“Keep young and beautiful. It’s your duty to be beautiful…” is a lyric from an old Annie Lennox song that I remember hearing when I was a kid. Now, at first blush it may seem a bit bold to suggest that it is someone’s “duty” to be beautiful (especially if you want to be loved as the song continues), but it kind of is…. hear me out on this one.
“Beauty is only skin deep. “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” … blah blah blah. But what we overlook is that skin is in fact connected to the rest of us, and what we put in into the inside of our body, eventually shows up on the out. And, as it is kind of our “duty” to keep our bod’s healthy, by default isn’t the “looking good” part of it too? Am I stretching too much? Maybe I should just go a little more Thug Kitchen styles, “Eat your damn veggies, they will prevent you from getting more wrinkles”.
While there are lots of components to a healthy diet that keep us balling it at a 10, there is one little mineral that often gets overlooked in a world full of calcium and magnesium. A diamond in the rough that plays a critical role in hundreds of metabolic reactions, detoxification of environmental nasties, and provides structure to our precious tissues. This little gem my friends is sulphur.
Now while you may be more familiar with sulphur in terms of the pungent smell of rotten eggs, it is in fact the third most abundant mineral in our body, and when it comes to beauty its role couldn’t be more important. You want good hair, skin and nails? You need some sulfur in your diet.
Note I said above the “hundreds” of chemical reactions. While this is true, let’s not get crazy and go into them all, but rather take a quick look at some of the important ones that can impact what you have going on on the outside:
- Keratin Production – You’ve heard the word “keratin” on a bazillion shampoo commercials, and while questions remain on whether or not you can scrub it into your head, you can strengthen it through diet. Disulphide bonds that are what strengthens this important structural protein, and when it is strong so is our hair and nails.
- Collagen – picture scaffolding, but only underneath your skin. As we age our scaffolding diminishes causing sagging and wrinkles. Sulphur containing links holds you collagen together, keeping the scaffolding strong and jowls at bay.
- Biotin Conversion – this B-Vitamin is thought to make hair grow faster and fuller, and prevent ends from drying and splitting. Sulphur is needed as a donor in its metabolic conversion. You eat more sulfur, you replenish more biotin, you become the hair envy of all your friends
- Detoxification – sulphur plays and important role in our body’s detoxification pathway. Without enough of it, we simply can’t get the toxins out, and a backlog ensues. When we have too many toxins in our body our skin breaks out, nails become weak and brittle, we have low energy, and feel bloated and tired. Not a good look for anyone.
So what are some ways to make sure you getting a good source of sulphur in your diet?
- Consume high quality proteins like fish, poultry, legumes and eggs (especially the yolk)
- Eat your greens like chard, kale and Brussels sprouts
- Flavour things up with the sulphur containing veggies like onions and garlic
Below is my recipe for a sulphur-packed meal; a combination of all three categories – protein, greens, and flavour. It’s highly recommended you enjoy with a glass of wine… I am relatively certain I read somewhere that sulphur requires it to be absorbed 😉
To keeping young & beautiful.
Caramelized Onion Swiss Chard Frittata
1 x onion, finely sliced
1 x large splash of olive oil
1 x Tbsp butter
1 x splash of red wine vinegar
1 x large handful of Swiss Chard, roughly chopped
6 x eggs
1 x splash of milk
1 x pinch of red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Over medium heat melt butter and olive oil together in a medium sized cast iron skillet or oven-proof frying pan
- When pan is hot, add onions and reduce heat to low. Cook onions, stiring often for approximately 40 minutes until golden and caramelized
- While onions are cooking combine eggs, milk, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper. Gently whisk to combine
- Season onions with salt & pepper, and add splash of red wine vinegar allowing liquid to evaporate
- Remove onions from pan and set aside.
- Return heat to medium. You may need to add a splash more oil if not using a cast iron skillet
- Add chard stems to pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then add chard leaves and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until leaves have wilted slightly.
- Add onions back to pan and mix to combine
- Add egg mixture. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until egg has begun to set around the edges
- Transfer pan to the oven and cooked for about 20 minutes until top has set
- Once set, run your knife around the outside of the pan to release the frittata. Flip onto a plate and slice to serve. Leftovers store well in the fridge for about 2 days and are delicious served at room temperature.