Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category

Tea, The Great Brain Booster

I’ve always enjoyed drinking tea.   Tea is definitely stimulating, of course.  But I never feel wired from it, like I do if I drink coffee. Somehow, it seems more complex and relaxing than coffee. I’ve never quite known what to call it. Today’s Science News calls the effect from tea “wakeful relaxation.” Yes!  That’s exactly how I feel – more awake and more relaxed at the same time. Perfect.

It turns out tea has more in it for boosting your brain than just caffeine…

Tea, which people worldwide drink more of than any other beverage except water, is a major dietary source of caffeine. Unlike coffee, it contains another potentially powerful ingredient for brain activity: L-theanine, an amino acid that can alter alpha brain wave rhythms, inducing wakeful relaxation. Science News

Tea has been found to increase executive function, which is defined as “the ability to perform complex tasks that rely on planning or decision making.” That’s quite a bonus for a drink that’s just packed with health and beauty benefits.

You can read about other ways to boost your brain in the Science News post. I’ve decided to put the kettle on.

Cook With Coconut Oil And Lose Weight

Coconut oil can help you to lose weight.  Studies have shown these weight loss benefits of cooking with coconut oil…

  • When you eat coconut oil, your metabolic rate gets a boost for 24 hours, so you burn more calories even while you are sleeping. That’s huge in the weight loss department.
  • You get instant energy when you eat it. Unlike vegetable oils and other fats, coconut oil is converted right away into energy just like when you eat carbs – except it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. So you get energy without the come-down. People find it helps with sugar cravings and hypoglycemic symptoms that cause them to eat carbs and go up and down on the blood sugar roller-coaster.
  • Coconut oil supports thyroid activity, while vegetable oils suppress it. You’re more likely to be active if your thyroid is ticking along nicely.
  • Coconut oil has fewer calories per gram than vegetable oils.

The trick is to use coconut oil in your cooking. Research has shown it really helps people to lose weight. And that’s just one of the health benefits of coconut oil. If inspiration strikes, here’s a recipe for amazing, 5-minute chocolate coconut macaroons (just for special occasions if your goal is to lose weight).

Meanwhile, if you want to keep cooking with your favorite vegetable oil, I encourage you to use cold pressed oil.

Eat Chocolate, It’s Good For Your Heart

Last week, I asked Is Chocolate Your Language Of Love? A report in today’s Science Daily takes our heart relationship with chocolate to a whole other level – and it’s all good.

It turns out chocolate’s main ingredient, cocoa, boosts production of HDL, the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart disease.

Credit for those heart-healthy effects goes to a cadre of antioxidant compounds in cocoa called polyphenols, which are particularly abundant in dark chocolate. Until now, however, nobody knew exactly how the polyphenols in cocoa orchestrated those beneficial effects. Science Daily

Gotta love that chocolate!

Is “Eating Yourself Beautiful” The Next Celebrity Trend?

It’s always good to see the connection being made between diet and beauty.

Stunning Pan-Asian restaurant Gilgamesh has therefore created an entire ‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’ menu dedicated to improving not only your health, but your appearance. An example of dishes that will be on the menu include Collagen Inside Out Dumpling or Collagen Bento Box of Chargrilled Salmon, Black Sushi Rice, Mixed Leaves, Tomato & Onion Dressing and Collagen Goji Berry Sorbet, Sugarless Milk Ice. All of the dishes on the à la carte menu contain edible collagen which has been claimed to improve one’s skin and health.  The Handbook

Of course, there is no need to go to exotic restaurants and pay their prices to get food that is great for your body and your skin.  Take a look at these beauty foods, for instance. They can all be incorporated easily  into your diet, and they don’t take any extra time to prepare.

Is Chocolate Your Language Of Love?

No need to worry about eating chocolate from time to time.  I just love it.  There was a time when it was blamed for skin eruptions and was said to be not so healthy, but we’ve learned better.

The Essential U has this, and a whole lot more, to say today about chocolate…

I believe that there is one Universal and International truth: chocolate is pure heaven for women and just another food for most men. You can watch a woman melt into the experience of a piece of chocolate. Her shoulders relax and her eyes roll back and close, as she fully experiences her chocolate with a smile from ear to ear. It is like the world vanishes and peace engulfs the woman. I have watched stress, hurt, frustration and worry dissolve from the very frame of woman when she bites into a piece of chocolate. On the other hand watching a man eat chocolate is a disgrace. They chew the divine chocolate as if they do not even notice that heaven itself has brought them this gift.

To find out how good chocolate can be for us, read the rest of the post at Essential U.

Don’t Overcook Your Broccoli

A study at the University of Illinois found that the anti-cancer properties of broccoli can be compromised if you overcook it.

