June 28, 2010

Superfoods and your skin


Beauty and skin care is not all about spending a ton of money on fancy lotions and exotic creams or getting yourself pampered at an expensive spa. Beauty is something that comes from within and your diet and lifestyle happen to play a very important part in your skin care routine. Undoubtedly, some foods are very skin friendly; moderate consumption of these foods will help improve the health of your entire body and this in turn will reflect on your skin. However, balance is the key word. No single food is responsible for building up or maintaining your skin or body;  so fad diets, which over-emphasize one food in preference to others can actually deprive you of essential nutrients and so may even harm your body and skin.


Take for instance the baby food diet. It's one of the latest fad diets which celebrities such as Jennifer Anniston, Lady Gaga and Reese Witherspoon have taken fancy to as it helps to lose weight quickly and easily. (By the way, this diet has nothing to do with skin care or anti-aging.) The drawback of this diet is that it's extremely low in calories which is one of the worst ways to try and lose weight, as it will result in water loss and possibly muscle loss and with harmful side effects such as gallstones and damaged muscles. Other fad diets where you have to eat strange combinations of foods (eg.  cabbage soup diet, ice-cream diet, grape fruit diet etc.) on a regular basis in order to drop those unwanted pounds  do not have enough carbs or protein to keep you feeling satisfied. Some, like the cabbage soup diet can cause gas (flatulence) and bad breath. You may  also experience hunger pangs, headache and dizziness due to severe calorie restriction by following these diets and in most cases the weight lost is mostly water weight and will be gained back quickly. So instead of resorting to quick fixes like this it's more healthy to lose weight by exercising and restricting one's calorie intake.



Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon have taken to Baby Food diet to lose weight


Incidentally, there are a lot of myths about the effect of certain foods on your skin and your body. For the most part they are false. It is false for instance; that eating chocolates, sugary sweets, cakes or greasy food will give you acne  It is also false that eating greasy, fried foods will make your skin oily and your hair greasy, although eating very greasy & oil-laden foods will ruin your health and can have adverse effects on your skin in the long run.Also there is no guarantee that if you fill yourself with cucumbers, blueberries, grapes, carrot juice, green tea or lettuce you will acquire a beautiful, flawless complexion. It's also an exaggeration to say that to develop a perfect skin you must take vitamin and mineral supplements exclusively or that if you consume salads regularly, it will dramatically change your appearance or that antioxidants can erase your wrinkles. These are all extraordinary claims, with no solid basis. No adequate studies have shown that if you eat fibre-rich and antioxidant rich food, you will be cancer-free, disease-free, defy ageing and live long.
fruitsFilling yourself with nutritious stuff won't guarantee flawless skin
 




In fact, stuffing yourself with too much of these superfoods and food supplements can work against you. For example, it has been found that eating too much fibre could prevent women becoming pregnant. Researchers from across the U.S. after a  2 year study on 250 women of childbearing age  found that not only hormones vital for the reproduction process dropped with high fibre intake, but that there was an increase in something called anovulation, that is, when a woman goes through a menstrual cycle but her ovaries fail to release an egg. Anovulation also occurs when hormone levels drop due to extreme exercise, anxiety or stress. Eating fibre (insoluble fibre such as bran) has also been found to exacerbate unpleasant symptoms for many people with Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome (IBS). On the other hand, surprisingly, ice cream and pasta on a regular basis could help women get pregnant. A research from Harvard Nurses' Health study has shown that two servings of ice-cream a week reduces a woman's risk of infertility by about 38%. Ice cream is a high calorie food, often shunned by women who are trying to lose their weight but amazingly it ups a woman's chances of conceiving; probably the fat in an ice cream makes ovaries work better, say scientists. Another study has also found that women who got their daily iron from pasta had lower infertility risks. How far to believe in such studies and whether they are adequate or not is another question.

Overdosing on antioxidants is also harmful; scientists say that the delicate balance of nutrients required by the body could be affected by stuffing it full of the antioxidants contained in the foods. A study by Kansas State University in the U.S has found that too much of antioxidants also results in impaired muscle function and this especially could affect older people as they could get out of breath more quickly, which in turn would prevent them from exercise and keeping fit.  Antioxidant supplements in pill form are even worse. High doses of vitamin E has been found to significantly increase the risk of death. As per the article published by Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, studies conducted have shown that supplements of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E, whether given in combination or by themselves, actually increased people's risk of death, regardless of whether the study was on those who were already ill or on those who were healthy.The study concludes saying that antioxidant pills are harmful and it's best to have a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables rather than trying to get your health from antioxidant pills. 

