BY GABRIEL GUZMAN
Recently I began to care about what my skin looks and feels like. I realized that if I want to have nice skin, I have to start with what I put in my body. As superficial as it may sound, I want to change my eating habits, in return for healthier skin, and a healthier self.
It wasn’t hard to figure out what I had incorporate into my diet—it was everything I wasn’t eating. Changing my habits drastically would only result in a catastrophe, so I slowly began adding and replacing nutritious foods into my meals. It was as simple as packing a sandwich and fruit for lunch rather than chips, and as easy as drinking a cup of decaffeinated green tea each morning with my breakfast.
As great as it would be if we could all strictly eat clean, it’s easier said than done. It’s all about incorporating nutritious foods to your existing diet, and over time doing away with things that have no nutritional value.
With the help of my favorite health journal—Prevention—I’ve compiled a list of my favorite foods that taste great while making us look and feel even better.
There’s no surprise that this tops the list. Water is the fountain of youth. It keeps you hydrated throughout the day and is responsible for smooth, clear skin. According to Dr. Oz, “drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning stimulates your GI tract, which improves your body’s ability to absorb nutrients all day long.” If you have a hard time drinking water, try enhancing its flavor with frozen fruits such as berries, and even lemons and limes.
All hail the super-food of all super-foods. I’m literally cooking quinoa on the stove right now. According to Prevention, cooked quinoa has approximately eight grams of protein per cup, and it lowers cholesterol levels. You can cook and plate it the same way you would rice. Today I’ll be eating quinoa with grilled chicken and red beans. Because it’s packed with protein, it’s the perfect food to hold you over throughout a long day.
Studies show that the monounsaturated fatty acids found in the fruit help melt fat. A little ironic, fat that burns fat. If you have trouble incorporating this super-food into your diet, try substituting it for mayo on your bread. Dice half an avocado and spread on two slices of bread (preferable whole grain). It’s great on toast for breakfast!
Yes, this large source of beta-carotene is used for more than just carving! After the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, the nutrients help with the growth of skin cells. “This, in turn, helps keep skin soft, smooth and wrinkle-free,” says Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of The Beauty Diet. A half cup of cooked pumpkin packs nearly 400% of your daily value for vitamin A. I like to slice the pumpkin up, and grill it. It’s a perfect side to any meal!
Last but not least, a personal favorite. Red wine is recommended through the Mediterranean diet—a lifestyle known to help lower cholesterol, sustain healthy blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy heart. Australian researchers studied the diets of over 1,000 adults and they discovered that those who sipped a half glass of red wine a day reduced the rate of actinic keratosis (skin lesions) by 28%, according to Prevention. “It has become a top source with anti-tumor properties, and of resveratrol, an antioxidant compound,” said Jessica Girdwain, at Prevention magazine. Pop open your favorite bottle of cabernets, but as always, drink responsibly.