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Why is avocado good for you?

Share on PinterestAvocados are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Eating a diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.

Numerous studies have found that a predominantly plant-based diet that includes foods such as avocados can help to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

1. Avocados are nutrient rich

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one serving (one-fifth of an avocado, approximately 40 grams) contains:

  • 64 calories
  • almost 6 grams of fat
  • 3.4 grams of carbohydrate
  • less than a gram of sugar
  • almost 3 grams of fiber

Although most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, don’t shy away! Avocados are full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full and satiated. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.

Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system.

2. Healthy for the heart

Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

3. Great for vision

Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from ultraviolet light.

As the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados also support the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, adding avocados to your diet may help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

4. Osteoporosis prevention

Share on PinterestVitamin K is essential for bone health.

Half of an avocado provides approximately 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K.

This nutrient is often overlooked, but is essential for bone health.

Vitamin K is often overshadowed by calcium and vitamin D when thinking of nutrients important for maintaining healthy bones, however, eating a diet with adequate vitamin K can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.

5. Cancer

Adequate intake of folate from food has shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers.

Although the mechanism behind this apparent reduction in risk is currently unknown, researchers believe that folate protects against undesirable mutations in DNA and RNA during cell division.

Avocados may even have a role to play in cancer treatment, with some research finding that phytochemicals extracted from avocado can selectively inhibit the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells and cause the death of cancer cells, while encouraging the proliferation of immune system cells called lymphocytes.

These phytochemicals have also been shown to decrease chromosomal damage caused by cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapy drug.

6. Healthy babies

Share on PinterestFolate is also known as folic acid.

Folate is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy.

Adequate intake reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.

Recent research from McGill University found a 30 percent higher incidence of a variety of birth defects in baby mice conceived using sperm from mice with a folate deficiency compared with mice conceived using sperm from mice with adequate folate levels.

7. Lower risk of depression

Foods containing high levels of folate may help to decrease the risk of depression because folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain.

Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

8. Improved digestion

Despite its creamy texture, an avocado is actually high in fiber with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit.

Eating foods with natural fiber can help prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and lower the risk of colon cancer.

9. Natural detoxification

Adequate fiber promotes regular bowel movements, which are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.

Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may also play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation.

10. Osteoporosis treatment

Substances called saponins, found in avocados, soy and some other plant foods, are associated with relief of symptoms in knee osteoarthritis, with further research planned to determine the long-term effects of isolated extracts.

11. Antimicrobial action

Avocados contain substances that have antimicrobial activity, particularly against Escherichia coli, a leading cause of food poisoning.

12. Protection from chronic disease

According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky, high fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for obese individuals.

It can help you sleep

A recent study revealed magnesium can help us achieve a restful night’s sleep, and the good news is it’s abundant in Marmite. Scientists claim it relaxes the body’s muscles and calms the nerves, to help you drift off much quicker. Though you would need to eat a lot of Marmite (roughly two jars) to get your recommended daily intake of 375mgs, if you spread it on your toast in the morning, you’re one step closer to reaching that target.

It keeps your heart healthy

Marmite’s high Vitamin B1 levels suggest it could help to prevent heart disease. A study at the University of Bristol found that supplementing mice with a chemical similar to Vitamin B1 called benfotiamine improved their recovery after a heart attack and lowered their risk of cardiovascular conditions. Further studies are required to see if the same theory can be applied to humans but it seems as good a reason as any to up your Marmite intake.

It can cure a hangover

Drinking alcohol depletes your body of B vitamins, which can leave you feeling anxious, low and generally under the weather. A teaspoon of Marmite on toast will help to boost your levels in a flash. Sri Lankan’s swear by this natural hangover cure: dissolve Marmite in hot water, then add lime juice and fried onion – although we’re not sure we could stomach that after a night of prosecco.

It can fight superbugs

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests the vitamin niacin – which can be found in Marmite – can help the body fight off antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, so tucking in can help to keep your body fighting fit. A further study at York University this year also found that Marmite’s high B12 content helps to boost red blood cells, which in turn protect the nervous system.

It boosts brain power

The York University study also found the high concentration of Vitamin B12 in Marmite could help to improve brain function and even potentially protect against neurological disorders, preventing illnesses like dementia from developing later in life.

It’s good during pregnancy

As Shona Wilkinson explains, “Marmite is also high in folic acid, providing nearly 50% of the recommended daily allowance per serving. Folic acid works to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, increase the chance of conception and prevent birth defects.”

It’s low in calories

In each recommended 8g portion of Marmite, there’s only 22 calories and less than 0.5g of fat, which as toast-toppers go, is actually quite virtuous. And theoretically, because the flavour is so strong, you’ll only use it sparingly. It’s also vegetarian and can be used to add punch to any veggie dish. Add to chilli, tofu and veggie burgers – even lasagne tastes great with a spoonful of the black stuff and is a great way to mask the taste whilst reaping the benefits.

Inspiration Credits: Instagram.com/Marmite, Marmite.co.uk
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The Top 10 Superfoods for Gorgeous Skin and Hair

The secret to healthier hair and glowing skin? It’s not in your makeup case. It’s in your food. Nutritionist Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of The Beauty Diet, says these superfoods will give you gorgeous skin and beautiful hair.

Blueberries

This low-profile berry was ranked number one in antioxidant activity by the U.S. Department of Agriculture compared to 40 common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in blueberries protect you from premature aging, so add half a cup to your yogurt or cereal every day.

Wild Salmon

Wild salmon — not farm-raised — is one of the best food sources for omega-3 fatty acids, which helps keep your skin supple and moisturized. Salmon also has selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from sun exposure. The vitamin D in salmon keeps your bones and teeth strong and healthy, too. You won’t have a problem adding salmon to your diet since there are hundreds of ways to enjoy this beauty superfood. Try it grilled, baked, in your pasta, with a salad, in sushi, or just with a side of asparagus.

Spinach

This leafy green vegetable is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Spinach is loaded with lutein, which keeps your eyes healthy and sparkling. Spinach is also a good source of vitamins B, C, and E, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Trade your lettuce for spinach, or saute spinach for a quick, healthy side.

Oysters

The jury’s still out on whether oysters are really aphrodisiacs, but they are a good source of zinc, which aids in skin cell renewal and repair. Zinc also keeps your nails, hair, and eyes healthy. Who needs an aphrodisiac when you look and feel beautiful?

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the best source of the anti-aging antioxidant lycopene. Surprisingly, lycopene in tomatoes is more easily absorbed by your body when it is cooked or processed, so make sure to stock up on canned tomato sauce, tomato juice, and ketchup.

Walnuts

You don’t need to eat cupfuls of walnuts to enjoy their many benefits: smoother skin, healthy hair, brighter eyes, and strong bones. Get your daily dose of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E by eating a handful by themselves or throwing some in your salad, pasta, or dessert.

Kiwis

This small, brown, fuzzy fruit is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which keep skin firm, help prevent wrinkles, and are great for healthy bones and teeth. The antioxidants in kiwis also protect you from cancer and heart disease.

Dark Chocolate

We won’t judge you if you keep a secret stash of chocolate in your purse or desk (or both). In fact, we recommend you do — especially if you’re willing to share. Dark chocolate helps skin stay hydrated and protects skin from sun damage, and contrary to popular belief, chocolate does not cause acne. Before you make a mad dash to Godiva or Ghirardelli, however, keep in mind that the best kind of chocolate has a high flavanol content and should be at least 60 percent cacao.

Yogurt

One cup of low-fat yogurt has more calcium than a cup of fat-free milk, which is great for your posture, nails, and teeth. Mix it with fruit or granola for a healthy breakfast or that essential midafternoon snack.

Sweet Potatoes

You should be eating this superfood more often than just at Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights aging.

Source: www.fitnessmagazine.com

There’s a saying that says our nails, hair, and skin often tell us how healthy we are, and are signs of how healthy our diet is. Foods that inflame our cells and cause a breakdown end up tearing apart the collagen, keratin, and elastin that provide supple skin, strong and silky hair, and strong, fast-growing nails. Toxic overload, stress, and poor diet all contribute to lackluster skin, dry and brittle hair, and brittle nails that never seem to grow.

One of the neatest things about eating a healthy diet is your nails, hair and skin are often the first things to change for the better when your diet improves. A plant-based diet provides all the nutrients your nails, hair and skin need to look their best. Some foods, however, do contain more nutritional properties that support their growth and overall health than others do. Here are five of the best to offer up some of the most overall nutritional components to provide amazing nails, hair, and skin quickly.

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1. Raw Organic Almonds

Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that supports collagen production and provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. Almonds also contain a large amount of plant-based protein, rich in amino acids that are needed to support collagen growth and strengthen the body. Almonds are also a great source of calcium, which provides nutritional support for our bones, hair, skin, teeth, and nails.

