Tag Archives: Diet

Beauty is Skin Deep

beauty is skin deepThe face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. Saint Jerome (church father & saint). Indeed… But not only the mirror of mind, face is a mirror of our nutritional status also. Our skin, hair, nails show the correct picture of our internal body. So to keep this picture beautiful it is important to take good overall care of ourselves. This care includes taking a well balanced diet (for beauty from within) along with a regular skin and hair care regime.

There are certain nutrients which can be rightly termed as beauty nutrients and are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.

Vitamin A

Helps in preventing acne and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin A along with adequate protein intake is helpful in keeping the hair healthy. Look for yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (carrot, papaya, tomato, bell peppers, mango, apricots, etc.), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, fenugreek), liver, eggs, dairy products and fish liver oil for food sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin C
Fights wrinkles and helps the body produce and maintain collagen which in turn maintains elasticity of skin and prevents sagging. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits (lemon, orange), guava, grapefruit, melons, cherries, kiwi, strawberries, gooseberries (amla), red and green peppers, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes to name a few.

Zinc
Works with vitamin C to make collagen and supports the action of vitamin A. Also nails and hair contain zinc. Zinc is found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, oat flour, oysters (shellfish), lean red meat, brewer’s yeast, Eggs, Legumes, Mushrooms, Spinach.

Vitamin E
Helps the body in retaining moisture and can prevent damage due to sun and thus prevents premature aging. Sources: Cold-pressed wheat germ oil and safflower oil, Whole grains, Wheat germ, Milk, Asparagus, Broccoli, Egg yolk, Leafy greens, Liver, Olives, Soybeans, Sunflower seeds, Nuts, Vegetable oils.

Selenium

This mineral helps with dry skin of scalp (which we commonly know as dandruff) and enhances vitamin E absorption. Selenium is found in garlic, onions, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, Asparagus, Bran, Broccoli, Chicken, Egg yolk, Milk, Seafood, Tomato, Whole grains.

Proteins

Hair, nails and skin are made up of protein. If you have brittle nails, poor skin and hair that breaks easily, it may be because you don’t include enough protein in your diet. Protein-rich foods are an excellent source of biotin, which is a B-complex vitamin and is essential for healthy nails. Some other dietary sources of biotin include egg yolk, soy bean flour, milk and peanut butter. Sources of protein: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, oilseeds, pulses, legumes and wheat germ.

Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in keeping the skin hydrated, nails glossier and more flexible, and help hair retain moisture. Flaxseeds, salmon are the best sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

B-Complex Vitamins

A deficiency of these vitamins can result in various skin problems and hair loss. B complex vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods like whole grain cereals, pulses, fruits like bananas, green vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and meats including turkey and liver.

Water

Drinking plenty of water transports nutrients to skin cells, and keeps them nourished. Having lime water, coconut water, fresh fruit juices, soups, buttermilk or green tea also provides necessary liquid content to the body. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and other fizzy drinks as a fluid source.

Include all these beauty nutrients in your daily diet and observe the transformation unfold before your eyes.

Image Courtesy: Stuart Miles

Pack Nutrition for Lunch

pack nutrition for lunchDo you suffer with the agony of failing again and again to tantalize the taste buds of your little one? Is it one of your most cherished dreams to see a meal well finished by your child? Don’t worry. Though it seems difficult to keep your child interested as well as nourished with the right things; a little imagination and culinary know-how can do the needful for you.

Nutrition is of utmost importance all through the growing years because of various changes taking place in the child’s body. Food and feeding are especially important during this phase of life, not only to support growth, but as the basis of life-long, food related habits and attitudes. Appetite and nutritional needs vary with age, activity and rate of growth.

Half of the day of a child is spent in school thus packed lunch should ensure a wholesome, attractive and appetizing meal which should be able to meet 1/4th of the daily requirement of nutrients. Coming up with new packed lunch ideas for kids can be a difficult task and even so if you are a busy parent but still want your child to eat nutritiously. Try the following pointers… they might work for you as they do for my friends.

Preparation times are fun times: One way to get your kids interested in what they eat is to get them involved in the making process. After putting their efforts they will be curious to taste the results and you will be able to spend more time with them.

Fingers over spoon: Kids love finger foods (foods which do not need the use of spoon or fork). So by converting the same food into finger foods can be fun and interesting for them. This can be done by preparing small sized versions of original menus.

Savoury ideas: Stuffed roti wraps, mini burgers (with hummus and mix veg tikki), vegetable rava idli, baked veg cutlets / kebabs, whole wheat pasta prepared as salads, brown bread pizza, can be added to packed lunch menu ideas once or twice a week to add variety. You can also use different spreads while making sandwiches to add variety. Create a quick sandwich spread by blending together fresh cream, finely chopped or grated vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

Sweet ideas: Children have a renowned sweet tooth. Small fruits like grapes, strawberries, peach, plum, cherries or yoghurts are ideal for a sugar boost. Sometimes cupcakes or biscuits can be added to break the monotony.

Beverages: the availability of spill proof bottles allows us to add beverages to the school lunch options. Beverages like lemonade, fruit punch, mango panna, etc. can be sent along with lunch in summer months. These will ensure the intake of fluids and prevent dehydration from setting in.

Include these foods: School lunch should be a combination of cereals, pulses / dairy / flesh foods (if permitted at school), fruits / vegetables. These foods ensure a write mix of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

By making these small alterations a balance can be reached between taste and nutrition in those precious little lunch boxes.

Image Courtesy: Little food junction