Miracle cures and that elusive fountain of youth…
SPOILER! There really is no way to turn back time, but there is a way to nurture and care for what you already have and it starts with what’s on your plate. You see, food not only helps you lose weight and feel fitter, but it can also help you live longer by creating new brain cells, boosting collagen and elastin for firmer skin and protecting cells from damage –– resulting in more brainpower, healthier skin, and enhanced vitality. I’m dishing out 15 foods to eat your way to healthier skin and a longer life, as well as delicious recipes to use them in. Just remember to eat on a regular basis and enjoy!
1. Avocado: This green fruit is a monounsaturated fat powerhouse, which is good for your skin. Monounsaturated fat is so tiny it can slip through your membranes to protect cells from free radical damage (Science Lesson: free radicals are unstable molecules that can steal electrons from your cells, leaving them damaged and causing a chain reaction.) So, not only can avocados battle those free radicals, enhancing brainpower and skin texture, but they are packed with fiber, which expedites the removal of toxins that can lead to aging.
Recipe: Avo and Egg Breakfast Pizza
2. Turmeric: This warming spice has a whole laundry list of benefits but I’ll cut to the chase. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for it’s superhero powers, like inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Thanks to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant content and ability to ignite our body’s own production of antioxidants, which helps protect brain cells and skin cells from free radical damage, improving concentration and slowing the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
Recipe: Turmeric Tea (P.S. Bonus if you use turmeric root)
3. Arctic Char: This fish packs in all the benefits of salmon but unlike salmon, land-based contained farming practices for arctic char are environmentally sustainable, so it’s fine to opt for farmed over wild-caught. You’ll get all the omega-3 fatty acids and selenium you need to fight sun damage, ward off skin cancer and preserve collagen to keep your skin firm, as well as niacin to keep skin rashes like eczema at bay. If that’s not enough, char also char also contains carotenoids, which improves eyesight.
Recipe: Roasted Arctic Char with Avocado Mango Salsa
4. Chili Peppers: The spice of life is no joke! Eating 100 grams of fresh chilies boasts more than 240 percent of the daily value of vitamin C! Eating vitamin C-rich foods helps protect skin cells from the UV-rays and boosts collagen, which is responsible for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Chilies are very alkaline thanks to the compound, capsaicin, which has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. As if that’s not enough, chilies also boost immunity and fight free radicals.
Recipe: Authentic Thai Green Curry Paste, Krueang Kaeng Khiao Wan
5. Wheat Germ: Wheat germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients that is especially rich in zinc. Zinc is crucial for producing new skin cells. Wheat germ also has anti-inflammatory properties that are known to help prevent eczema and even reduce acne. It is also high in vitamin E, an essential nutrient with antioxidant properties that help decrease free radicals in the body, boost immunity and keep your hearth healthy.
Recipe: Wheat Germ Smoothie (Wheat Germ is great as a topping for salads, yogurt or oatmeal and can be used in place of bread crumbs or in baking)
6. Eggs: Your go-to breakfast food does much more than fill your belly! Eggs are rich in iron and biotin, which help keep your skin and hair healthy and full. The egg yolk is known to contian lutein, which protects skin from UV damage, it is also responsible for keeping your eyes healthy — in fact, research has linked lutein with reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration.
7. Cucumber: The ole’ cucumber on the eye trick has some truth to it! Cucumbers have the highest water content of any food, and the silica in the peel helps reduce wrinkles and boost collagen. Just be sure you are buying unwaxed cucumbers!
Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Edamame and Avocado
8. Brazil Nuts: Hailing from the Amazon, just six nuts comprise a 1 ounce serving which is packed with 774 percent of the daily recommended value of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral essential to immune and thyroid function as well as repairing cell damage and slowing down the skin’s aging process thanks to the antioxidant, glutathione.
Recipe: Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto
9. Beans: Beans in general are amazing, they are full of protein, fiber, and B vitamins, all of which do your body good. They help your skin by reducing inflammation and improve your heart health, promote hair growth and thicken hair cells with protein and fiber.
Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Bean and Pasta Soup)
10. Greens: Green foods contain folate, calcium, and other nutrients like iron, vitamin K and lutein that support bone health, boost energy, protect against cognitive decline and protect your eyes by allowing your retinas to absorb damaging light before it can hurt your vision. Greens are nature’s most alkaline-foods that we have available year-round, collards, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, arugula, herbs, and spinach are some of the best choices.
Recipe: Late Summer Greens Sautè
11. Berries: One serving of this superfood provides more antioxidant activity than most fruits and veggies and are responsible for fighting off free radicals which cause stress, disease and aging in our body. In fact, one cup of berries delivers about 150 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and you now know that vitamin C-rich foods help ward off wrinkles and age-related dryness.
Recipe: Arugula Berry and Goat Cheese Salad
12. Olive Oil: The Mediterranean’s were on to something! True olive oil is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, which is responsible for lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.
13. Tomatoes: These red fruits contain lycopene, an antioxidant compound that acts as a natural sunblock helping to maintain youthful skin texture. Lycopene may also reduce the risk of some types of cancer (especially prostate, lung, and stomach cancers) and heart disease. For maximum benefit you should cook tomatoes. You can also get lycopene from pink grapefruit, carrots, watermelon, guava and red peppers.
Recipe: Crusty Bread with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Feta
14. Red Grapes: A toast to red wine! The dark skin and seeds of red grapes are rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that includes resveratrol. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties promoting immunity and heart health. Bonus: Studies show that resveratrol may activate genes that slow cellular aging.
Recipe: Strozzapreti with Sausage, Grapes and Red Wine
15. Tea: You may have known that drinking tea was good for your health but it also has a positive impact on your complexion. Tea, especially green and white tea are high in polyphenols that can help keep your skin hydrated, reverse the effects of UV damage, and reduce inflammation. Numerous studies have also linked tea consumption to lower rates of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Cheers to that!
Recipe: Matcha (Green Tea) Chia Seed Pudding
Miracle cures and that elusive fountain of youth…