They’re also alkaline-forming when consumed raw, compared to acidic nuts like cashews and peanuts (technically legumes.) Alkaline foods support detoxification and healthy pH levels, which prevent inflammation, acidity, and poor health. Lastly, almonds are rich in the B vitamin biotin, which is needed to strengthen the nails and hair. It is the main vitamin found in most nail, hair and skin vitamins.

Choose the Best: Always go for raw, organic almonds or raw, organic (no salt added) almond butter. Roasted nuts and seeds are more acidic and processed and inorganic nuts and seeds are often contaminated with pesticides, mold, toxins, and other environmentally dangerous chemicals. Raw foods are also rich in enzymes that increase absorption and digestion of nutrients.

2. Greens

Your body soaks up the nutrients from green foods like a magical nutritional sponge! Vitamins A, C, E, K, and even B vitamins and iron are all provided to your body when you eat leafy greens. Green foods such as spinach, broccoli, kale, watercress, and collards also contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Minerals are crucial to the health of your nails, hair, and skin. They’re also water-rich so they won’t dehydrate your body and they provide an alkaline environment to clear out toxins in the body. Spirulina, a dark green seaweed is also a fantastic source of biotin, protein, iron, and Vitamin B12 that will support your nails, hair, and skin even further.

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Choose the Best: Always go for darker green foods (from whole foods not processed green food products) whenever possible. Superfood green powders and spirulina are also recommended. Always choose organic and non-GMO whenever possible. See our assortment of hearty salads, wraps, green smoothies, entrées, and green juices that include a wealth of green foods.

3. Orange Root Veggies

Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and winter squash all contain high amounts of Vitamin A which support your nails, hair, and skin as well. These foods are also rich in Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant that lower stress which can weaken collagen, elastin, and keratin in the body. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant to combat free radical production that can lead to aging. When cooking these foods, always steam, bake, or cook in a slow cooker instead of frying them. This will enhance their antioxidant content without overcooking them. If you’d like to eat them raw, by all means, please do. Try Roasted Veggies With Buttery Garlic and Spinach Salad, Sweet Potato Salad (raw), Curried Carrots With Pistachios, Warming Carrot Ginger Soup, Stuffed Sage Carnival Squash, Apple Butternut Squash Soup, Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Ginger Noodle Soup.

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Choose the Best: Choose whole versions of these foods whenever possible (for instance fresh over canned) and if you can’t afford organic all the time, don’t sweat it. These foods are lower in pesticides than some others such as greens, apples, nuts, seeds, and more porous veggies and fruits

4. Raw Organic Pumpkin Seeds

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Every part of the pumpkin is a superfood! Pumpkin seeds are some of the most potent, alkaline, nutritious seeds you can eat. They’re rich in protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, biotin, and omega 3 fatty acids. They’re also alkaline-forming like almonds so they build the body instead of breaking it down. Pumpkin seeds improve your mood, energy, and of course, your nails, hair, and skin. Eat 1/4 cup a day and you’ll see stronger nails, hair, and clearer skin in no time. Try them in The Glow Bowl for an antioxidant-packed meal that your nails, hair, and skin will love in every single way!

Choose the Best: Always go for raw and organic pumpkin seeds instead of roasted and salted. Whole Foods also makes plain organic pumpkin seeds under their 365 brand (which automatically contain no GMO’s, herbicides or pesticides).

5. Oats

Oats are one of the most inexpensive superfoods you can eat. Even if you don’t digest glutinous grains well, gluten-free oats are there to save you. Whole grains are important for most everyone’s diets. Whether you choose wild rice, wheat products, oats, barley, rye, brown rice, black rice, or quinoa, they’re all filled with certain properties to provide your body with support. Oats have specific benefits that your nails, hair, and skin will appreciate. These nutrients include protein, biotin and other B vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium, and potassium. They are also filled with fiber and antioxidants. Oats lower inflammation, clear the skin, reduce stress, and provide your cells with nutritional support. Try soaking your oats overnight with some coconut yogurt to make an incredibly nutritious, beauty-friendly breakfast, or consider some Creative Add-Ins for Oatmeal.

Choose the Best: Purchase organic, non-GMO old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut instead of instant oats as the healthiest option. These will provide more nutrients, are less processed, and are free of toxins and allergens from the environment that could occur with inorganic brands and varieties.

Other foods your hair loves:

  • walnuts
  • all green vegetables
  • quinoa
  • wild rice
  • chia seeds
  • avocados
  • hemp seeds
  • tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • edamame (young green soybeans)
  • berries

You truly can eat your way to both good health and to natural beauty. Leave the pricey products on the shelf and fill your diet with whole foods. You won’t believe how much your body will respond and appreciate your efforts!

Recommendation: Download the Food Monster App

If you enjoy articles like this and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.

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We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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Image Source: Curry Spiced Carrots

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Eat these 7 superfoods for shiny hair and glowing skin

Superfoods are no longer just to be found at the grocery store. They’re now taking over the beauty aisles too. Nutrient-packed foods are popping up to give your hair and skin that much-needed boost. Sangeeta Velaskar, Vice President and Head, Medical Services and R&D, Kaya Limited lists a few superfoods to be included as part of your daily regimen:

* Basil extracts can work wonders for your hair. This infusion rejuvenates hair follicles, keeps your scalp cool, and promotes circulation.

Apples have fibre that can help balance pH levels in the hair and clean the dirt from the scalp, so that you can be free of dandruff. ( )

* Sugarcane extracts are an excellent source of minerals that support hair growth. Sugarcane is often termed as a health drink as it contains vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin A along with elements like zinc, potassium manganese and calcium. All these nutrients help gain long, shiny hair.

* Apples have fibre content called pyrus malus. This type of fibre can help balance pH levels in the hair and clean the dirt from the scalp, so that you can be free of dandruff.

* Use products infused with olive oil as it can reduce dandruff flakes and retain moisture in the hair.

Use avocado extracts as a hair mask. ( )

* Avocado extracts are great when used in a hair mask. It nourishes as well as strengthens hair.

Rishabh Mariwala, founder at Puresense, talks about the benefits of two super-fruits:

* Grapefruits are high in fibre and low in calories. They contain bio-flavonoids and other plant chemicals that protect against serious diseases. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties protect the skin from environmental hazards. It also stimulates the production of collagen that brings smoothness and elasticity to the skin. The retinol antioxidant gives the skin softness and renews damaged skin. The potassium present in the grapefruit helps to smooth wrinkles and age spots and provides a protective shield against UV rays.

* The superfood kiwi is a powerhouse of nutrients and is rich in antioxidants, especially Vitamins C and E as well as polyphenols. Kiwi helps prevent oxidative stress and protects from the damaging effects of pollutants. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin E that prevents the formation of free radicals that helps you achieve great skin.

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Nutrition for Hair, Skin and Nails

When I was struggling with orthorexia, (a form of an eating disorder- a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive eating behavior in pursuit of a perceived healthy diet) my thick, full hair completely thinned out, which lead to a lot of hair loss. I also had extremely brittle nails and dry skin. Thankfully, when I began to recover and incorporate wholesome foods back into my diet, I immediately started to notice incredible changes in these areas. Now, anytime I get asked for beauty tips or for a list of my go-to products for achieving healthy hair, glowing skin and strong nails, my answer is: GOOD, WHOLESOME NUTRITION. Coming from someone who didn’t pay much attention to this in the past, I have learned that food plays a HUGE part with the condition of our locks, nails and skin.

If you are looking for new ways to strengthen and nourish your hair, skin and nails, take a look at this list of favorites below. Since these three features consist of similar cells, they basically each require the same nutrients to grow healthily, so you’ll reap many benefits from each.

SALMON

Salmon is loaded with vitamin D and protein, and it also contains omega-3 fatty acids that promote hair growth by keeping your scalp healthy.

SWEET POTATO

Sweet Potatoes consist of beta-carotene, which helps keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. It has also been proven that beta-carotene adds warm tones to the skin, which shows an overall healthier look.

NUTS (NUT BUTTERS, ALMONDS, PEANUTS, WALNUTS, CASHEWS)

Rich in omega fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which are all beneficial! When consumed in moderation, their nutrients help the body a tonne, while also encouraging the healthy growth of hair, skin and nails.

AVOCADO

A fantastic source of Vitamin E, Vitamin B and healthy fats (rich source of omega-3 fatty acids). These work at the cellular level to protect and strengthen hair. Vitamin B is essential for hair growth. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps repair damage on the scalp, which may slow or prevent hair growing. Antioxidants are powerful, fighting harmful free radical. They also fight the signs of aging and prevents against inflammation of the skin. Avocados also contain fiber and Vitamin C.