To conclude, though a nutritious diet is vital for overall health and vibrant skin, one mustn't go overboard. There is no one way or answer to good skin. While certain foods do have healing properties and therapeutic effects and helping yourself to just the right foods that contain adequate amount of vitamins, minerals and proteins help improve the quality of  skin, have realistic goals and hopes.  Eat foods that you love along with nutritious stuff. Also don't feel guilty to binge on oily and fried stuff and high-calorie food sometimes. Remember that to have beautiful skin a myriad of factors are involved. Having wonderful looking skin is often a combination of factors both under your control and more out of your control. Whether you like it or not, the single most important factor in determining the beauty of your complexion is heredity. That being said then one should embark on a healthy lifestyle that includes, rest, healthy food, exercise, water, good sleep, high quality supplements like omega-3 fatty acids. It would be great to get a leg up on what foods have some of the highest benefit for your skin. You can begin your path to healthy skin from here:

* Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables each day - colorful fruits and vegetables, garlic, and onions are essential for clear, healthy skin. Eat your veggies raw. Here's a quick salad you can put together - toss bean sprouts, 1 celery, lettuce and cucumber, with a twist of lemon, ginger and honey. Add salt and pepper to taste.
* Try to consume one or two fruits at least each day. Fresh fruits are a direct source of vitamins, and contain ample of water, vitamins, minerals, and fibre; they can benefit your skin and your health immensely.
* Try and consume tender coconut water at least thrice a week. Coconut water can cleanse your system better than normal water. Coconut water is full of electrolytes and vital nutrients and is very beneficial for those who want to reduce occurrence of acne and pimples. Consuming coconut water works wonders if you want to improve your complexion and also for your general skin health.
* Include fibre-rich foods like wholegrains, bajra, jowar, brown rice and wheat in your diet. Fibers aid the digestion process and helps to remove toxins from the body. Build-up of toxins are the main cause of acne and other skin problems. Other foods rich in fibres include oatmeals, whole grains, beans and lentils.
* All fat is not bad. For your skin to remain plump and supple, taking healthy fats into your system can have a deeper, healthier effect on your skin. Flax, olive and fish oils, as well as expeller-pressed cooking oils like safflower or canola, should be incorporated into the diet. Also fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon and seafood at least once a week. Olive oil and coconut oil, full of omega-3 fatty acids and coconut oil, which are heart-healthy EFAs or Essential fatty Acids, help to improve your circulation and maintain supple, smooth skin.
* Nuts and seeds include important blood-building nutrients like iron, and healthy circulation and blood are key to good skin health. Nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats, which, as noted above, keep the skin smooth and glowing. Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin-E. Vitamin E has for long been known to assist in cellular regeneration and reducing the signs of aging. Moreover, this nutrient is also responsible for keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated.
(Guest Post by Smitha)



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27 comments:

  1. Lavanya8:50 AM

    Anything with anti-oxidants in it really help your skin. Fruits especially have these and blueberries are the highest i believe. I tend to drink lots of water also, and once a day I also like to drink crystal light skin essentials. Its a power that you can mix into your water and comes in 2 great flavors (pomegranate lemonade is my favorite!) They come in little packets too so its great for on the go! Also if you want better looking skin, believe it or not, lots of sleep can help. I have recently been taking a lot of naps and my skin has improved greatly.Exercise and a healthy diet will always help too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. unknown8:51 AM

    foods like fruit, vegetables and plenty of fresh meat and poultry. Try to avoid chocolate, caffeine and crisps. Also, drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juices.
    The healthier the better, because they don't add any unneeded oils.

    ReplyDelete
  3. get a juicer/smoothie maker. Fresh beetroot is so nutricious and full of vits you wouldnt believe it. Have a juice every day. Blueberries, pomegranates anything at all, bung it in and drink it! I used to have mackerel, poached egg on wholemeal toast with a tiny smidge of chillie on the bread and instead of butter a drizzle of olive oil. Sounds gross, tastes good! I went from burnt out and permanently tired to full of beans and fit to join the gym.

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  4. Anonymous8:58 AM

    The best thing to do is eat a variety of foods.
    Besides fruits and vegetables, whole grains (and lots of them).
    Also, make sure you get protein (meat, beans, cheese, nuts).
    Food alone won't make you SUPER healthy. It's also a matter of genes and of exercise, lack of stress, sleep, drinking a lot of water.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This really is so important to keep in mind! Thanks!

    I have been a follower (twitter & GFC) of your blog for awhile. I absolutely love it, great content! I just started a blog myself! I would love it if you followed me back! – Karissa
    http://www.withourbest.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Coconut water is a healthy, mouth watering, organic growth promoting, cooling, intestinal worm killing tonic for the elderly and infirm. Also, it is believed to that applying it to the body helps with prickly heat, summer boils, and diseased caused rashes such as chicken pox, measles and more. It is reported to assist with urinary infections, and is commonly quoted as being good for ailments down there, including digestive problems and helps to heal from sexual problems, like an all natural Viagra. Despite all the people guzzling it as a sport drink, it is known to be a diuretic, which means it reduces fluid in the body, not something you want when dehydrated.

