Ludmila MacDonald from Blitz Patisserie reveals how a cake can not just look and taste good, but do you good too!
Have you ever heard of a cake that makes you beautiful? No, neither did I, so I decided to explore the possibilities. As we know, beauty comes from inside out. What you put into your body will reflect on your skin, hair and nails. So, what makes us beautiful? What does the body need to reward us with healthy looking skin, shiny hair and strong nails? I embarked on a challenge not only to learn the essentials we need, but also to create a delicious recipe as a result of my findings.
Vitamins and microelements are a minefield, but you don’t need the whole Mendeleev table, just the essential few to look amazing. The recipe on page 108 will help boost your immune system and keep you healthy and glowing.
One by one let’s go through the vitamins to understand their function and sources, so you can use them widely in your diet or confidently substitute ingredients in your raw cake. Note that ingredients mentioned are relevant to the making of cakes only, so the list is not full and doesn’t include ingredients for other dishes.
Vitamins for the maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails
Biotin increases hair’s elasticity, making it strong. It helps produce keratin, which is the main component of healthy hair, strong nails and glowing skin. There are two forms of biotin and the easiest one for the body to absorb comes from plants. Biotin is found is nuts, like pecans, peanuts and walnuts, and seeds like sunflower. Bananas, carrots, raspberries and avocados are natural sources of biotin, as well as leafy greens.
Vitamin A is important to keep hair healthy and to maintain and repair vital skin tissue, commonly used in anti-ageing creams. It’s an antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system. Because vitamin A is fat soluble it pairs up well with coconut oil. Carrots, spinach, kale, dried apricots and mangos are full of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin E is necessary for the skin and hair. It’s the most abundant vitamin found in skin. This fat-soluble antioxidant is good for the immune system and anti-ageing. Foods containing vitamin E are: sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds; almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts; avocados, papaya and leafy greens.
Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is needed by many different types of skin cells for proper regeneration and growth, reducing the signs of ageing, preventing wrinkles and fighting greying of the hair. This acid strengthens hair follicles, allowing them to function properly. Use sunflower seeds, avocados, spinach and peanuts to get pantothenic acid into your system.
Vitamin C is essential for production of collagen, which is a component of hair, skin and nails. Collagen helps reduce wrinkles and improves skin texture. This powerful antioxidant helps your body to absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth. Strawberries, oranges, kale and grapefruit are rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin D is a key ingredient for a beautiful looking skin. It controls your body’s mineral balance, especially zinc levels, making it one of the best vitamins for your skin. Of course, the best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but tofu is also a good source of this vitamin and can be used instead of cashews in a cheesecake filling.
Iron is necessary for the hair to retain lustre, skin to have a healthy pinkish glow and your nails to stay strong and well moisturised. You need vitamin C to help your body to absorb iron. The best sources of iron are: tofu, spirulina, dried apricots, pumpkin and sesame seeds, cashews, pistachios and chia seeds.
Zinc is one of the most important minerals contributing to the health of your skin. Zinc is needed for production of collagen and elastin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It contributes towards hair and nail growth and helps to prevent inflammation and acne. The following foods contain a great amount of zinc: pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp and poppy seeds; nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews; oats, spinach and spirulina.
Selenium is an important trace mineral. Numerous health benefits of selenium are: boosts hair growth, keeps the nails strong and fights free radicals that damage cells leading to ageing of skin. Eat Brazil nuts, chia, sesame and flax seeds to boost selenium levels in your body.
Vitamin K is now used by dermatologists to help ageing and damaged skin to look younger and healthier. Leafy greens, strawberries and prunes all contain vitamin K.
There are some superfoods that contain most of these vitamins and microelements:
- Spirulina contains 65 percent protein, all eight essential amino acids, especially high in omega 3, 6 and 9s, high in chlorophyll (helps flush toxins), great source of iron, high in beta carotenoids that help clear your skin, high in calcium, selenium and zinc and vitamin C, D, A and E.
- Chlorella is a powerhouse of essential nutrients containing all the B vitamins, vitamin C, E, iron and magnesium, essential fatty acids and highly absorbable amino acids. Helps to delay ageing and activate cell renewal – gentle detoxifier.
- Wheatgrass contains over 100 different elements needed by man. The most important of nutrients in wheatgrass is chlorophyll, which gives wheatgrass its signature, bright green colour. It’s a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier, acts like an antioxidant to reduce free radical damage, is a blood strengthener and can help give you a boost in energy. Wheatgrass is rich in the following nutrients: iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium and calcium, amino acids, vitamins A, C, E, K and pantothenic acid (B5).
- Beetroot juice is a rich source of iron, calcium and vitamins A, C. It purifies the blood leading to healthy and glowing skin – powerful antioxidant.
- Acai berry has an abundance of vitamins A, C and E and minerals such as zinc and selenium, essential for your skin. This indigenous berry found in the rainforests of the Amazon is a powerful antioxidant that helps to stimulate immune system and repair oxidative damage.
Fancy making your own superfood cheesecake? Give this vegan strawberry and lime superfood cheesecake recipe a try!