EGGS

Egg yolks contain biotin, which is a B Vitamin. When Biotin levels are low, it may result in brittle nails and hair loss, while healthy levels of biotin may actually reverse such conditions.

OATS

Oats are one of the best whole grain sources. They contain protein, biotin, anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high fiber and antioxidants, providing our cells with nutritional support.

LEAFY GREENS (SPINACH, KALE)

Greens provide Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent hair breakage and repairs the skin from any damage caused by exposure to UV rays and environmental toxins. Vitamin C also helps to boost collagen production, promoting the skin’s firmness and elasticity. Spinach and kale are great sources of phytonutrients, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Spinach also helps with the skin’s elasticity.

TOMATOES

Another great source of Vitamin C and contain all of the major carotenoids, including lycopene. Beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene have been shown to protect the skin against damage from the sun and may also help prevent signs of aging. As mentioned above, Vitamin C is an antioxidant that strengthens hair follicles and prevents breakage.

BERRIES

Berries are LOADED with potent antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These fruits are some of the best to eat to heal damage of hair, skin and nails.

DARK CHOCOLATE

Dark chocolate helps skin stay hydrated and protects skin from sun damage. I always aim for dark chocolate that has at least 75% or higher cacao.

RED AND YELLOW BELL PEPPERS

Red and yellow bell peppers are another source of beta-carotene. They have a high amount of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that creates collagen, which keeps skin firm and strong.

I wish there was one magical recipe that would give us all the most incredible beauty benefits (how amazing would that be?), but realistically, there isn’t. Thankfully our diet and lifestyle habits play a crucial part in these three areas. With these yummy foods above, we really can nourish our way to natural beauty and good health, both inside and out!

*If you have any concerns about your hair/skin/nails, overall health or feel you may be suffering from orthorexia, I recommend to chat to your healthcare professional for the best advice!

12 Foods That Give Your Hair, Skin, and Nails a Boost

You might be no stranger to dropping a dime on self-care treatments like blowouts, facials, and mani-pedis. But getting (and keeping) your hair, skin, and nails healthy takes more than a few appointments. The right nutrition can go a long way toward improving the appearance of all three—and you might be able to keep some of that cash in your wallet. Instead, head to the supermarket for these 12 foods.

Foods for Hair and Nails

Both hair and nails are made up of a protein called keratin, meaning that they both need similar nutrients to thrive. The following list of foods serves up a double whammy.

Organic Chicken

Your most basic dinner go-to may not be the most thrilling thing to your taste buds, but it’s doing wonders for your hair and nails. (And hey, if you dig a little, you can find plenty of non-boring chicken recipes!) It’s packed with protein and iron. And with 7 grams of protein per ounce in chicken, it helps the keratin in hair and nails thrive.

Both also need a healthy iron-rich blood supply for continued growth—people suffering from iron deficiency may see negative side effects in their hair and nails. And while meat may be the best source of iron, chicken offers up a healthy dose.

Tofu

If chicken is great for hair and nails, what’s a plant-based eater to do? Easy. A half block of tofu has nearly the same amount of protein as three ounces of chicken (22 grams), and it contains almost one-third of your daily value of iron. Plus, it’s cheaper to buy and takes on the flavor of any marinade. Even if you’re not plant-based, adding tofu to your diet is a great way to get a little protein variety in your diet.

Lentils

OK, maybe the texture of tofu isn’t your thing. For a meatier plant-based protein bite, add some lentils to your plate. These multi-colored legumes are next on the list of protein and iron contenders. You’ll get that same 22-ish grams of protein in a ½ cup of uncooked lentils and one-third of your daily iron intake. Plus, they are a great meat substitute in things like burgers, meatballs, tacos, and Bolognese sauce.

Eggs

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the B-vitamin biotin as it pertains to hair and nails. Some research indicates the biotin may contribute to the thickness of both. Luckily biotin is in many foods, making deficiencies rare. But “egg yolks contain biotin and protein, both of which have been shown to promote strong hair and nails,” says NYC-based registered dietitian Nora Minno. Can we get another frittata, please?

Edamame

Host a sushi night and don’t skip the pre-requisite soybean appetizer. Edamame is not only rich in plant-based protein, but it also contains an amino acid called cysteine, which is the building block for keratin.

Milk

There are a good number of reasons adults should drink milk—like the fact that your bones start to deteriorate in your 20s or that cereal and milk taste so damn good. But besides that, milk also contains 8 grams of protein in each glass and ample amounts of cysteine. If lactose doesn’t agree with you, why not give Lactaid or a2 milk a try?

Foods for Great Skin

Whether it’s the sun, air pollution, or stress, your skin gets hit hard from different angles, but certain nutrients help it fight back. Luckily, since skin is an area of much concern, there is plenty of research about foods that will keep it looking great.

Wheat Germ

A recent review suggests that a combination of vitamins E and C protects the skin against UV damage. Just two tablespoons of wheat germ contain 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin E. You can add this whole grain staple to everything from smoothies to oatmeal to baked goods.

Sunflower Butter

Two tablespoons of sunflower seed butter provide 45 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, and it’s allergen friendly.

“This antioxidant vitamin can help protect cell membranes from free-radical damage, especially those brought on by UV rays,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, and (full disclosure) nutrition partner with SunButter. “Even though sunscreen helps from the outside, including vitamin E-rich foods like sunflower butter can help strengthen cells from the inside,” Amidor says.

Green and Yellow Bell Peppers

Did you know peppers have even more vitamin C than the beloved orange? “Green and yellow veggies, such as bell peppers, are especially beneficial for helping to decrease the wrinkling that can happen in the crow’s foot area, per a study of Japanese women,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition. Fajitas, anyone?

“One cup of pineapple contains 131 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C,” Minno says. “Vitamin C plays several important roles in skin health, like aiding in the production of collagen, reducing the damaging impact of UV rays on the skin, and healing and minimizing scarring,” she adds. Bonus: Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that can help reduce swelling and inflammation.

Brazil Nuts

“Brazil nuts are one of the richest dietary sources of selenium, which not only protects skin against UV-induced damage but can also help promote healthy nails and hair,” Minno says.

Fatty Fish

Research pointing to the benefits of eating fatty fish keeps piling up. Besides being good for your heart and mind, omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer. For your daily dose of omega-3s, add salmon, tuna, or mackerel to one of your meals. (And do your best to avoid farm-raised varieties.)

Eight steps to healthy skin, hair and nails

As dietitian Cindy Williams explains, beauty really does come from the inside…

Glossy hair, strong nails and glowing skin may be signs of a great beauty regime, but the importance of a great diet shouldn’t be underestimated. Food contains lots of beauty nutrients, which people have used for thousands of years, inside and out. Today we can wash our hair and moisturise our skin with honey, rosemary, rosehip, avocado or olives, to name a few. A French woman I know attributes her beautiful skin to the olive oil she rubs on her face and hands while cooking.

There’s no magic food that will keep us looking forever young, but diet (and lifestyle and attitude) does affect how your skin looks and ages. Take these eight food steps to strong, healthy skin, hair and nails.

1. Protein – the building blocks

Skin, hair and nails are mostly protein. These proteins – keratin, collagen and elastin – ward off wrinkles and provide strength and elasticity. Most of us eat plenty of protein from meat, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs and dairy foods. But remember the movie ‘The Devil Wears Prada’? Miranda Priestly’s assistant is desperately trying to lose weight and proudly describes her new diet: “Well, I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint, I eat a cube of cheese.” Chances are she was seriously low on protein and eventually her skin, hair and nails – the parts of the body she most wants to look perfect – would suffer.

If protein is so important, is more better? With serious burns or wounds, the body needs extra protein to repair the damage. And athletes in heavy training have higher protein requirements. But huge steaks and protein shakes don’t build bigger muscles or better skin. If we eat more protein than we need, our body converts it to fat and stores it – usually where we don’t want it.

  • HFG tip: Get your skin-boosting protein by including at least one serving of lean meats, chicken, seafood, legumes or eggs and two serves daily of low-fat dairy products.

2. Seafood – essential fat

The body needs fat. Not the greasy pastry and pie type, but the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats. If you have a dry, itchy scalp or skin, you may not be eating enough of these. They are called ‘essential’ fats because the body can’t make them; you have to eat them.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats produce hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which then change into other substances that affect immunity and inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fats suppress inflammation, immune responses and blood clotting. Omega-6 fats are also essential for healthy skin, but too much can cause inflammation and allergic responses. For healthy skin we need a balance of both types of fat. Our Western diet tends to have a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 than ideal. Eating some fish each week, especially oily fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna, increases omega-3s for a better balance. Oily fish provide the long-chain omega-3s, EPA, DHA and DPA. If you can’t eat fish, try flaxseed. Flaxseed (linseed) oil is the richest source of α-linolenic acid (ALA) – another omega-3 fat. Some ALA can be converted to the long-chain omega-3s, but it provides less than fish.

