Superfoods For Healthy Glowing Skin

How do you get radiant, glowing, supple skin? Although our skin is external, it can be a reflection of one’s hygiene practices and internal health. Aside from applying beauty creams on your face as a moisturizer or an SPF, you can also incorporate these super foods into your diet:

· Munch on berries in your oatmeal, or load up a power shake with a cupful. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are rich in antioxidants, which protect the skin from premature aging. They are also rich in vitamin C, which is needed for collagen production. Collagen is considered to be the skin’s structural foundation, and a lack of it can cause a dull skin surface, sagging skin, lines, and wrinkles. This is why berries are usually used as main ingredients in beauty supplements.

· Snack on citrus fruits, like oranges, kiwi and grapefruit. Many beauty supplements and creams boast ingredients that are rich in Vitamin C. This is because vitamin C plays a critical role in collagen synthesis and regeneration from damage.

· Load up on lycopene. Tomatoes are the best source of the antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. When your skin is exposed to sunlight and UV, free radicals form and can cause abnormalities. Antioxidants like lycopene can neutralize these effects. Create your own tomato sauce for your pasta, or just add some slices of tomato to your sandwiches or burgers.

· Incorporate food that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acid into your diet. We’ve all heard that this healthy fatty acid is good for heart health. Apart from this benefit, its anti-inflammatory and hydration effects are also great for your skin, particularly in protecting its collagen. That’s another reason why you need to add salmon and olive oil to your grocery list.

· You can also enjoy dark chocolate. Here’s one big reason to celebrate: chocolate contains flavanols and polyphenols, antioxidants that protect the skin from free radical damage. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, flavanol was shown to improve circulation, hydration, and photo-protection.

· Drink green tea regularly for smooth, younger-looking skin. Brew a perfect cup by steeping the teabag in hot water for less than 3 minutes. Green tea contains polyphenols that help protect your skin cells from free radicals.

· Add kale to your diet, be it in a salad, as snack chips, or added to your daily shake. This top superfood is revered for its high content of fiber, as well as vitamins E, B1, B2, C, and A. All of these help protect your skin from sun damage and premature aging. Kale also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which help regulate water retention.

Sources:

Heinrich U, Neukam K, Tronnier H, Sies H, Stahl W. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr. 2006;136(6):1565-9.

Raw Smoothies For Raw Foodies

In a world where food is growing more and more artificial, more people are returning to the basics. Eating healthy is all about getting the most nutrients out of the food you eat. One of the best options is going raw.

A raw food diet is focused on promoting personal health, weight loss, and energy gain through the preparation and consumption of raw, unprocessed foods. This means you’ll eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and nuts, with a few other, similar ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you can’t turn the oven on every once in a while, but it does mean that about three-quarters of your diet will remain uncooked.

The reasoning behind eating a raw food diet is simple: nutrient retention. Certain studies have shown that cooking food, particularly vegetables and other produce, can significantly reduce the amount of nutrients available. For instance, cooking a tomato for two minutes can reduce vitamin C levels by 10%; 29% if they were cooked for half an hour. That’s almost a third of the vitamin C lost!

The advantages of eating a raw food diet come not only from the food’s uncooked state, but also the types of foods best suited to the style; reducing carbohydrate and animal fat intake results in weight loss, increased heart health, and the higher-than-regular fiber intake keeps you, well, regular.

That’s not to say you should cut all cooked foods. Removing steamed vegetables and the vast array of potential vegetable stews and soups isn’t necessary, and many raw food enthusiasts consume some manner of cooked fish or lean poultry for iron and protein. Another limiting factor is the potential cost of the food itself. Depending on the area, produce selection may make a raw food diet difficult or pricey to obtain.

One popular way to consume food on a raw food diet is through smoothies. Many components of a raw food diet are perfect for blending into these tasty drinks, and the natural nutrients present in the ingredients make them healthy to boot.

Here’s a recipe for an easy, delicious, and healthy smoothie using ingredients you can get at your local market:
1 mango
1 banana
1 cup spinach (or other leafy green)
1 cup apple juice

Instructions:
1. Peel and chop mango and place it in blender.
2. Peel banana and place it in blender with mango.
3. Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly.
Yields one quart.

