Skin Boosting Avocados

The Avocado is technically a fruit as it contains a seed. This unusual looking fruit  is native to Peru/Central America and is rather unique because half of its weight is made up of its natural oil. This glorious bright green oil is “monounsaturated” which means it is one of the “good” fats and beneficial to our bodies –  it has the potential to lower bad cholesterol.

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The ORAC Score

ORAC is an acronym for “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity“, and is a way to measure different foods antioxidants. Foods with high ORAC values are more desirable for their ability to neutralize Free Radicals, so will greatly inhibit the cell damage that is done by Free Radicals.

The ORAC Score is a Valuable Tool in Nutritional Science

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Know Your Onions!

Onions are a true Superfood and we should try to include some in our everyday diet. Onions, Shallots, Chives, Leeks and Garlic belong to the “Alium” family and contain some potent properties reputed to cleanse your system and have unique anti-bacterial properties. Onions also contain naturally occuring antiseptic oils “Allyl Disulphate” and “Cycloallin”, research has found that Cycloallin helps the walls of blood vesssels dissolve clots that can form inside of them – this chemical is still found even after high temperatures, like frying.

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Super Seeds

Super Nutritious SeedsSeeds are a pretty amazing source of concentrated energy, so don’t be fooled by how small they are! Seeds are the life source of plants and absolutely bursting with nutrients, including protein so great for vegetarians. They are also packed with Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamins ( lots of skin friendly Vitamin E) and bursting with and Minerals.

The variety of seeds available can be eaten raw, delicious toasted, sprinkled on salads and porridge or just eaten by the handful, we should aim to have one handful (our own size hand!) a day of a mix of nuts and seeds. Try my Trail Mix for a variety of seeds, nuts and superfruits for healthy snacking.

The Most Nutritious Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds – Rich in protein, iron, zinc and phosphorous, these dark green seeds are delicious raw or cooked in both sweet or savoury dishes, I add a handful to my homemade Spelt bread. I have recently discovered Pumkin Seed Butter, which is an alternative to nut butters and is delicious and rich in Omega 3. Apparently Pumkin Seeds can improve your sex drive! especially for men, due to the high Zinc levels.

Sunflower Seeds – A particularly good skin food as they are very high in Protein. Also rich in skin friendly antioxidant Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Essential Fatty Acids and Fibre. Sunflower seeds can be eaten raw or cooked, added to breads and flapjacks, sprinkled over cereals, porridge and salads, also include in a Trail Mix, a delicious and nutritious snack.

Sesame Seeds – A good source of protein and high in Calcium, often used for oriental cooking, but you can eat the whole seeds either in breads, sprinkled onto salads or used in almost any way you like. Sesame Seeds are very tiny but contain plenty of skin loving Vitamin E and Lecithin, which is a substance that helps lock moisture into the skin and  improve dry skin whilst preventing premature ageing.

Dr Weil’s Food Pyramid

Dr Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food PyramidDr Andrew Weil is a health and ageing expert, he has developed a common sense eating guide that is Anti-Inflammatory and therefore anti-ageing.

 The Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid is a practical eating guide for people of all ages to follow, to stay healthy and reduce the risk of age related diseases. You will also look better and have more energy!

“Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help counteract the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of many serious diseases, including those that become more frequent as people age. It is a way of selecting and preparing foods based on science that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.” 

 Quote by Dr Weil – visit his website  and view the full Food Pyramid – print it out and don’t forget it!

 

Healthy Bean Burgers

Beans are an excellent source of protein and these tasty, spicy Bean Burgers help beat the winter chill and aid detoxification, they make a lovely wholesome protein packed lunch or dinner. We should all aim for a handful of skin boosting protein at each meal, remember that protein provides the building blocks for our skin!

Beautiful Beans are choc full of protein and a good source of minerals, B Vitamins and fibre, which are all vital for clear, strong healthy skin.

This is my recipe that has evolved over a few years of experimenting!

Makes 4 Burgers

Ingredients

1 Red Onion or 2 Shallots, finely chopped

Half a cup of finely grated Courgette and Carrot

2 cloves of Garlic, crushed

Half tsp Mild Chilli Powder

Half tsp Smoked Paprika

half tsp Cumin

One tsp Marigold Vegetable Bouillon Powder

1 can Organic Red Kidney Beans in water, drained and rinsed – or Borlotti Beans/Bean Mix