“Broccoli, prepared correctly, is an extremely potent cancer-fighting agent — three to five servings a week are enough to have an effect. To get broccoli’s benefits, though, the enzyme myrosinase has to be present; if it’s not there, sulforaphane, broccoli’s cancer-preventive and anti-inflammatory component, doesn’t form,” said Elizabeth Jeffery, a U of I professor of nutrition.

Science Daily

It turns out myrosinase is destroyed by overcooked.  So what’s the ideal way to cook your broccoli?

Steaming for 2 to 4 minutes seems to be ideal.  Oh, and even better – eat broccoli sprouts.  I get mine from the Farmers’ Market every week.

Home Remedies For Glowing Skin

I really enjoy the Indian Makeup and Beauty Blog. It is full of excellent ideas and advice. Today’s post has 10 tips on how to create glowing skin. They are all good!

Starting with almonds, Soak 5 almonds in water over night. Peel them in the morning and eat them. Don’t worry if you forgot to soak them, just eat them as it is. You will see a difference in a week’s time. Almonds are natural source of Vitamin E. They help in improving complexion by bringing a nice glow and natural shine to skin making it soft. It is a natural antioxidant too. It also helps in digestion and even reduces cholesterol. Being a good source of protein it helps in improving the texture of your hair.

You can read more at the Indian Makeup and Beauty Blog.

Olive Oil Protects Against Depression, But Trans-fats Can Make You Blue

Who wants to be depressed?  Turns out trans-fats can get you there.  But olive oil moves us in the other direction.

Researchers from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have demonstrated that the ingestion of trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of suffering depression, and that olive oil, on the other hand, protects against this mental illness.  Science Daily

I’ve already written about the beauty and anti-aging benefits of olive oil.  But how about some extra virgin olive oil to lift your mood?

You Can Get A Better-Looking Tan With Food, Study Shows

You can get a more attractive glow from the right foods than you can from sun bathing, according to a study by Dr. Ian Stephen at the University of Nottingham in the UK .

The study found that peo­ple who ate a lot of fruit and veg­eta­bles per day have a more golden skin tone, due to the carotenoids in the food. Carotenoids are antiox­i­dants that are respon­si­ble for the red, orange, green, and yel­low col­or­ing in fruit and veg­eta­bles. “We found that, given the choice between skin colour caused by sun­tan and skin colour caused by carotenoids, peo­ple pre­ferred the carotenoid skin colour, so if you want a health­ier and more attrac­tive skin colour, you are bet­ter off eat­ing a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg­eta­bles than lying in the sun.” said Dr. Stephen.

Get a Healthy Tan with Food

Left: a nat­ural sun­tan, Mid­dle: nat­ural pale color, Right: carotenoid tan color

This is reported in an excellent post in the Epic Beauty Guide that lists all the details you need about how to incorporate more carotinoids into your diet, including acne-safe options.  Well worth checking out.

How To Tell If You Are Eating Your Beauty Food

A good way to see what to eat for beauty is by looking at what manufacturers put into cosmetic and skincare products.

They just love to tell us about the vitamins they have added,  or the antioxidants, or the omega-3 oils, or the minerals.  It’s as if these are exotic ingredients they have  just discovered.  For instance, Dr. Perricone’s  Concentrated Restorative Treatment  “is formulated with high levels of Vitamin C”  and his Face Finishing Moisturizer is “formulated with powerful antioxidants.”

Vitamins and antioxidants are found in abundance in everyday foods, of course.  But somehow, they become glamorous (and  costly) when they are included in skincare products.

One of my favorite beauty foods is cabbage. Nothing particularly glamorous about cabbage, I agree, but it is packed with skin-friendly goodies at a fraction the cost we pay for the same things in skincare formulations. Green leafy vegetables, brightly colored vegetables, and tea, especially white tea and green tea, are all similarly packed with antioxidants known to improve the condition of the skin – whether we eat or drink them, or put them directly onto our skin.

The same goes for olive oil and fish oils. Take sardines, for instance, another humble food, but one that is rich with omega-3 oils vital for healthy, glowing skin. Beans (high in zinc) and eggs, garlic and onions (high in sulfur) all deliver specific benefits for the skin at a fraction the cost of the same ingredients when present in the tiny quantities provided in specially-formulated skincare products.

The foods that are good for our beauty — fresh fruits, a variety of vegetables, oily fish like sardines and salmon, plus staples like beans and eggs — are also basic to being healthy and having abundant energy. There is nothing surprising about that.

The skin has the same needs as the rest of the organs of the body. It needs to be protected from free radicals and inflammation, and to be provided the basic building blocks that enable it to create new, healthy cells.

The rest of the body is nourished via the mouth. The skin can be nourished in just the same way.  Once the nutrition is in place, we have a program that builds healthy, beautiful skin from the inside. We then need only simple care for our skin – a good cleanser, moisturizer, toner, and exfoliant are all that it takes.

Simple Care, Luminous Skin