Dec 24th, 2016
Author: Cocoon Web Design
Five of the Healthiest Winter Foods
(reference: eating well.com)
- Pomegranates: are rich antioxidants, and just a cup of pomegranate juice daily might help to keep free radicals from oxidizing “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, according to a preliminary study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Oxidized LDL contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Another study showed that drinking pomegranate juice might improve blood flow to the heart in people with myocardial ischemia, a serious condition in which the heart’s oxygen supply is compromised because the arteries leading to it are blocked.
- Dark Leafy Greens: such as kale, chard and collards, thrive in the chill of winter when the rest of the produce section looks bleak. In fact, a frost can actually take away the bitterness of kale. These greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Collards, mustard greens and escarole are also excellent sources of folate, important for women of childbearing age.
- Citrus fruits: including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit, are at their juiciest in the wintertime. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C; one medium orange delivers more than 100 percent of your daily dose, as well as flavonoids. The predominant flavonoid in these fruits—hesperidin—is credited with boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
For healthy skin, eat Pink Grapefruit in particular. It gets its pink-red hue from lycopene, a carotenoid that may help to keep your skin smooth. In a study published in 2008 in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, researchers found that of the 20 individuals studied, those who had higher skin concentrations of lycopene had smoother skin. You can also get lycopene from tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, guava and red peppers.
- Potatoes: sometimes get a bad rap for being a white starch, thrown into the same category as white rice or white bread. But unlike those other starches, which have been stripped of healthful nutrients, potatoes are a whole food that contain several beneficial nutrients. They are an excellent source of two immunity boosters—vitamins C and B6, delivering one-quarter of your daily needs per medium potato. They are also a good source of folate and deliver 4 grams of fiber per medium-sized potato. If you can find purple potatoes, you’ll get an added health boon—they are rich in anthocyanins—antioxidants that are linked to a host of health benefits, from lowering cancer and heart disease risk to suppressing inflammation.
- Winter Squash: There are many varieties—including butternut, acorn, delicata and spaghetti squash. One cup of cooked winter squash has few calories (around 80) but is high in both vitamin A (twice the recommended daily value) and vitamin C (33 percent), as well as being a good source of vitamins B6 and K, potassium and folate.
Additional Items for Healthy Skin in Winter: (reference: eating well.com)
- Coffee/Tea: Drinking a single cup of coffee daily may lower your risk of developing skin cancer. In one study of more than 93,000 women, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee a day reduced their risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. [Decaf did not seem to offer the same protection.] Research suggests caffeine kills precancerous and ultraviolet-damaged skin cells by blocking a protein that they need to divide, explains Paul Nghiem, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of Washington Medical School. In a study where mice were exposed to harmful sunburn-causing ultraviolet B rays caffeine inhibited the formation of skin tumors.
2: Cocoa: (and red wine) contain a type of flavonoid called epicatechin. In a study of 24 women, published in the Journal of Nutrition, drinking an epicatechin-rich cocoa beverage daily for 12 weeks improved skin texture. The authors explained that epicatechin increased blood flow to the skin, boosting nutrient and oxygen supply—both factors essential for keeping skin healthy.
- Edamame/Soymilk/Tofu: Both are rich in isoflavones, which act like antioxidants, scavenging for and mopping up harmful free radicals caused by sun exposure. Isoflavones may also help to preserve skin-firming collagen—which begins to decline starting in our twenties. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, mice fed isoflavones and exposed to ultraviolet radiation had fewer wrinkles and smoother skin than mice that were exposed to UV light but did not get isoflavones. The researchers believe that isoflavones help prevent collagen breakdown.
- Egg Yolk: contains the carotenoid lutein, which like lycopene protects skin from UV damage. Lutein also helps to keep eyes healthy—mounting research links lutein with reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.
- Carrots/Pumpkin: contain the carotenoids beta carotene and lycopene—both of which may shield your skin against UV damage. In one study, participants who were exposed to UV light had almost 50 percent less skin reddening after they drank about 1 and 2⁄3 cups of carrot juice or ate 2 1⁄2 tablespoons of tomato paste daily, in addition to their regular diet, for 10 to 12 weeks. Beta carotene is also converted to vitamin A in the body, which helps to keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy.
- Tuna/Sardines: (and other omega-3-rich fish) may help keep your skin looking youthful and prevent skin cancer. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the omega-3 fats in fatty fish, has been shown to preserve collagen, a fibrous protein that keeps skin firm. And EPA in combination with the other omega-3 in fish, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), helps to prevent skin cancer by reducing inflammatory compounds that can promote tumor growth, says Homer S. Black, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the department of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Aim to eat two servings of fatty fish each week: not only are the omega-3s good for your skin, they’re good for your heart too. Sardines are also quick to reproduce and have rebounded since the Pacific fishery crashed in the 1940s, so much so they are one of Seafood Watch’s “Super Green” sustainable choices.
- Broccoli: may help to ward off wrinkles and age-related dryness, suggests research from 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin C’s skin-smoothing effects may be due to its ability to mop up free radicals produced from ultraviolet rays and also its role in synthesizing collagen, a fibrous protein that keeps skin firm.
- Spinach: boasts lutein, a carotenoid that protects your skin from UV damage. When buying spinach, pick the one right up in the light: new research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, reveals that spinach stored continuously under the light for as little as three days boasted higher levels of vitamin C and preserved levels of K, E, folate and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
If you would like some assistance on putting together recipes, nutrition information, and exercises for staying healthy in the winter, come into moreFIT and sit down with our Certified Personal Trainers and Fitness Nutritionists.