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Who Wants A Time-defying diet: Part 2


Monday, January 19th, 2009 Who Wants A Time-defying diet: Part 2

As previously indicated in ‘Who wants a time-defying diet part 1, there are certain key nutrients that are fundamental for maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails. According to Bobbi Brown of the Times (11 01 09) we should think of these as our beauty vitamins.

In terms of their qualities, vitamin A is classed as an antioxidant essential for the growth and renewal of skin cells. It is found in foods such as egg yolks and dairy products. Vitamin B increases the fatty acids in our skin, thus promoting firmness and a readiness to exfoliate.

Vitamin B is obtained from food sources such Yeast, eggs, liver and vegetables Vitamin C is the building block of collagen, the protein that gives skin its structure, tone and elasticity. It can be found in citrus fruit, broccoli, peppers, berries and tomatoes.

Vitamin D is essential for the development of healthy skin cells and can be found in egg yolks, salmon, fortified milk and other dairy products.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps build and maintain skin tissue. Wheat germ, leafy greens, nuts and whole grains all contain Vitamin E.

Equal consideration needs to be given to the fact that fat is also important for skin nutrition (and for the health of the whole body). It is necessary for supple skin and soft, shiny hair, so incorporate unsaturated fats, such as the monounsaturated varieties found in olive oil and avocado, with the omega-3 fats found in fatty fish and some seeds, into your daily diet.

Notably our bodies consist of 80% water, without the necessary hydration, the skin cells become dry and flaky. Thus it is important to eat food with a high content of water ie fruit, vegetables and soups, and drink at least eight glasses of water a day. It is also very important to restrict your daily intake of caffeine as it is a diuretic, which remove fluid from the body, blocking absorption.

Some Ideas to eat:

Tropical fruit salad: Serves 4.

1 large pomegranate; 1 ripe mango; 2 passion fruit; 1 ripe papaya; 1 orange

Cut the pomegranate in half and remove the seeds and any juice to a large mixing bowl. Carefully peel away and discard the yellow membrane so that you are left only with the seeds.

Peel the mango and cut into four segments around the stone. Dice each segment and place in the bowl with the passion-fruit pulp and seeds. Peel, halve and seed the papaya. Dice and mix into the mango.

Finally, using a sharp knife, cut away the pith and peel of the orange. Holding the orange over a bowl to catch the juice, cut away each segment so that they drop into the bowl, leaving behind the fibrous casing. Squeeze any excess juice from the casing into the bowl. I find this sweet enough, but you could add a tiny amount of fructose. Cover and chill until needed.

This is a great weekend breakfast and can be served with low-fat yoghurt or fromage frais.

If you really suffer from the munchies at tea time, go natural with a few organic carrot sticks, a little bunch of grapes or an orange. Later in the year, you can indulge in apricots, peaches and nectarines.

Home-made oat cakes are really good if you’re craving something slightly salty, filling and not too calorific.

A home-made fruit cake is also good. Try bara brith, made with malted flour, and packed with currants, sultanas and raisins macerated in tea — yet it contains no fat other than an egg.

Alternative Lunches:

Go Scandinavian with open rye-bread sandwiches. Try topping with smoked trout, beetroot and low-fat crème fraîche mixed with grated fresh horseradish (available in jars). Or try watercress, topped by chopped egg mixed with a dash of mayonnaise, and some chopped dill.

Fill up on crunchy, munchy salads such as red cabbage mixed with shredded carrot, spring onions, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, dressed in soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and a hint of honey; or cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms and crispy lean bacon tossed in a garlic-mustard vinaigrette.

Alternative suppers:

Oily fish such as mackerel or herring fillets tastes wonderful lightly salted for 40 minutes then grilled and served with lemon, a dark leafy salad and potatoes tossed hot in a mustard vinaigrette.

For an instant supper, sear chunks of chicken breast, remove from the pan, then cook onion and garlic in olive oil, before adding smoked paprika, chopped tomatoes and drained chickpeas. Simmer until tasty, then add the chicken and cook until tender. Serve with saffron rice.

Make a ratatouille by sautéing shallots, garlic, cumin and cinnamon, followed by aubergines, peppers and courgettes; simmer with chopped tomatoes, lemon zest and parsley. Serve with bread.

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