Healthy food

Best health and beauty boosting foods

Lynne Michelle

Avocado

Good for: youthful skin

Avocado may be naturally high in fat, but most of it is the healthy, monounsaturated type which is essential for plump, youthful skin and actually helps neutralise bad fat in other foods, meaning it could help you lose weight. Avocado lowers bad cholesterol and is a good source of potassium, which helps the body flush out toxins. It also contains the most potent anti-ageing combination – vitamins E and C – which mop up ageing free radicals and de-clog arteries.

Brazil nuts

Good for: hair, nails and skin

These nuts are a great source of selenium, which improves the condition of your hair and nails, and boosts skin elasticity. Selenium also wards off opportunistic infections, keeps the muscles in your heart healthy and even helps with acne. Brazils also contain a good amount of zinc, which reduces ageing skin inflammation and eases dry skin problems like eczema and psoriasis, which leave the skin more vulnerable to wrinkling.

Broccoli

Good for: the heart

As well as being packed with antioxidants, this veg provides heaps of beta-carotene which protects against cancer and disease. It’s also rich in folate, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Broccoli is high in fibre which is vital for cutting the risk of bowel cancer, digestive disorders and heart disease.

Cabbage

Good for: anti-cancer

It may have been the most dreaded vegetable at school dinner time, but it contains amazing anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. Studies have shown that people who eat cabbage once a week compared to once a month slash their colon cancer risk by a third.

Berries

Good for: supple skin

Blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cranberries all help the body make collagen, the protein needed to keep skin supple, smooth and healthy. Blackcurrants in particular protect against UV skin damage and reduce the ageing effect of sunburn by neutralising free radicals. Cranberries and blueberries both help protect against cystitis by stopping harmful bacteria sticking to the urinary tract.

Oily fish

Good for: anti-heart disease, anti-diabetes, anti-wrinkles

Oily fish is the best source of omega 3, an essential fatty acid which the body can’t manufacture on its own. Omega 3 has been found to protect against heart disease, adult-onset diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. This fat also reduces skin dryness and improves elasticity, which means wrinkles are less likely to appear. Celebs like Kim Cattrall follow a salmon-based anti-ageing plan – the Perricone Plan – which lifts and smooths skin in three days. If the recent pollution scares have put you off, tuna, swordfish, anchovy, herring, mackerel and sardines are good omega 3 sources.

Grapes

Good for: preventing saggy skin

Red and black grapes contain 20 known antioxidants that work together to fend off the free radical attacks that lead to wrinkly skin and disease. These antioxidants are concentrated in the skin, so always buy the most colourful grapes you can find. All grapes contain compounds that strengthen the capillaries and protect against thread veins and skin sagging.

Carrots

Good for: anti-cholesterol, protects skin from sun damage

The bunny’s fave is high in anti-ageing vitamin C and a good source of dietary fibre. One study showed eating two carrots a day lowered bad cholesterol by 10%. Cook the veg to release nutrients from the tough cell structure and you’ll get heaps of beta-carotene. Research has shown people with low levels of beta-carotene in their blood are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes and certain cancers. This nutrient also protects against the sun’s rays. One study found taking carotenoids equivalent to two large carrots a day gives a natural SPF of 2-4 in light-skinned people.

Citrus fruit

Good for: fighting infection

The orange has been described as ‘the complete package of natural anti- cancer nutrients’. It’s an excellent source of collagen-building vitamin C and helps maintain the body’s defences against bacterial infection. The other wonder citrus fruit is grapefruit, which has a unique type of fibre proven to dramatically reduce cholesterol and help prevent arteries clogging up.

Onions and garlic

Good for: warding off colds

They might give you bad breath, but they help prevent cancer, boost good (HDL) cholesterol and thin your blood, discouraging the formation of clots. They also have antibacterial and anti- inflammatory properties that ward off colds and flu. Inflammation is also thought to be one of the main causes of premature skin ageing.

Tomatoes

Good for: reducing risk of cancer

Toms are the richest source of lycopene, which forms the red pigment in the flesh. As well as repairing the DNA damage that can lead to crinkly old skin, recent research suggests lycopene may also help to preserve mental and physical function among older people and reduce the risk of breast, prostate, pancreatic and cervical cancer.

Five ways to get the best from your food

1. Eat vegetables or fruits raw or slightly cooked to retain goodness.

2. Buy the best quality and freshest ingredients you can.

3. Don’t store fresh food for too long, as the nutritional value decreases over time.

4. Boiled vegetables can lose up to 70% of their water-soluble vitamins, so steam your veg or use as little water as possible and try using the cooking water for making soups.

5. Braise or stew lean meat, root veg and pulses as most of the nutrients will be retained in the meal.

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~ by tuscanystone on November 10, 2008.

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