March is National Nutrition Month and I have vowed to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Its the minimum that most dietary guidelines recommend and I can certainly see why. Fruits and veggies are the source for anti-oxidants vitamin A, vitamin C, and then there is their all important fiber content. I was then stunned to read new study which found that vegetarians had more wrinkles than peple who ate everything. ???
How could that be? The NHANES study showed that higher vitamin C levels and lower fat intake was associated with firmer, younger looking skin. Vegetarians usually eat lots of nuts which are rich in linoleic acid and linoleic acid was also a key factor in fewer wrinkles. Drilling deeper into the topic, I wondered if vegetarians could have lower protein intake– and healthy protein levels were also crucial to fewer wrinkles in the NHANES study. And then there is the carbohydrate levels in vegetarian meal plans. NHANES found that higher carb levels in the diet was a particularly potent wrinkles maker. Vegetarian diets can get plenty of protein by combining grains and beans, but larger servings are needed to meet protein needs– as much as 11 servings of carbs a day. Protein can also be supplied by dairy, but unless its the low fat kind, fat levels can be higher than needed. All of these factors can be controlled with detailed planning, but its not easy. My cousin Nicole is a vegetarian and thinks that Caesar salad and french fries is a perfect vegetarian meal. On the other hand, a vegetarian classmate at NYU typically drinks a Kale smoothie for breakfast, has a soy yogurt for lunch and dives into a huge bowl of brown rice, sweet potato and steamed escarole for dinner. If you are vegetarian do you have strategies for balacing nutritional needs?