Dry Skin? These Foods Can Help!
Dry warm indoor heat, cold dry outdoor air. . . . winter weather can be a challenge for your skin. The best way to protect it begins by choosing foods that support skin health. The bonus? It’s not just your skin that benefits from your efforts. The nutrients needed for a healthy glow revitalize your whole body, since every cell – right down to those cute freckles! – need the same arsenal of vitamins and minerals to stay well-tuned.
Vitamin A: This vitamin is essential for the maintenance of epithelial tissues, with skin being the largest epithelial tissue you’ve got. Skimp on this vitamin and your skin is dry, scaly, and rough. The solution? Add tons of vitamin A-rich foods to the daily diet, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, watermelon, and mangos.
B Vitamins: Poor intake of almost any B vitamin, including vitamin B2, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, or biotin, can cause dermatitis-like symptoms, such as dry or scaly skin, itching, or a burning sensation. Vitamins B2 and B6 also are important in maintaining the oil-producing glands (the sebaceous glands), which keep the skin moist and smooth. The solution? For vitamin B2 – Nonfat milk, asparagus, mushrooms. Niacin – Chicken, peanut butter, green peas. Vitamin B6 – Red meat, fish, bananas. Vitamin B12 – Red meat, nonfat milk, tempeh. Pantothenic acid – Vegetables, whole grains, meat. Biotin – Eggs, oatmeal, soy.
Zinc: This trace mineral helps maintain collagen and elastin fibers that give skin its firmness and help prevent sagging and wrinkles. Zinc is important in healing cuts and scrapes, while a deficiency causes dry, rough skin. Limited evidence suggests zinc also helps treat acne. The solution? Sprinkle wheat germ on cereal, eat oysters, and switch to whole grains.
Omega-3s: A high-fat diet increases your risk for skin cancer, while cutting back on fat reduces risk. However, the omega-3 fats are exceptions; they lower skin cancer risk and help to keep skin moist and smooth. The solution? Eat salmon twice a week or include foods fortified with an algal or vegetarian-based omega-3 DHA (it will say lifesDHA on the label).
Antioxidants: The number one enemy of skin is the sun. Don’t think you’re off the hook because it’s winter! Those UV rays can get you on the ski slopes and through cloud cover just as easy as the beach on clear days! The solution? Load the plate at every meal with antioxidant-rich foods, such as oranges, broccoli, blueberries, legumes, purple cabbage, green tea, and tomatoes.
Just Do This Today
Add milk to your coffee: Studies show caffeine might contribute to osteoporosis by increasing calcium loss, but you can side step this risk by adding milk to your coffee. Even two tablespoons of low-fat milk will offset the effects of caffeine on calcium. A nonfat latte is the best, since you get the equivalent of almost a cup of calcium-rich milk (with 300 milligrams of calcium) along with your coffee jolt. And, while that Café Mocha can pack in up to 500 calories, a nonfat latte comes in at about 120. So you’re saving your waistline at the same time your protecting your bones.
The Caffeine Connection
How well you sleep determines how energetic and happy you are the next day. One major reason why many people sleep poorly is lingering caffeine in their systems. Not only a mid-day cup of coffee or tea, but even a glass of cola or a chocolate doughnut contains enough caffeine to keep some people up at night. Caffeine can linger in the system for up to 15 hours, revving your nervous system and interfering with sleep. If you are a coffee drinker troubled by sleep problems, try eliminating caffeine. If you feel and sleep better after two weeks of being caffeine-free, then avoid caffeine permanently. You can try adding back one or two cups after the two-week trial, but cut back if insomnia reappears.
Eat Your Way to Sexy – This Week’s Tip
To have all the energy you need, eat regularly throughout the day, starting with breakfast. People who eat breakfast think more clearly and creatively, perform better at work, have more energy and a better mood throughout the day, and have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight. I’m not talking a doughnut and coffee! You need to focus on authentic foods and my Menage-a-Trois breakfast that includes 3 foods:
1) a whole grain to supply energy to the brain
2) a protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied, and
3) 2 servings of colorful fruits or vegetables.
So, this morning have a bowl of whole grain cereal such as Shredded Wheat, Kashi, or GrapeNuts with low-fat milk or Silk Soymilk with DHA, and a big bowl of watermelon chunks.
Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Chutney & Roasted Pecans
This soup is special enough to get out those favorite soup bowls, light the candles, and prepare a simple mixed green salad. It is as pretty to look at as it is to taste.
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon margarine or butter
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 /2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups chicken broth
1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1 /2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 /2 cup lite coconut milk 1 /2 cup fat-free half & half
6 tablespoons commercial cranberry chutney (finely chopped)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle pecans evenly over surface. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until pecans are toasted. Remove and set aside.
2) In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt margarine or butter over medium heat, add onions, apples, and nutmeg. Cook and stir 3 minutes.
3) Add chicken broth and squash. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, until squash is very tender.
4) Process squash mixture (in 2 batches) in a food processor until smooth.
5) Return squash mixture to pot. Add coconut milk, fat-free half & half. Stir well (you can add additional chicken broth if the soup is too thick). Heat until hot.
6) Ladle into soup bowls and dollop with 1 tablespoon cranberry chutney, sprinkle with toasted pecans, and serve hot. Makes 6 servings.
(Nutritional Analysis per servings: 190 Calories; 39% fat (8.2 grams); 4.5 grams saturated fat; 10% protein; 51% carbohydrate; 4.3 grams fiber)
I know I’m supposed to eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables every day, but I hate vegetables. Can I just eat fruits instead?
Eating lots of fruit is better than not eating fruits AND vegetables, and it will compensate to some extent for the lack of broccoli and spinach, but fruits are not identical to vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables contain vitamins C and beta carotene, but some antioxidant phytochemicals are found only in vegetables. For example, the cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower contain sulforaphane that boosts the production of anti-cancer enzymes. Rather than eliminate vegetables, add vegetables into favorite foods such as adding green peas to soup, layer spinach into lasagna, or cook rice in tomato juice. Drink your vegetables by snacking on carrot or V8 juice. Experiment with different ways to eat vegetables, such as eating carrots raw, grating them into salads or tacos, or steaming them with a little ginger and honey.
A Day of Healthy Eating
Put know how into practice with this simple, nutritious meal plan. Eliminate the snacks if you want to cut an additional 200+ calories.
1 frozen whole-grain waffle, toasted and topped with
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 cup blueberries
1 cup light fortified soymilk or nonfat milk
A glass of sparkling water with a twist of lemon
1 cup canned chunky vegetable soup
A turkey sandwich made with:
3 ounces turkey breast
3 large lettuce leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 slices whole wheat bread
15 baby carrots
Iced green tea
1 6-ounce container of low-fat strawberry-kiwi yogurt mixed with 1 kiwi, peeled and cubed
Dinner and Dessert
1 4-ounce grilled salmon fillet topped with 1 tablespoon bottled pesto
1 cup oven-roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts topped with 2 teaspoon chopped pecans
1 /2 cup cooked instant brown rice
1 /2 cup frozen green peas, steamed
2 cups air-popped popcorn
(Nutritional Analysis for the day: 2098 Calories; 29% fat (67.6 grams); 19 gram saturated fat; 3.3 grams omega-3 fats: 21% protein; 50% carbohydrate; 46 grams fiber)