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  7. Unknown8:32 AM

    All nuts contain carbohydrate.Researchers found that people who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease.Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 - the good fats) which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol
    I would have to say Almonds because it has fiber and it is monosaturated meaning it stays liquid at room temperature (in the body) and is healthy, it will help protect you from heart disease

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  8. Health Expert8:36 AM

    Raw onion juice is supposed to shrink tumors. Garlic will lower your blood pressure and increase your immune system. These are best taken mixed with other raw juices ( not processed).
    Grapes (organic) and grape seed are another anti-cancer food.

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  9. Radhika8:43 AM

    You can overdose on antioxidants. If you already consume fiver servings of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis than on top of that take a mulit-vitamin andseparatee pills for sayvitaminn C orVitaminn B12 you could cause issues with your body leaving it unbalanced. To muchVitamin C causes diarrhea. Antioxidants can also interfere with medical treatments and other medication. If you eat right its more than likely that you wont need to take so many.

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  10. Sreya8:43 AM

    Too much of anything is poisonous to the body. There are actual cased of vitamin overdoses (unintentional.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jalaja8:50 AM

    This post is beautiful and so well-written.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yay!! Thank you so much Aparna! We love you! :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Praghya9:26 AM

    Great article!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yusuf9:36 AM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on super foods!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sneha9:24 AM

    The single most important step you can take to help you to lose weight and stay healthy is to limit calories from highly refined junk foods (chips, crackers, snacks), fast foods (fries, burgers and shakes) and sweetened soft drinks, including soda and fruit juices. These foods provide no nutrition and encourage fat storage at an early age.

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  16. Ayushman9:53 AM

    Sunscreen is the fountain of youth.The biggest cause of age-related wrinkles is sun exposure. Using sunscreen to mitigate the sun's effects is absolutely the best way to prevent aging. It can't turn back the clock on wrinkles that already exist, but it can reduce the future appearance of wrinkles.

    ReplyDelete
  17. unknown9:56 AM

    no carbs, no junkfood & fastfood
    only water,fruit,veggies, salad and fish
    peanut butter and beans for protein
    i swear you will lose 5 pounds a week
    but you have to workout too:
    push-ups, lunges, situps, crunches, running (run stairs if you dont like running outside)
    im doing this doing school also like i said this is not a diet its a lifestyle soon you will look gr8 in no time

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous3:44 PM

    Fiber-rich foods include vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits, beans and whole unrefined grains. Drinking the recommended eight glasses or more of water daily is also essential to avoid constipation. Remember the fiber supplements and the water if you fallow a low-carbo diet, like Atkins Diet. Be aware that consuming too much can block mineral absorption because food simply doesn’t stay in the digestive tract long enough for your body to extract valuable nutrients. Gas, flatulence or constipation can also result. If you haven’t been eating significant amounts of fiber, increase your intake gradually to allow the intestinal tract to adjust.

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  19. Thanks for the great article.Its always nice visiting your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous9:52 AM

    best foods for healthy skin---- Carrots, apricots and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, Blueberries, Spinach and other green leafy vegetables, Tomatoes, Beans, peas and lentils, Fish, especially salmon and Nuts

    ReplyDelete
  21. Neena9:55 AM

    Eating nuts helps your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Vandana8:48 AM

    Eating These Top Nutritious Foods,You're going to look and feel energized and full of life if you eat a diet full of these top nutritious foods.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Nayantatara9:03 AM

    Eating nutritious foods will help you get a healthy glow to your appearance. Your skin, hair and nails will all reap the benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Malini9:10 AM

    super foods are nutritional powerhouses that help build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Urmila10:24 AM

    eat good foods, drink LOTS of water, wash your face according to whatever type of skin you have and use products as needed. Always moisturize your face/ us sunscreen after washing and before going out into the sun so it stays protected. Once you have gotten clear skin start using a good makeup concealer and foundation and powder to get smooth "glowing" skin!

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  26. Janaki2:43 PM

    Reduce your fat intake
    Improve your sleep
    Cut down on your salt intake
    Have a good laugh
    Fruits for immunity and blood pressure
    Drink more water
    Keep your brain active
    Think positively

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous2:07 PM

    Nuts don't just contain healthy fats to help keep your cholesterol low - they are also good sources of appetite-killing fiber, which digests slowly so it stays in your stomach much longer.

    ReplyDelete

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