Studies using large doses (3-4g) of fish oil found it improved dermatitis and psoriasis in some, but not all, people. They also found the higher amounts of omega-3 fats in the skin were prone to oxidation – just like oil going rancid when exposed to light – so we don’t recommend mega-dosing on fish oil tablets. Instead, eat a few fish and vegetable meals each week –
fish for the fat and vegetables for antioxidants.

  • HFG tip: Don’t think of fish as only fillets. Experiment with chunky fish chowders, fish curry and fish pie. Incorporate canned tuna, salmon and sardines for a boost of omega-3.

3. Iron – vitality and lustre

Tired and lacking in energy? This may be a symptom of low iron. Hair, nails and skin can also suffer if you’re lacking in iron. Skin may be very pale, become itchy, or there could be cracking at the side of the mouth. Nails can become brittle and develop vertical stripes, or even become spoon-shaped. You could shed more hair and it will be noticeably more dry, brittle and dull.

  • HFG tip: Meat is the best source of iron: the redder the meat, the more iron it contains. If you don’t eat meat, you can get iron from legumes and whole grains but it’s less readily absorbed, so add vitamin C (from fruit juice, fruits and capsicum) to meals to enhance absorption.

4. Muesli – whole grains

Swapping your croissant and cornies to oats and muesli will boost your intake of essential fats, B vitamins and the potent antioxidant, vitamin E. B vitamins could easily be called the ‘skin vitamins’ because a deficiency often shows up as itchy, dry skin. Whole grains have all three parts of the grain – the bran, endosperm and germ. Refined, white-flour based foods miss out on the bran and germ, which is where all these goodies are.

  • HFG tip: Make a tasty bircher muesli by combining whole grain oats, almonds and dried fruit. Soak overnight in low-fat milk and enjoy with extra fruit and yoghurt.

5. Nuts – nutrition nuggets

Nuts are little nutrition nuggets – packed with essential fats, vitamin E and B vitamins. I was once the dietitian for a heart disease study, where people who had had a heart attack were asked to eat 50g of peanuts a day for 6 weeks. Two women in particular noticed a huge improvement in their hair and nails. It’s likely that, after years on low-fat diets, the peanuts gave these women some much needed essential fats.

  • HFG tip: Nuts make a good snack: a small handful daily will give you energy and keep your hair and nails in good shape.

6. Kiwifruit and citrus – vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential to make collagen, the structural cement of the body. Under the skin, collagen is the fibrous tissue that plumps it up giving support and shape. As skin ages it loses collagen.

When we breathe car fumes, cigarette smoke and lie in the sun, harmful oxidation reactions happen in our skin and body. Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants that mop up the harmful by-products of oxidation and slow down damage to the skin. Large doses of vitamins C, E and beta-carotene help protect the skin from sunburn and improve its resilience to things that could irritate it. But when taken as supplements, sometimes the antioxidant activity shifts to harmful pro-oxidant activity. How to prevent this? Skip the pills and eat lots and lots of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables.

  • HFG tip: Eating plenty of kiwifruit, oranges, lemons and grapefruit may not have the same instant ‘plumping out’ effect as a collagen implant but with its vitamin C and hundreds of anti-aging antioxidants it is natural beauty therapy at its best.

7. Orange, yellow, red and green – beta-carotene and vitamin A

According to its sticker, pawpaw is ‘super food for the skin’. It’s the beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, that gives carrots, pumpkin, mango and spinach their healthy skin image. If you have dry hair and skin, take a look at how much coloured fruit and vegetables and other vitamin A-rich foods you’re eating. Go for liver, oily fish and egg yolk.

Large doses of beta-carotene improve its resilience and to a certain degree helps protect skin from sunburn, especially when eaten with other carotenoids like lycopene (found in tomatoes and watermelon). So perhaps the way to get vitamin A is carrot and watermelon juice, although if you overdo it you’ll find your palms and eye whites going yellow from all that beta-carotene!

Dermatologists often use high doses of vitamin A to treat acne, but this needs medical supervision as it can damage the liver and cause birth defects.

  • HFG tip: For a real vitamin A boost, try an omelette or scrambled eggs with spinach and canned or fresh salmon.

8. Water and tea – fluids and flavonoids

Both carotenoids and flavonoids help protect skin against UV damage and can improve skin hydration and condition. For well hydrated skin, hair and nails, drink plenty of water. The fluids and flavonoids aid blood circulation and the delivery of nutrients, so give yourself a daily flavonoid dose with a few cups of black, green or white tea and, depending on your mood, a glass of red wine, a cup of hot cocoa or a few squares of dark chocolate.

  • HFG tip: Red wine does contain flavonoids, but more than two standard drinks a day will cancel out any positive health effects. Moderation is the key.

Skin vs bones

Never allowing your skin to be exposed to the sun may preserve your youthful skin, but the joy of having beautiful skin may be overshadowed by more pressing concerns if you develop weak bones as a result. There’s no doubt UV rays from the sun are damaging to skin, but our skin does need some sunlight so it can produce vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones because of its role in the absorption of calcium.

So balance the needs of your bones and your skin by not exposing skin to the sun when it is most intense; that’s between 10am and 4pm in summer. The winter sun is much weaker and won’t harm your skin. And remember, the darker your skin, the longer exposure it needs to produce vitamin D.

Save your skin: remember the S’s

  • Smoking – don’t do it
  • Stress – not good for skin
  • Sleep – is good for skin
  • Sunshine – limit exposure when it’s strongest

Essential fats for healthy skin

Omega-6 fats (linoleic acid)

Most of us get plenty of these.

Omega-3 fats (ALA, EPA, DHA, DPA)

Many of us need more of these.

  • ALA found in: flaxseed oil, canola oil, soya bean oil, walnuts, peanuts
  • EPA, DHA, DPA found in: oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and kahawai

Acne myths

Does diet affect acne?

Some say yes, others say no. A recent study found an improvement in acne when the men studied ate a low glycaemic load diet. This means they ate a reasonable amount of protein and less high GI carbohydrate. The carbs they did eat were lower GI, so included more whole grains, pasta and fruit. The theory is that eating lots of white bread, cakes, refined cereal and other high GI foods increases insulin levels, which increases androgen (a male hormone) availability, which stimulates sebum production. So if you want the best skin you can, ditch the refined cereals and choose more whole grains, and fill up on vegetables and fruits rather than cake.

Ultimate beauty menu

Breakfast

Rolled oats or muesli made with oats, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, seeds, ground flaxseed (linseed), wheat-germ and dried apricots with low-fat yoghurt or milk.

Lunch

Whole grain roll filled with tuna or salmon, tomato and cucumber and a kiwifruit.

Snack

Small handful raw nuts.

Dinner

Small piece lean meat or chicken with 2 cups vegetables or soup with dried beans, celery, carrot, pumpkin.
Fruit salad – orange, kiwifruit, mango, rockmelon, watermelon.
Glass of red wine or dark grape juice.

Beverages

Tea and water during the day

Reading your face

Not enough zinc shows up as slow wound healing, fragile hair, hair loss.
• Foods to eat: Meat, eggs, seafood, oysters.

Not enough iron shows up as spoon-shaped nails, cracks at corner of mouth.
• Foods to eat: Beef, lamb, liver

Not enough VITAMIN C shows up as scurvy, bleeding gums, wounds don’t heal, bruising, weakness.
• Foods to eat: Kiwifruit, citrus, fruit, vegetables.

Not enough vitamin B2 (riboflavin) shows up as cracks at corner of mouth, waxy dermatitis around creases of nose, oily skin with dry, flaky patches.

Not enough vitamin B3 (niacin) shows up as flushed, sunburnt looking skin.

Not enough vitamin B6 shows up as skin rashes, dermatitis.
• Foods to eat: Get B vitamins from whole grains, nuts, meat, liver, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, fruit, vegetables.

Not enough essential fats, omega-3 and omega-6 shows up as dry, itchy scalp and skin.
• Foods to eat: Fish, nuts, linseed, whole grains.

The best foods to eat for healthy, glowing skin

Alessandra Felice guides you to all the nutrients needed to keep your skin looking and feeling great.

Our skin is our largest organ and the first line of defence between our bodies and the outside world, protecting us from bacteria, viruses, pollution and chemical substances that we encounter daily. There are many factors that can impact skin health, such as hormonal changes and imbalances, genetic predisposition, chronic inflammatory or autoimmune conditions and ageing, but also lifestyle related factors, such as high and prolonged stress levels, lack of exercise, poor sleep patterns, smoking, low hydration and diet. Just as what we put on our skin is absorbed, enters the bloodstream and effects how skin looks, what we consume every day affects its structure and appearance.

