The Beauty of Bananas

 You see them everywhere.  On supermarket shelves,   near  a deli check-out and in cafeterias  everywhere, bananas are so common we tend to take them for granted.     Bannanas  just  don’t get the love they deserve.   One medium  banana  has  about 100 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and  what  surprised me, zero grams of fat.  One nana  does clock in at 23 grams of carbs,  about twice  in an average fruit.  Bananas  are lower in water than  other fruits which  concentrates  the carb content.

But what elevates  bananas to nutruitional  superstars  is the potassium payload– almost 400 mg  per serrving.   Potassium is essential for regulating heart rate and blodd pressure.  Age, exercise and  and some medications  can deplete  potassium leading to irregular heart beats , increased blood pressure,  and even stroke. Keep in mind that any … Continue Reading…

The Beauty of Butternut Squash

The yellow and rust colors of fall  have  made me hungry  for the sweet, fleshy meat of  winter squash.  Butternut, crook neck, turban and acorn  are shaped differently  but offer very similar  nutritional payloads.  The deep orange color is packed, I mean packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene.   One half cup of  cooked squash   can have 100-200% of  the RDA for  this essential  vitamin as well as 25% of the RDA of vitamin C.  Fat free and salt free, one half cup has 120 calories and 12 grams of carbs.   By comparison, the same amount of a white potato has about 60 calories  and the same amount of carbs.

Given the slightly stringy/gritty texture of winter squash I expected squash to  be a good source of fiber.  I was wrong.  In fact … Continue Reading…

Diet for Beauty– Day One

Its  hard to open up a health or beauty magazine without an article that links diet and beautiful skin.  While its certainly a no-brainer that what we eat affects how we look I want substantive claims that directly link good nutrition  to smooth younger looking skin.   

Some of the best evidence comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, aka  the NHANES study.  This  long ( ten year), large  (17K  men and women) study  compared daily food intake with a wide range of health issues including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  But what makes this a must  keep study for me is the relationship they studied between diet and wrinkles.  To bottom line it, the NHANES found that  people on diets  high in protein, fiber, vitamin C, linoleic acid and … Continue Reading…

The Beauty of Artichokes

With spring just weeks away, the vegestable stands are piled high with perfect green artichokes.  These round petaled beauties are one  of the oldest cultivated vegetables.  For centuries most Europeans viewed green foods as poisonous but arichokes were already popular in 15th century Italy and France. In the 19th century,  European immigrants brought them to Northern California  where they flourished in the cool, foggy climate.

I love artichokes and was delighted to learn   they are nutritional superstars.  Rich in vitamin C ( the anti-wrinkle vitamin) folacin, and magnesium, a big beautiful artichoke has just 60 calories.  But   their real  payload is fiber with  one whole artichoke clocking in at 6.5 grams of fiber at  just 60 calories.  Awesome!  By comparison, 1/2 cup of cooked beans has more than  triple  the calories ( 150) for … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Diet– Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a close second behind cranberries as an iconic holiday food.  While the plain white  potato is a high carb time bomb, sweet potatoes are packed with  nutrition.  They are actually related to morning glory flowers rather than the true potato.  Sweets have  as much fiber as  famous – for- fiber oatmeal and about 30%RDA  of vitamin C.  For only about 120 calories, 1 cup of sweet potatoes  has 500%  RDA  for vitamin A.  This is almost scary high  since too much vitamin A can cause bone and nerve problems.  But unless some fool invents the sweet potato  diet,  one or two sweets/week will not cause a problem.

The real dangers with  these orange beauties are the extra ingredients that are commonly added.  Top of that list is … Continue Reading…

Walnuts- The Anti-Aging Nuts

I have to admit that when I think of walnuts, I think of chocolate chip cookies, apple crumb pie and fudgy brownies studded with nuts.  But all by themselves, walnuts turn out to be a great beauty food.  They are high in linoleic acid and fiber– two factors linked to fewer wrinkles.  In addition they are high in antioxidants and low in saturated fats.  Studies have shown that walnuts lower both cholesterol and C-reactive protein which are two markers for heart disease. All good, but keep in mind that like its other nut cousins, walnuts are pretty high in calories clocking in at almost 400 calories/half cup.

Instead of thinking of walnuts as a baked goods best friend, I now sprinkle walnuts  over a green salad, a bowl of … Continue Reading…

Its Vegetarian Awareness Month !

While most skin care experts I know are concerned that a strict vegan diet  is too low in  protein for the body’s growth and repair, a vegetarian  diet with eggs and dairy products  can be an express train for great health and beautiful skin.  But not all vegetables are equal and  during Vegetarian Awareness Month, I want to  look at  the best choices–  and its the perfect season to do it.  The  markets are bursting with a beautiful harvest in gorgeous colors.  Turns out that the deeper jewel colored fruits and veggies  like blueberrries, figs and eggplant are rich is an awesomely powerful class of antioxidants called anthocyanidins.

Anthocyanidins are found in fruits and vegetables with deep red, blue, and purple colors. Not only do they protect  the body from the effect of free-radicals, laboratory studies  … Continue Reading…

The Anti-Aging Diet–Pears

Yesterday  was the first day of fall– and nothing says fall like a ripe juicy pear.  These  beauties  provide hydration and if you eat the skin, a nice serving of both fiber and vitamin C.  In fact one  pear provide 4 grams of fiber at the cost of  just 95 calories.  By comparison 1/2 cup of cooked beans ( famous for their fiber) have 6 grams of fiber at 150 calories.

All pears eg Anjou, Bosc, Bartlett, and Comice share the same nutritional profiles.  Most of the nutritional payload in pears is  in the skin,  so canned and cooked pears don’t have the same anti-aging benefits.

Selecting the perfect pear can be a bit challenging.  A ripe  pear is very fragile so they are always  taken off the tree when … Continue Reading…