Feed Your Face

skin foods

Want more radiant, healthy-looking skin? THEN F EED IT! Here are the top 10 foods to turn back the clock.

Yoghurt contains live probiotics, such as acidophilus, help to aid digestive balance and maintain a healthy gut flora. In other words, when your gut is working right, it can better absorb all of the nutrients your skin needs from your diet so your skin receives more nutrients it needs to be healthy. To make yoghurt a staple in your daily diet, try replacing mayonnaise, cream, salad dressings, or whip up a fruit yoghurt smoothie. Just be sure to choose a natural, Greek and low-sugar varieties, since sugar can aggravate inflammation (ageing).

Tomatoes are rich in age-defying ingredient lycopene – a the natural pigment that makes tomatoes red can help protect against sunburn and skin ageing caused by sunlight exposure. To reap the most benefits, lycopene is best absorbed by the body when it has been cooked or processed. So eating tomato paste, tomato soup or canned tomatoes is likely to be more effective than just eating raw tomatoes when trying to safeguard your skin against getting fried.

Carrots have long been touted as the best vegetable for protecting the skin. Why? They are chock-full of beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A in the body), which and is essential for proper cell growth and repair cell – that means fewer dead cells to combine with sebum and clog pores. How’s that for a natural exfoiliation. Beta-carotene also acts as an antioxidant to mop up harmful free radicals, helping to prevent pre-mature ageing. Toss carrots into a stir-fry, enjoy them raw as a snack with hummos, or grate them into salads or wraps.

Water. Remaining properly hydrated is one of the best things you can do for a glowing complexion, since even mild dehydration can result in the skin looking and feeling parched, too. Caffeinated beverages, sugar-sweetened drinks and juice don’t count – it has to be water! Water hydrates skin cells, allowing efficient absorption of nutrients and removal of toxins.

Blueberries. Compared to other commonly consumed fruits, blueberries are the highest-ranking food source of skin-loving antioxidants, which target DNA-damaging free radicals, reducing skin cell damage and premature ageing. While remaining low in calories and high in fibre, blueberries are the ultimate waist-friendly snack to enjoy between meals.

Dark Chocolate. As if you needed another reason to get your chocolate fix! dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids – a type of antioxidant that helps to equip the skin with a stronger defense against wrinkle-causing UV rays. Chocolate also makes you feel happy – when you eat it, the brain releases endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good hormones. And when you feel good, you look good.

Citrus fruits. The citrus family is brimming in Vitamin C, which not only is good for warding off the sniffles, but also a prime skin-care ingredient which smoothes out wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen – the skin’s support structure. The more collagen you have, the less creased your skin looks. Research also shows that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may promote the repair of DNA that’s been damaged by UV rays. Beyond citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes and capsicum are pack a C punch.

Salmon offers a whole heap of omega-3 fatty acids to keep cell walls supple, allowing water to better penetrate the epidermis (top layer of the skin). And since each skin cell wall influences the cell’s ability to hold water, having a healthy barrier provides you with plumper, well-hydrated skin. Research also shows that getting too little omega-3’s may contribute to inflammatory disorders like eczema and psoriasis. Other omega-3 rich fish include tuna or mackerel. Aim to eat two servings of fatty fish each week. If fish isn’t your thing, consider adding flaxseed oil to the dressing, or snack on walnuts to quench your skin.

Almonds are packed full of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals. Almonds are also rich in monounsaturated fat, the healthier type of fats known for lowering cholesterol and keeping cell membranes strong and intact – crucial for keeping skin youthful.

Brown rice. Check the packaging of your skin products and you’re likely to see ceramides in the list of ingredients. These lipid molecules, which help your skin maintain its moisture, are also founds in wholegrain brown rice. As opposed to refined grains, such as white bread, pastas, and cakes, eating wholegrain don’t cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Too much insulin may effect sebum production (a type of oil produced in the skin’s gland), which can cause breakouts. Other wholegrains include rye, corn, oats and barley. Aim for 3-4 serves a day.

 

Fast Fixes For Food Cravings

food cravings

Just can’t stop at two squares of chocolate or devouring the entire packet of salt and vinegar chips? Crush cravings with these fast food fixes.

The sweet craving

If visions of ice cream, chocolates or banana bread dance in your head, what you may be craving more than the sugar in these foods is the fat that provides their texture, taste and aroma. Several studies have shown that fat and sugar may release endorphins into the brain (neurotransmitters that can produce a feeling of pleasure or euphoria).

Beat it by

Guess what? Good old-fashioned exercise also boosts levels of endorphins. So next time you feel like biting into a chocolate brownie, lace up those walking shoes. You’ll get the same pleasing feeling and the benefits of doing something good for your body. If youre on the job or unable to get immediate fitness gratification, you can still get the creamy taste and texture you yearn for from yoghurt or nut butters with fruit.

The salty craving

Unfortunately, cravings for salt often result in the consumption of foods that are also heavy in fat (think chips, French fries, pizza), and sometimes the desire for salty foods, such as chips or pretzels, may have more to do with the wish to crunch than the actual salt.

Beat it by

Get Spicy. Experiment with spices other than salt for flavouring meals and dishes. Pepper, curry, paprika, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary all give dishes not wonderful flavour, but has nutritional benefits, too. Need to crunch? Reach for crisp, fresh, munch-able foods, like baby carrots with hummus or low-fat dip – they make great stand-ins for chicken flavoured chip or pretzels.

Craving carbs

Cravings for refined carbohydrates are most frequently associated with times of stress. The explanation behind this relationship? Heavily refined carbohydrates found in such foods as rice crackers, baked goods, biscuits, cakes, and white bread have been shown to help boost levels of the serotonin (a mood-enhancing brain chemical), shown to produce a feeling of calm and well-being.

Beat it by

Anything that relieves stress can help to inhibit these cravings. Try deep breathing techniques, yoga or simple exercise instead of resorting to the refrigerator. When you feel the need to feed, go for snacks that have a combo of low GI carbohydrates and protein. Think yoghurt, wholegrain crackers or veg with and hummus, smoothies, trail mix, or nut butters with fruit.

 

Protein Power Bars

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Made with whole grains, nuts and seeds, this nutritious slice is the perfect pick-me-up for that 3pm slump or kiddies lunch box (gluten and wheat free).

2 tbsp coconut oil (can use coconut paste). May need a little more depending on what consistency you like
1/2 cup honey (or desired sweetener)
1/4 cup raw cacao
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 buckinis (raw buckwheat) – optional – I like to add them for the extra crunch
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup almonds – can use other seeds like pepitas or sunflower seeds for a nut free bar
1 tbsp chia seeds

Line 20 x 30 cm baking tray with baking paper

In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, cinnamon, honey and cacao over low heat, siring until well combined (a few minutes). Allow to cool slightly.

Combine quinoa, buckwheat, almonds, chia and coconut and quickly pulse in a food processor a few times so nuts are broken down, but not to a fine powder.

Mix dry and wet ingredients together until well combined.

Press the mixture very firmly onto tray. This step is important to avoid breakage when you cut into slices.

Place in freezer for 10 minites to set if you want to eat same day, or place in refrigerator and allow to set for a few hours or overnight.

Cut into rectangular slices with a sharp knife. Store in fridge for up 12 days.