For example, excessive consumption of refined sugars and artificial sweetener can cause an increase in inflammation in the body and high inflammatory molecules levels can lead to a breakdown in collagen and elastin that contribute to skin strength and elasticity. Highly refined sugar and trans fats consumption could also cause a raised free radicals and ‘advanced glycation end products’ production, which can cause inflammation too and hinder skin structure and appearance. Excessive caffeine consumption, whether from coffee or energy drinks, increases cortisol (main stress hormone in the body), which
then raises insulin levels, possibly leading to increased sebum production and breakouts in people with more sensitive and acne prone skin.

Luckily though, foods can also have a beneficial effect on our skin, as we can easily daily consume many nutrients that are involved in the formation of skin fibres, structure and in the protection of this amazing organ. Let’s take a look at some of the most skin loving nutrients…

Omega 3 rich foods

Chia and flaxseeds, walnuts, leafy greens, hemp seeds, algae, Brussels sprouts, vegetable oils

Essential fatty acids are, as the name suggests, an essential component of cell membranes, keeping them elastic and functioning well, as well as being natural moisturisers that help to reduce dryness, leaving the skin feeling and looking smoother and plumper.

They are also able to reduce inflammation levels in the body and have been found useful in conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Plus, they have been shown to be protective against sun damage.

Antioxidant rich foods

Berries, fruits, vegetables, cacao

Antioxidant compounds can help decrease the effects of environmental damage caused by sun exposure and pollution by protecting the skin against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage our cells. These molecules can also speed up the appearance of signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and dark age spots. While these are a natural part of getting older, as they occur when collagen and elastin production slows down, their appearance can be accelerated by the presence of free radicals.

For example, selenium (plant-based sources are Brazil nuts, wheat, brown rice, mushrooms) is an antioxidant mineral that helps protect the skin quality and elasticity from UV rays damage. And cacao is not only delicious but one of its constituents called theobromine acts as a vasodilator that helps to increase the flow of blood to the skin’s surface. The blood flow to the skin promotes healing from sun damage and cell renewal. Plus, it contains skin loving nutrients such as vitamin C, E, copper, zinc and magnesium.

Vitamin C rich foods

Bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, kale

This vitamin is known to be a powerful antioxidant that not only protects the skin from free radical damage and can reduce the appearance of brown spots and pigmentation, but it’s also needed for the production of collagen.

Collagen is a structural protein that forms cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and skin. Together with elastin and keratin, it’s what gives our skin structure and elasticity. And vitamin C works in conjunction with other nutrients like the amino acids proline and lysine, to build collagen.

Vitamin E rich foods

Almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, avocado, sweet potato, wheat germ, dark leafy greens, hazelnuts

Vitamin E is another essential nutrient for healthy collagen production, as it works with vitamin C to stimulate its formation. It’s also a main antioxidant present on the skin and protects cell membranes from damage by UV rays and environmental toxins.

Vitamin A and carotenoid rich foods

Carrot, squash, dark leafy greens, sweet potato, pumpkin, red pepper, apricot, mango, tomato, peach

Vitamin A is able to slow down the turnover of skin cells and increase the deposition of collagen, slowing the normal breakdown of your collagen and elastin associated with ageing. It can also increase the rate of wound healing and repair cellular structure.

Plus, it can improve the appearance of dark spots, pigmentation and acne by decreasing melanin granules and sebum production. Carotenoid rich foods get converted to retinol (active vitamin A) in the body and also have antioxidant effects on cells and skin.

Protein

Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, algae, green leafy vegetables

Proteins are necessary for tissue repair and for the construction of new tissue. Every cell needs protein to maintain its life, including skin cells. Main structural proteins of hair, skin and nails, such as collagen, elastin and keratin, all contain different combinations of amino acids and some of these are essential ones, meaning they need to be obtained from diet. By eating a variety of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables you’ll be able to hit your requirements without any trouble.

Copper containing foods

Sesame and sunflower seeds, cashews, mushrooms, soya beans, tempeh, chickpeas, lentils, walnuts, leafy greens

Copper peptides help to replenish and nourish the skin, making it look plumper and more hydrated. It can also help to activate antioxidants that protect against environmental damage and its peptides can be applied topically to the skin to increase collagen production.

Silica foods

Banana, oats, raisins, wheat, leeks, green beans, brown rice

This trace element is necessary for collagen formation, it can help to regenerate tissues and skin, delay the ageing process and it supports the binding of water molecules to cells. As we age, silica’s concentration in our tissues declines, so it’s important to include sources in our diet.

Zinc containing foods and other nutrients

Whole grains, beans, legumes, cacao, miso, nutritional yeast, broccoli, green beans

Zinc is necessary for protein and cell membranes structure, to transport vitamin A in the blood and it can promote wound healing. Plus, it encourages cell renewal and contributes to maintaining collagen structure.

Most of the nutrients mentioned also support the strengthening and growth of hair and nails. Essentials are: protein, fatty acids, zinc, vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants, selenium, but also B vitamins and iron. B vitamins like biotin and B5 are essential for hair and nails. Low levels and deficiencies lead to brittle nails and loss of hair.

Whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, green leafy vegetables, nutritional yeast, avocado, coconut, spirulina and sweet potatoes are foods containing them. Iron is needed for hair follicle growth cycles and for strengthening nails. Pair plant-based iron sources (lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, cashews, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables, dried apricots and figs, nettle, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, quinoa) with vitamin C rich foods to aid absorption.

And don’t forget about water!

Skin, hair, nails and all our cells need water to function as we are mostly made of water, in case you didn’t know. So keep hydrated throughout the day, whether with water or through herbal teas.

The beauty of using foods to nourish your skin means that often you can apply them directly and have a mini pampering session. You can make a face mask of mashed avocado, cacao powder and ground turmeric or mashed papaya, coconut yoghurt and turmeric to hydrate, soften and make skin naturally glow. You can apply coconut or avocado oil to the hair and leave overnight as a hair mask, then rinse out in the morning. Or make a homemade body scrub with ground oats, olive oil and sugar or ground coffee, cacao powder and coconut oil.

Follow Vegan Food & Living on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news, recipes and product launches from the vegan community.

Alessandra Felice (ND Dip CNM)

Alessandra is a nutritional therapist and medicinal chef, who trained with the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York and the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London.

This 5-day glowing skin meal plan will give your bronzer a break

Rather than sweeping bronzer over your cheeks to give your skin a healthy and sexy glow, why not try reaching for the fruit bowl instead?

A recent Australian study by the University of Newcastle found that the complexions people perceive to be healthiest are those that have a slight yellow tint, and various studies suggest that, whatever your skin colour, the best way to achieve this is to boost your carotenoid levels. So, how do you do that?

“Hit the fruit and vegetables before heading out,” the study’s lead author, Dr Kristine Pezdirc, says.

Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants responsible for giving yellow, orange and red fruit and veg their brightness. They do the same for our skin. Carrots, watermelon, oranges, tomatoes, capsicum and sweet potato are the top sources of carotenoids so they should be high on your list if you want to give your complexion a yellow glow.

The Australian research supports a 2009 study by the universities of St Andrews and Bristol in the UK, which found that carotenoid pigmentation plays a role in the perception of health in human faces.

The researchers advise making a healthy diet part of your skincare regimen and eating the recommended two serves of fruit and five of veg daily.

“We often think that sun-tanning is the best way to improve the colour of your skin but our research suggests that living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet might actually be better,” Dr Ian Stephen, from the University of St Andrews, says.

Dietitian and clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller has seen many clients with skin that shows signs of a poor diet: “You could have sallow skin, dry skin, older-looking skin – it isn’t going to happen overnight, but starve your skin long enough and it’s going to show.”

Foods made with refined carbohydrates, such as cakes, biscuits and pastries, can slow digestion and make skin look dull and lifeless. Meanwhile, antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, betacarotene and other phytochemicals, which are abundant in fruit and veg, can protect skin cells.

Berries and plums have been found to have the highest antioxidant content, but beyond fruit, other good sources include seafood, eggs, beans and nuts.

Our skin also loves essential fatty acids, particularly omega-6 and omega-3, which help to improve its elasticity. Heller says many people don’t get enough omega-3, and you can easily boost yourintake by adding fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds to your diet. Read on to find the other key foods to add to your shopping trolley.

