limes and lemons to boost their vitamin C levels and how! Drinking rum all day in the salty sea air and strong sun, those sailors looked awful rough. But the lime, fragrant and packing a cannon shot of powerful flavonoids blasted those sailors with anti oxidant, anti carcinogenic, anti biotic and detoxifying limey nutrition. Skin disorders, bleeding gums, digestion ailments and constipation be gone! They recovered from scurvy. Even if you aren’t suffering from scurvy, as I’m sure you aren’t, try using limes (and lemons) more often for that natural vitamin C boost.
Coconut Watermelon Elixir
1/2 bag ice, lime flavored if possible
Coconut water from 1 whole fresh coconut, cold, opened
1/2 small watermelon, cold, chopped
Lime juice from 1 lime, squeezed
1 Asian pear, chilled, cut in slices
1/2 chilled cucumber
1/4 cup chilled aloe juice (optional)
sweeten with 1 tablespoon of sweetener of choice (optional)
I emphasize the words cold and chilled in this recipe. Make sure all ingredients are cold and chilled so that you aren’t relying on the ice to make everything chilly. Cold cucumber, watermelon, aloe, and coconut water taste more refreshing when kept at that icy temperature.
In a high powered blender like a Vitamix, blend all ingredients into a slushie. Pour into a cold glass. Add straw and enjoy.