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Berries in the Spa

By: Laura Carson Miller
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Goji berries can be consumed by drinking goji berry juice—often mixed with tea, water or other juices—or by being taken in capsules or dried forms, such as in nutrition bars or trail mix. In China, goji berries are known as a longevity fruit. Because of the high content of antioxidants in goji berries, its disease-fighting powers are in great demand. Also said to support liver and kidney health, adding goji berries to your diet stimulates the pituitary gland to release human growth hormone, helping you to look and feel younger.

Anthocyanins, compounds that give pigments to fruits and a class of phytochemicals, is one of the main substances in the açai—pronounced a-sigh-ee—berry, grown in a unique palm tree in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil. Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified clinical and research dermatologist who is considered a leader in the inflammation theory of aging, is a huge proponent of the unique properties of the açai berry for vibrant skin and its numerous health benefits.

“Açai has a fatty acid ratio that resembles extra virgin olive oil. It is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid, which helps the omega fatty acids penetrate the cell membrane, or the outer portion of the cell,” Perricone says. “Together, they make cell membranes more supple. When the cell membrane is kept supple, all hormone, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently, helping to inhibit an inflammatory state and thereby slowing down aging.”

Berries and phytonutrients

Berries that have been around are adding great skin care benefits at the spa, as well. Blueberries, widely known as a superfood, are flavor filled and very low in calories. Along with cranberries, açai berries and strawberries, blueberries contain concentrated amounts of phytonutrients, a major player in the fight against inflammation. Phytonutrients are nutrients concentrated in the skins of many vegetables and fruits, and these components are thought to promote health and well-being throughout life.

Many spa clients will sit up and take notice when you mention the anti-aging properties of berries. Suggest they research phytonutrients online or at their local library. Perricone states, “My research has shown nutrients that possess antioxidant properties act as natural anti-inflammatories. This is important because antioxidants are nature’s anti-inflammatories. These nutrients offer anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, fat-metabolizing and peptide-boosting benefits, and help prevent and reverse oxidative damage on a cellular level, which is of critical importance as we age.”

Berries in skin care