What to eat

  • Lean chicken
  • Fish, especially oily fish such as salmon and mackerel
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Wholegrains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • A wide range of fruit and vegetables
  • A daily dose of red, yellow and orangecoloured fruit and veg
  • Plenty of water

What to avoid

  • Processed foods
  • Refined carbohydrates (no more cakes, biscuits and pastries)
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • Too much salt
  • Too much alcohol

The 5-day glowing skin meal plan

Monday

Breakfast: Two poached eggs on wholegrain toast

Lunch: Grilled salmon with steamed carrots and broccoli

Dinner: Vegetable curry with brown rice

Snacks: Two apricots; small bar of dark chocolate

Tuesday

Breakfast: Porridge with blueberries and strawberries

Lunch: Tomato and lentil soup

Dinner: Prawns cooked with chilli and garlic; green salad

Snacks: Two plums; handful of walnuts

Wednesday

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with yoghurt and pumpkin seeds

Lunch: Mackerel fillets on wholegrain toast

Dinner: Tuna niçoise with green beans, tomatoes and olives

Snacks: Carrot sticks with guacamole; several prunes

Thursday

Breakfast: Porridge with pecan nuts

Lunch: Omelette with spinach and mushrooms

Dinner: Salmon teriyaki with pak choy and wild rice

Snacks: Two oranges; milkshake with flaxseed and a banana

Friday

Breakfast: Fresh berries with yoghurt

Lunch: Tomato and butter bean soup with wholegrain toast

Dinner: Mushroom stroganoff with brown rice

Snacks: Handful of almonds; two plums

Skin food from A to Zinc

To improve your skin from the inside out, it’s crucial to get the right nutrients. Here are the ones with the best face value

Vitamin A

Why? It helps skin cells to grow and replenish.

Good sources: Egg yolks, oysters and low-fat milk.

Betacarotene

Why? It can help fight sun damage, and sensitivity to sunlight.

Good sources: Dark-coloured fruit and veg such as carrots, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli and spinach.

B vitamins

Why? The B vitamins, especially B2 and B6, play a vital role in helping skin regenerate.

Good sources: Fish, bananas, liver, dairy, eggs and wholegrains.

Vitamin C

Why? It helps maintain collagen, the support structure of the skin.

Good sources: Citrus fruits, strawberries and tomatoes.

Vitamin E

Why? This is vital in protecting skin cells from UV light and pollution thanks to its antioxidant activity. It also helps heal scars.

Good sources: Salmon, beans and nuts, wholegrains and green leafy veg.

Lycopene

Why? This powerful antioxidant has a similar effect to vitamin C, helping to keep skin firm and wrinkle-free.

Good sources: Tomatoes.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Why? Helps strengthen skin membranes and encourages elasticity.

Good sources: Oily fish, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed oil.

Selenium

Why? It has skin-rejuvenating properties and may help protect against skin cancer.

Good sources: Brazil nuts, tuna, sesame seeds and wholegrains.

Zinc

Why? This mighty mineral helps maintain collagen, which gives skin its firmness.

Good sources: Turkey, soy products and mushrooms.

How to make deodorant

How to make deodorant

While we’re all obsessed about the newest cosmetic fads in the market, we often forget that the most fantastic products for better skin and hair actually are in our own kitchens.

If you’re eating the right foods, you’ll get softer skin and luscious hair without any product whatsoever!

Source:OptingHealth

Here are 19 healthy foods you can eat to make sure you’ve got great skin and hair:

1. Walnuts

Particularly high on Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, a handful of walnuts everyday work on your skin’s texture and also help in keeping your mane lustrous for long.

Source:HomeGymR

2. Spinach

With high levels of beta-carotene along with Vitamins A & C, spinach is excellent in fighting wrinkles and undoing all the damage caused by pollutants in the air.

Source: Barefoot

3. Almonds

Almonds are rich in flavonoids and Vitamin E, both essential for great skin. They also help get rid of oxidative damage (for those who smoke) and also help the body protect free radicals. And since almonds also have protein, manganese and selenium, they’re the ultimate tool for shiny hair.

Source:Descopero

4. Flax-Seeds

From treating acne and eczema to handling inflammation and helping in skin renewal, there’s a lot that flax-seeds can do since they’re rich in both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Source:PlanMyHealth

5. Avocados

There’s a reason why most shampoos and masks use avocados as one of the ingredients! From monosaturated fatty acids (great for hair, skin, nails) and antioxidants to fiber, potassium, magnesium and folate, it’s the perfect food to tackle all kinds of hair and skin issues.

Source:StyleWhack

6. Dark Chocolate

A great source of flavonoids that are basically anti-ageing antioxidants, dark chocolate can greatly help in clearing pigmentation, dark circles and fine lines.

Source:WomenFitness

7. Fatty Fish

From salmon and sardines to mackerel and anchovies, any fish that’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids is excellent for hair growth and maintenance along with giving you glowing skin.

Source:HealthyForGood

8. Coconut

There’s a reason why coconut oil is used for the hair pretty much all over the country! High in healthy fats, Vitamins E & K and minerals, coconut oil boots both grown and shine in your hair.

Source:TheCandidaDiet

9. Eggs

Since they’re high in sulfur, eggs are great for those in need of glowing skin and strong hair because sulfur is necessary for the production of collagen and keratin in the body.

Source: InspiredTaste

10. Garlic

From preventing unwanted breakouts to maintaining a clearer skin, garlic comes handy for various skin-related issues thanks to its anti-biotic compounds.

Source: HealthLine

11. Tomatoes

Being extremely high on antioxidants, tomatoes are forever popular for treating all kinds of skin issues especially damage thanks to the sun’s UV rays.

Source: WeeklyTimes

12. Pumpkin Seeds

Packed with zinc, vitamins A & K and Omega-3 fatty acids, these small seeds are big on benefits for your skin and hair.

Source: SimplyRecipes

13. Blueberries

The antioxidants found in blueberries are known to fight all the signs of ageing including early greying of hair and fine lines and wrinkles on facial skin.

Source: OrganicFacts

14. Yoghurt

From softening the skin to clearing out pigmentation, a cup of yoghurt a day will ensure your skin looks and feels totally amazing.

Source: TheTimes

15. Kiwis

Along with antioxidants, kiwis also have tons of Vitamin C that helps in keeping your skin firm, fight wrinkles and remove pigmentation.

Source: LiveStrong

16. Sweet Potatoes

Loaded with beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are the ultimate remedy for fighting signs of ageing and giving you lustrous hair and sparkling skin. They’re especially good for those who do hardcore workouts and work at cleansing all the pores that open up due to excessive sweating.

Source: OrganicFacts

17. Cucumber

The sulfur in cucumbers strengthens the skin and the silica aids in collagen production. Additionally, the vitamin K increases the elasticity of the blood vessels and vitamins A, C & E boost antioxidant production.

Source: Care2

18. Turmeric

While everyone knows that turmeric is excellent to even-out the complexion and get rid of pigmentation, few know that thanks to the presence of curcumin, a fat-soluble antioxidant in it, turmeric is also an anti-inflammation agent and works at solving pretty much all skin-related ailments.

Source: HealthLine

19. Cayenne

It can make drastic improvements to the skin’s micro-circulation giving you an even skin tone, softer, more supple texture and a glow unlike any other. Have it warm water and a pinch of lemon and say goodbye to all your skin worries.

Source: LiveStrong

Here’s to a lifetime of great skin and hair!

10 Foods to Eat Every Day for Perfect Skin

Are you tired of using different expensive and ineffective beauty products? It’s time to throw away all those ineffective products and start eating foods for perfect skin. I went from terrible acne five months ago to not having acne now. It was hard, but it was possible, and less expensive than turning to pricey products. While some foods can aggravate your skin, others can enhance it. Check out a list of 10 foods to eat every day for perfect skin.

Red bell peppers

Red bell peppers are a tasty vegetable that can be enjoyed either cooked or raw. One red bell pepper contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. It also contains significant amounts of dietary fiber and vitamin B6. Moreover, it is rich in carotenoids that can help prevent wrinkles and increase blood circulation to your skin, helping it look more youthful. Due to their carotenoids, red bell peppers are also great to fight acne.

A red bell pepper is a perfect, low calorie snack that contains about 30 calories and has a really satisfying crunchy bite. Keep slices of red bell peppers in the fridge, so you will always have something healthy and tasty to reach for when you are having a snack attack. The fiber that a bell pepper contains will help you to feel full longer with very little calories. Plus, you will have a flawless skin!

Dark chocolate

This is one of my favorite foods to eat every day for perfect skin! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and flavanols that promote glowing skin. The antioxidants in dark chocolate will help reduce roughness in your skin and protect it against sun damage. Moreover, cocoa relaxes arteries, increasing blood circulation that leads to healthier skin.

I usually buy cocoa powder or raw cacao for less fat. And if you like dark chocolate, eat your ounce of dark chocolate every day and make sure you choose at least 80% cacao content in order to avoid milk and added sugars found in a traditional chocolate bar.