Top Tips: What Healthy Eating Can Do For Your Body

If you have slid into the habit of grabbing what-ever is available on the fly when you are busy, it isn’t enough to think, “Tomorrow I will start to eat healthier.” The only way we actually do what we promise ourselves is when we take actual steps and make changes.

Visualize what healthy foods are
Make a plan how to have them constantly available
Avoid the fillers and nutrient lacking junk foods, fats, sugars and high in salt processed stuff

What are healthy foods?

Dark colored fruits and veggies: rich in flavonoid antioxidants, according to an article published in “Psychopharmacology”, showed a diet of 2 percent blueberries led to greater levels of nerve growth in the learning and memory centers of the brain, called the hippocampus. A 12-week blueberry increased diet improved the spatial working memory in old animals as well. Reservatrol can reverse damage in the brain, even alcohol-induced brain damage. Other berries high in reservatrol include cranberries and bilberries.

Freezing dark berries before eating makes the anti-oxidants easier to be absorbed by the body.

The “Journal of Neuroscience Research” says scientists have found a way to prevent the formation of amyloid, a bad protein that causes twisted fibers in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Eating blueberries and other dark colored berries high in polyphenols, improve the function of mitochondria, the energy powerhouse in brain cells. Other health beneficial veggies are beets, sweet potatoes, red and purple cabbage, eggplant, purple cauliflower and kale, also help to reduce bone loss.

Orange fruits and vegetables: Oranges, mangoes, apricots, persimmons, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and the like, are rich in anti-oxidants like beta carotene, vitamins A & C, and folate to promote healthy eyes, fight infection and inflammation, healthy skin.

Greens: kale, collards, broccoli, spinach, leafy veggies, lettuce, cabbage, Swiss chard are all in the nutritious powerhouse family with calcium, vitamins A, C and K, folate and potassium. Needed for healthy bones and to protect the heart and liver, plus lowers the risk of cancers, like breast cancer.

Proteins: lean ground sirloin, chicken, salmon, other fish, eggs, baby soybeans, milk, cottage cheese, other dairy cheeses, nuts, sunflower seeds, nuts, and yogurt. Promotes strong bones and teeth, nails and hair, builds and repairs tissue, builds enzymes, hormones, and chemicals the body needs to function properly. Also creates building blocks for muscles, cartilage, skin and bloods.

Micro-nutrients like proteins are needed through better food sources. Extra protein does not build more muscle, only exercise increases muscle mass.

New Super Grains: A new trend discovery. A grain called Teff, quick cooking and has the leading calcium content in any other grain, Great source of vitamin C, not normally found in grains. This super grain is also high in resistant starch, which effectively manages blood sugar levels, weight control, and colon health.

Busy People Can Eat Healthy and Save Money

The key to having plenty of healthy food to replace the snack nutrient robbers, is to pre-plan your foods. Purchase a set of inexpensive containers with seals. Keep everything together in your fridge; smaller containers for grains and berries, medium for already chopped vegetables, and larger containers for mixed fruits and nuts, salads, and already cooked meats.

Choose the same day each week to organize your food selections. Doing this when you are not hungry insures you will not overeat while preparing your weekly healthy food source. The freezer is a great place to store surplus berries as the frozen berries are better digested.

Purchase a high powered blender and find some excellent recipes for “green smoothies”. The best way to get healthy doses of raw nutrients like kale, spinach and cabbage is to mixed them with sweeter fruits like apples and berries for a “to go” beverage, when there is not enough time for a meal.

Purchase your favorite healthy foods by bulk at stores like Costco or Wal-Mart; store them in the freezer or zip-lock baggies to keep them fresh longer. Also have sandwich bags with fruits, nuts, and grains to nibble instead of those dreaded chips, pretzels and high calorie crackers.

Citations:
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/blackberries.html, http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/blueberries-brain-6973.html, http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/superfoods-11-berries-to-improve-your-health, http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/10/19/eating-by-color-orange/
http://www.webmd.com/men/features/benefits-protein
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/09/healthy-whole-grains-guide_n_3392032.html