5 Tips for Great Skin

Skin-Healthy Fruits & Veggies

Battling acne, worried about wrinkles, skin looking blah, or wondering what to do to prevent skin cancer? Foods to the rescue, of course! Here are 5 nutrition tips to help you tackle them all:

1. Dairy foods (milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.) and refined carbs (sugar, candy, soda, white pasta, white bread, white rice, etc.) with their resulting insulin spike are really, really good at making pimples. Drop both for 3 weeks and see your skin clear up.  More on the whys here.

2. Get enough protein, and get it from plants to help prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Skin is made of protein, and an adequate supply is needed to prevent its deterioration. Your daily protein needs are based on your body weight and are equivalent to your body weight in lbs X 0.36. So, a 180-lb. person needs 65 grams of protein a day. But, you can’t eat it all at once — it should come at 15-20 gram increments throughout the day. Plant proteins are best because they’re moderate while still being sufficient in protein (too much protein harms your kidneys, bones, and encourages weight gain), and some are rich in another wrinkle-destroying diva: Vitamin E. Vitamin E is highest in sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and spinach. Vitamin E also protects your skin from melanoma. Eat up!

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids aren’t just important for heart health. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a eating Linoleic Acid-rich foods (walnuts, flaxseeds, and flaxseed meal) greatly reduces wrinkle formation and may even help eliminate wrinkles that have already formed. Use flaxseed meal as an egg substitute in baking and French toast, or toss it into smoothies or cereal. Wrinkles be gone!

4. Upping your intake of Red, Orange, Yellow, and Dark Green fruits and veggies by just 1 serving a day is likely to make your skin look healthier and more attractive in just 6 weeks. A study done with Scottish college students showed exactly that. The antioxidants and rich pigments in colorful fruits and veggies — specifically beta-carotene an lycopene — greatly affect skin tone and encourage rosier, healthier-looking cheeks and skin. A Bonus: These veggies and fruits are also rich in Vitamin C, which helps prevent the free-radical damage responsible for most skin cancers. As a goal, try for 4 servings of veggies and 3 servings of fruit each day. Rainbow power!

5. Aside from wearing your SPF while all the while still getting adequate Vitamin D, Caffeine may actually help you prevent skin cancer. Research from Harvard’s Nurses Health Study showed a 20% decreased risk in women who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day. Research still emerging on this one, but coffee drinkers may just be ok afterall.

See recipes here for ideas on including all these tips in your food day.

Oh, NUTS!

Out-Of-Hand Nuts (and a few Seeds)

Unless you have an allergy (obvious, and more about why those are on the rise here), it’s time to pop some nuts into your mouth. A new study published in Nutrition Research concluded that even though nut enthusiasts generally have a higher overall calorie intake, 1/4-ounce or more per day of OOHN (Out-Of-Hand Nuts) meant better overall intake of healthy fats and fiber, and a lower intake of cholesterol, sodium, and sugary carbs. More OOHN also meant lower risk of high blood pressure and better “good” HDL cholesterol–both indicative of lower heart disease risk. And yes, the researchers coined the acronym for Out-Of-Hand Nuts, which literally means nuts that you eat out of your hand versus those stashed in cookies, bread, cakes, etc.

While OOHN lovers DID consume more calories than OOHN anti-lovers, the lovers generally had similar or lower Body Mass Indexes. Perhaps it’s all the calories burned tossing the nuts into one’s mouth. Have you had YOUR out-of-hand nuts today?

Bigger Breakfast = Better Life

Eggless Eggs with Whole Grain Toast, Orange Wedges, and Fruit Juice

“Breaking the fast” in a big way is perhaps the best tactic in curbing daily cravings, controlling appetite, losing weight and maintaining weight loss, and staying happy, according to a new study out of Tel Aviv. Researchers found that a 600-calorie breakfast which even included something indulgent like chocolate cake (!!) compared to a low-carb 300-calorie breakfast, was significantly more successful at helping obese individuals lose weight over a 7-month period. Not only did the breakfast indulgers lose weight, but the bigger breakfast also helped them maintain their health focus and happiness because they weren’t depriving themselves of chocolatey love and great nutrients in general.

The study deets: A group of nearly 200 obese women and men were divided into 2 groups and  required to eat the same calories each day: 1400 for women, and 1600 for men. The only difference was that one group ate a low-carb, 300-calorie breakfast (aka the “Skimpy Breakfast Group”), and the other group (aka the “Big Breakfast Group”) ate a balanced 600-calorie breakfast which included cookies, cake, or chocolate. Both groups lost an average of 33 lbs per person for the first half of the study. However, for the second half of the study, the Skimpy Breakfast Group REGAINED 22 lbs per person on average, whereas the Big Breakfast Group lost an additional 15 lbs per person, making their total weight loss 40 lbs MORE per person than the Skimpy Breakfast Group at the end of the study.

The take-home message: Start Big, End Small and At Peace.

Sample 600-Calorie Balanced Breakfasts (including chocolate):

Tofu scramble
Whole grain toast with almond butter (1 piece)
Fresh fruit
Coffee with 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
2 pieces dark chocolate

OR

Large bowl oatmeal made with:
Old-fashioned rolled oats (or gluten-free rolled oats), apple, raw cashews, cinnamon, & non-dairy milk
Fresh Fruit
2 Tbsp dark chocolate covered raisins

OR

Shamrock Smoothie – 12 ounces (1.5 servings) with added Hemp Protein Powder
Large Bran Muffin with added chocolate chips

OR

Bran flakes with banana and unsweetened soymilk
Whole grain toast with peanut butter
Orange
Chai tea with vanilla almond milk

What are some other nutrient-infused power breakfasts you love?