Salmon

Salmon is an excellent food to fight stress, anxiety, and depression. Salmon also provides most of your daily vitamin D needs. And as you may already know, Vitamin D is responsible for keeping your heart, bones, colon and brain healthy. It also helps prevent colon cancer, anxiety, depression, heart disease and bone disease.

Salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent for fighting inflammation, wrinkles and acne. Its high omega-3 content also helps hydrate your skin from the inside out. Moreover, eating salmon keeps your scalp hydrated and promotes strong, healthy hair.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat with about 90 percent of calories as saturated fat. It contains lauric acid, a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent that keeps away viruses, infections, inflammation and acne. Coconut oil is also rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are perfect for keeping your skin moist, soft, and wrinkle-free.

I use coconut oil as a body cream and consume 1 tbsp. of raw coconut oil every day. Coconut oil is especially good for your thyroid. Plus, there’s considerable evidence that this oil can help lose weight. So many health benefits, don’t you think?

Green tea

Well, so I know green tea is actually a beverage, but tea leaves come from a plant! Even though I love black tea, I drink green tea every day because I know that it is a great source of antioxidants and a unique amino acid, L-theanine that helps relax your body and lower stress.

When the tea is hot, the bionic brew releases catechins, a kind of antioxidant with proven anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea may also reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. Drink 3 or more cups of tea every day for better results.

Spinach is a healthy and nutrient-rich food you should certainly include in your everyday diet. You may hate spinach, but it is a wonderful source of iron, folate, chlorophyll, Vitamin E, magnesium, Vitamin A, fiber, plant protein, and Vitamin C. Due to their antioxidant abilities, Vitamins C, E, and A are especially great for your skin.

Spinach contains antioxidants that fight against all types of skin problems. Add it to your everyday diet and see what happens. By eating spinach, you’re just cleaning your skin from the inside out!

Seeds

Chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds are all great for your skin. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are both rich in selenium, Vitamin E, magnesium and protein. Selenium and protein keep all wrinkles away, Vitamin E enhances moisture in your skin and magnesium lowers your stress levels. The healthy Omega 3 fatty acids in flax, chia and hemp seeds are perfect for fighting wrinkles and acne. Plus, these seeds are rich in protein.

Just sprinkle seeds right on top of your salad or oatmeal and enjoy the great taste as well as perfect skin. I like to add seeds to a fruit yogurt, I think it tastes even better. I also add raw pumpkin seeds in my oh-so delicious smoothies. And what are your favorite seeds? How do you eat them?

Celery

Another food to eat daily for perfect skin is celery. Many of us underestimate this veggie, but celery contains Vitamin K that keeps the blood circulation healthy and helps to reduce high blood pressure. This can reduce your stress level, and as you know stress can cause bad skin, migraines and even cancer.

Celery also contains natural sodium, potassium and water, and can help to prevent dehydration. I hope you know that dehydrated skin means dryness, flaking, wrinkles, and even breakouts. Make sure you consume celery every day or at least every other day. If you are counting calories, don’t worry, celery is very low in calories!

Papaya

Papaya is a wonderful fruit which has a rich history and numerous nutritional benefits. It is very low in calories (only 39 calories per 100 g!) and also contains no cholesterol. So if you are trying to lose weight, consider eating papaya every day to maximize its health benefits.

A great beauty food, papaya is low in fructose and is excellent for digestion! The antioxidant nutrients found in it, including Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, are great at reducing inflammation and acne. Moreover, Vitamin C may also protect your skin against sun damage.

Carrots

Carrots are good not only for your eyes, but also for your skin. They are especially good for clearing up breakouts. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and they help prevent the overproduction of cells in the outer layer of the skin. That’s where excess sebum combines with dead cells and clogs pores.

Another great reason to snack on some carrots is because Vitamin A reduces the development of skin-cancer cells. So make sure you nibble on a half-cup of baby carrots every day for perfect skin. I love carrots and I think they make a great snack.

You don’t have to eat all these foods every day, but even some of them would be great! Be sure to avoid junk foods, too much sugar, trans fats and refined carbs for the best skin possible. Which of these foods do you eat every day? Share your thoughts, please, and thanks for reading!

11 Important Health Benefits Of Spinach + Nutrition Facts Ravi Teja Tadimalla Hyderabd040-395603080 January 22, 2020

Spinach is among the more popular leafy greens. It is packed with essential nutrients and has a range of health benefits. It promotes hair and skin health and may also aid cancer treatment. These properties could be attributed to the phytochemicals in spinach (1).

In this post, we will explore the varied nutritional profile of spinach and its important benefits.

Table Of Contents

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Spinach?

The most abundant nutrients in spinach include vitamins A, C, K1, and iron, folic acid, and calcium. It also contains powerful antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and quercetin (all of these fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress).

A hundred grams of spinach contains 23 calories. The amount of spinach also contains 3 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. Other important nutrients include:

  • 99 mg of calcium
  • 3 mg of iron
  • 79 mg of magnesium
  • 49 mg of phosphorus
  • 558 mg of potassium
  • 28 mg of vitamin C
  • 194 mcg of folate
  • 9380 IU of vitamin A
  • 12200 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin
  • 483 mcg of vitamin K

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database, spinach, raw

These potent nutrients work in synergy to offer the many benefits of spinach. We will discuss them at length in the following section.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Spinach?

Spinach is full of carotenoids that fight oxidative stress and cancer. The fiber contains also promotes satiety and may help manage diabetes. Calcium promotes bone health, and lutein and zeaxanthin improve vision.

1. May Keep Your Skin, Hair, And Nails Healthy

The vitamin A in spinach can protect the skin from UV radiation. It fights oxidative stress occurring on the dermal layers and promotes skin health. Consuming spinach regularly may give you healthy skin (2).

Spinach contains vitamin C. Several studies show that vitamin C can promote collagen synthesis (3). It also is believed that the magnesium and iron in the vegetable may also promote hair health. Iron deficiencies have been linked to hair loss (4). Spinach, being a rich source of iron, may help combat hair loss.

Spinach also contains biotin, a mineral that helps treat brittle nails (5).

2. May Help With Weight Loss

Some studies show that spinach may suppress hunger. Overweight women showed a 43% greater loss in body weight after consuming 5 grams of a spinach extract for 3 months (6).

The women also showed a decreased urge to eat sweets by 95%. The spinach extract contained thylakoids, which are membranes usually found in green plants (6).

3. May Reduce Cancer Risk

The glycoglycerolipids in spinach may have a role to play in cancer prevention. They may achieve this by potentially inhibiting tumor growth (7).

As per some studies, vitamin A in spinach is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. Spinach intake (or carrots, which are also rich in vitamin A) for more than twice a week has been linked to a modest decrease in breast cancer risk (8).

Spinach is a cruciferous vegetable. Studies show that cruciferous veggies can play an important role in cancer prevention (9). These veggies are rich in carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin) that may aid cancer treatment.

Cruciferous veggies also release indoles (upon preparation), which inactivate carcinogens and fight inflammation (9).

4. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

Spinach promotes satiety, thereby reducing postprandial (post-meal) glucose responses. This was attributed to the high fiber and water content in the vegetable (10).

Spinach also contains nitrates. These compounds were found to help prevent insulin resistance. They can also relieve inflammation, a primary risk factor for diabetes. Spinach could be a promising ingredient to prevent insulin resistance (11).

Another reason spinach can be a part of an anti-diabetic diet is its low carb count. Compared to starchy veggies, spinach is a non-starchy vegetable with a low carb count (12). It may also lead to lower blood sugar levels.

Individuals with type 2 diabetes can include spinach in their diet. Its low-carb count may help regulate glucose levels, though this statement needs more research.

5. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

The nitrates in spinach deserve the credit. These compounds improve endothelial function and may acutely lower blood pressure levels, thereby promoting heart health (13).

Spinach nitrates may also relieve arterial stiffness, which can lead to high blood pressure levels (14).

Spinach leaf proteins may be useful in the treatment of hypertension. It may also reduce the risk of heart disease (15).

The magnesium in the vegetable also regulates blood pressure levels. This mineral relaxes and widens the blood vessels, thereby promoting blood flow (16).

6. May Boost Vision Health

Spinach contains two important antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been extensively studied for their vision-promoting effects. These compounds fight reactive oxygen species and cut the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (17).

In a study, regular intake of spinach increased macular pigment optical density (18).

7. May Lead To Strong Bones

Spinach may maximize bone health. It is rich in vitamin K and calcium, two nutrients important for bone strength (19).

Low calcium intake over a lifetime also leads to osteoporosis. It is linked to low bone mass, rapid bone loss, and high fracture rates. Spinach contains calcium and can help counter this (20).

8. May Promote Digestion

Spinach contains fiber (21). Though it is not a lot, the fiber can offer some benefits.

Research shows that fiber can keep you feeling full for longer. It also promotes regularity as it helps the food move through the digestive system (22).

9. May Help Treat Asthma

Oxidative stress plays a role in asthma. Spinach contains vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that can combat oxidative stress. This may aid asthma treatment (23).

The lutein and zeaxanthin in the leafy green may also help treat asthma (23). Anecdotal evidence suggests that eating spinach may also keep one from developing asthma.

However, spinach (or other foods) may not be a definitive cure for asthma. More studies are needed to understand the effects of diet on asthma and other allergies (23).

10. May Promote Fetal Development

Spinach contains folic acid, a nutrient essential for fetal development. This nutrient reduces the risk of defects in the unborn child’s nervous system (24).

Some research also suggests that the iron in spinach may help prevent pre-term deliveries and low birth-weight babies. However, information is unclear, and we need more studies in this regard (25).

11. May Boost Brain Function

Spinach may have anti-stress and anti-depressive effects. These effects can be attributed to the ability of spinach to reduce blood levels of corticosterone (a hormone involved in stress responses) (26).

Other nutrients in spinach, namely vitamin K, folate, lutein, and beta-carotene (vitamin A), are also believed to promote brain health and slow down cognitive decline. More research is needed to establish a connection.

Spinach is indeed a superfood. Eating raw spinach as part of a salad can be a good idea. Here are other ways.

How To Include Spinach In Your Diet

You are doing your body a lot good if you are regularly eating spinach. Including the leafy green in your diet is easy.

  • You can make it a part of your hummus. Cooked spinach tastes great!
  • Make spinach the primary ingredient in your cupcakes.
  • Add spinach to your morning smoothie. You can also grind spinach leaves and prepare a green smoothie/spinach juice.
  • Spinach can also be added to curries. Blanching spinach and adding it to your dishes also works.
  • Spinach can be part of your vegetable salad. Drizzling some olive oil over the salad makes it much healthier.

How To Select And Store Spinach Leaves

Picking locally grown spinach works best. Also, look for the best-before date. You should pick fresh spinach. Keep these points in mind:

  • Go for bright green leaves. Avoid leaves that are brown or yellow or wilted.
  • Choosing spinach stored in a cooler is better (than that stored on a shelf).
  • Remember to keep spinach in the original bag or container and wash only prior to use. Store the remaining spinach in the same bag in the refrigerator, ensuring there is no moisture.
  • Wrapping the bag in a clean towel can offer extra protection.

Though spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients, it comes with certain warnings.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Spinach?

Spinach is replete with the essential nutrients. Most of the research has confirmed its health benefits. However, taking excess spinach could cause side effects.

  • May Aggravate Kidney Stones
    This is the most common concern with spinach. Spinach contains large amounts of oxalates (just like beets and rhubarb). These may bind with calcium in the urinary tract and can lead to calcium oxalate stones (27). Hence, individuals with kidney disease/stones must stay away from spinach.
  • May Interfere With Blood-Thinning Medications
    The vitamin K in spinach plays a role in forming blood clots. Hence, you must be wary of your vitamin K intake if you are on blood thinners. Spinach, being high in vitamin K, may interfere with medications that help in blood-thinning (including Warfarin) (28). You may need to reduce your consumption of spinach if you are on Warfarin.

Conclusion

Spinach is among the most important foods you can eat on a regular basis. It is chock-full of vital nutrients and keeps most diseases at bay. However, you may want to limit its intake if you have kidney disease.

Though research is less, some sources suggest that spinach may also interfere with thyroid medication. Hence, please check with your healthcare provider.

Consuming spinach definitely will help in the long run, but if you have any medication condition, caution is required.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How much spinach can you eat in a day?

The ideal dosing of spinach depends on the individual and their health condition. As per anecdotal evidence, one or two cups of spinach (about 60 grams) a day could be a good idea.

Is spinach a keto?

Yes. Spinach is high in nutrients and low in carbs. Hence, it can be added to a keto diet.

Should you eat spinach raw or cooked?

Raw spinach may have a slightly higher amount of nutrients, though the difference is not a lot. But raw spinach may cause gas. It boils down to your preference and experience.

Is spinach good for weight loss?

Spinach is low in calories and high in fiber. Though it may not directly aid weight loss, it can be part of a weight loss diet.

How is regular spinach different from baby spinach?

Baby spinach is typically harvested in the early stages of plant growth. The leaves are smaller, and the texture is more tender. Regular spinach has large leaves.

28 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Functional properties of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) phytochemicals and bioactives, Food & Function, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27353735
  • The Role of Phytonutrients in Skin Health, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257702/
  • Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18505499
  • Iron plays a certain role in patterned hair loss, Journal of Korean Medical Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23772161
  • Biotin, National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements.
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
  • Acute Effects of a Spinach Extract Rich in Thylakoids on Satiety: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600649/
  • Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity, Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21034405
  • Intake of carrots, spinach, and supplements containing vitamin A in relation to risk of breast cancer, Cancer epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9367061
  • Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Nutrition and Cancer, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12094621
  • Satiety effects of spinach in mixed meals: comparison with other vegetables, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8574859
  • Effects of spinach nitrate on insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction markers and inflammation in mice with high-fat and high-fructose consumption, Food & Nutrition Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5018658/
  • Diabetes and Carbs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html
  • Flavonoid-rich apples and nitrate-rich spinach augment nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function in healthy men and women: a randomized controlled trial, Free Radical Biology & Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22019438
  • Effect of Spinach, a High Dietary Nitrate Source, on Arterial Stiffness and Related Hemodynamic Measures: A Randomized, Controlled Trial in Healthy Adults, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26251834
  • Antihypertensive properties of spinach leaf protein digests, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080624
  • Magnesium in Disease Prevention and Overall Health, Advances in Nutrition, Oxford Academic Journals.
    https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/4/3/378S/4591618
  • Dietary Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and Their Role in Eye Health, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/
  • Effects of Constant Intake of Lutein-rich Spinach on Macular Pigment Optical Density: a Pilot Study, Nippon Ganka Gakkai zasshi, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26950968
  • Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet, The Open Orthopaedics Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330619/
  • Osteoporosis Overview, Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview
  • Spinach, raw, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168462/nutrients
  • Health benefits of dietary fiber, Nutrition Reviews, CiteSeerX, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Dietary Factors and the Development of Asthma, Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2536613/
  • The use of folic acid for the prevention of neural tube defects and other congenital anomalies, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14608448
  • Iron Nutriture of the Fetus, Neonate, Infant, and Child, Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143763/
  • Anti-Stress and Anti-Depressive Effects of Spinach Extracts on a Chronic Stress-Induced Depression Mouse Model through Lowering Blood Corticosterone and Increasing Brain Glutamate and Glutamine Levels, Journal of Clinical Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30384468
  • Nutritional Management of Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis), Clinical Nutrition Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525130/
  • Knowledge of Coumadin Use and Vitamin K Interaction in Atrial Fibrillation Patients, Utah State University.
    https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=honors

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.

6 Foods For Clear, Healthy Skin

Your skin’s health starts on the inside…

Kimberlee RuzyckiFollow Feb 2, 2017 · 3 min read

Adult acne was something I struggled with for many years. It was a really difficult time for me and no matter how many creams or lotions I tried — nothing seemed to help.

When I changed to a plant based diet my skin cleared up all on its own…it was amazing!

Its true what they say…Beauty IS an inside job!

Acne is a form of inflammation and can be caused by many different factors. Just like every one of us is different — not one thing will work for everyone — however the following foods all have nutrients, vitamins and minerals that reduce inflammation and are healthy for your skin.

Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach and swiss chard help clear impurities from the body, which can encourage breakouts. Eating more fruits and vegetables overall can naturally help clear up acne by reducing inflammation and providing essential nutrients.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in polyphenols (super antioxidants) which increase blood-flow and oxygen to the skin, improving its look, feel and most importantly, health. It is great at reducing inflammation — aim for at least 2 cups a day.

Healthy Fats

The typical standard diet contains too many omega-6 fatty acids, which are tied to inflammation. Eating more omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseed and avocados can help reduce inflammation and improve acne breakouts.

Berries

The more antioxidants you can eat, the better — especially if you struggle with acne. A diet rich in antioxidants can decrease mild to moderate acne. Deep coloured berries are full of antioxidants and are delicious — try blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C — a major vitamin for clear, healthy skin. Snack on one raw cut up with hummus or chop it up in your salad.Other great sources of vitamin C include mangos, broccoli, leafy greens and citrus fruit.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are an amazing plant based source of zinc — a mineral that is needed for the body’s defensive (immune) system to work properly and plays a role in cell health. It helps to fight and heal acne. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on your salad, oatmeal or eat them as a snack.

Have you cleared up your acne with dietary changes? I would love to hear your story, your tips or which foods worked for you…

Good food for hair

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