Half a tsp of English Mustard Powder

2 tsp Tamari Sauce

1 tbsp Tomato Puree

Either 1 egg beaten or half a cup of Quinoa – an option for Vegans

2 tbsp of Olive Oil for frying

  • On a gentle heat, sweat the onions for about 5 minutes in a little of the Olive Oil
  • Add the grated Courgette and Carrot, Garlic, Chilli Powder, Cumin, Bouillion Powder and Smoked Paprika and cook on a low heat for a further 5 minutes, then transfer the mixture to one side
  •  Roughly mash the Kidney Beans in a bowl
  • Add the mustard, tamari sauce and tomato puree to the beans and mix well
  • Stir into the bean mixture the spice and vegetable mix and add your beaten egg or Quinoa – mix well
  • Wet your hands and form the mixture into 4 burgers
  • Fry the burgers on a low to medium heat for around 5-7 minutes each side until golden brown

Serve with a wholemeal Pitta bread and salad, or homemade coleslaw. For a dinner serve with Sweet Potato Wedges and steamed Brocolli.

The Anti-Ageing Acai Berry

Acai BerryYou have probably heard much about the Acai Berry of late, but is it really a super berry or super hype? Well some recent medical studies have shown that Acai Berry has potent antioxidants that can be absorbed by the human body and have a very positive effect on our health.

The Acai Berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee)  is a small, round, dark purple berry, the size of a small grape. The Acai Berry grows in clusters on the Acai Palm Tree, and is native to tropical Central and South America. The prime commercial source of Acai Berry comes from the area where several rivers converge within the Amazon estuary. The people of Brazil refer to Acai as “The Milk of the Amazon“.

Harvesting the Acai Berry doesn’t harm the Rainforest (something that concerned me), in fact the Acai Palm Tree will continue to thrive once the berries are picked, and it is an incentive for the natives to preserve the tree.

For centuries, the people of the Amazon have loved this unique fruit for its health boosting properties and prized it as a source of health and vitality. It seems modern science is beginning to document the many beneficial properties of the Acai Berry. It has extraordinary antioxidant levels and nutrient content, and is becoming one of the world’s top superfoods.

Why is Acai Berry so good?

The Acai Berry contains concentrated levels of Anthocyanins – a powerful family of antioxidants that assist in neutralizing the harmful effects that Free Radicals have on the body. Acai has an ORAC score (a measurement of antioxidant power) higher than any other fruit and vegetable to date, in fact it has twice the antioxidants of Blueberries and 10 – 30 times the anthocyanins of Red Wine.

 Acai Berries are rich in …

  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients
  • Amino Acids
  • Vitamins
  • Trace Minerals
  • Omega fats – 3, 6 & 9

The Claimed health benefits of Acai Berry are….

  • Healthy and more Youthful Skin!
  • Slowing of the Ageing Process
  • Promotion of weight loss
  • Increased energy
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved eye sight
  • Improved circulation
  • Preventing age related degenerative diseases – it has shown anti-cancer activity in a cell culture model.

There is a lot of claims being made about Acai Berry, and it seems that medical research is proving many of them true. Acai Berry may not be the answer to all diseases, and is not the only Super Food to eat, but consumed regularly will boost your health as part of a well balanced diet and Anti-Ageing strategy. For more information read Amherst College’s special Acai Berry Report.

Super Berry with Acai

There are many Acai Berry Supplements available today, one of the best is Dr. Perricones Super Berry Powder with Acai. If you would rather drink the juice, then Monavie has a Premier Acai Berry Blend, which has recently launched in the UK –  I take an egg cup full of this juice everyday – it’s delicious.

Turmeric – Your Skin’s Friend

Turmeric Root and Turmeric PowderTurmeric is definitely one Age-Defying spice to add to your shopping list.

 This brilliant Yellow spice has been in culinary use for thousands of years and is what gives curries their characteristic bright Yellow colour. This amazing spice is derived from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant, which has a tough brown skin and deep orange flesh. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and contains potent Antioxidant Polyphenol substances called curcuminoids.

The Curcumin compound is a potent Anti-inflammatory Antioxidant, and extremely good for us and our skin. Try to include some Turmeric in your meals as part of an Anti-inflammatory diet and reap the benefits of this yellow skin friend…

The Benefits of Turmeric

  • Potent Antioxidant that prevents Free Radical formation and helps neutralise existing Free Radicals
  • May reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • It has anti-viral and anti-cancer effects
  • Helps lower bad cholesterol
  • Protects the Liver
  • Many say that it helps with joint pain and inflammation
  • Used in india’s Ayruvedic medicine as a stomach tonic and also for cuts, wounds, poor vision, rheumatic pains, coughs, liver disease
  • May improve Psoriasis and inflammatory skin conditions

My family laugh now when I cook something and it’s Yellow, again! It’s very easy to include Turmeric in your food, I am fond of roasting vegetables in Olive Oil with 1 teaspoon of Turmeric powder, then mix until everything is well coated. Roast potatoes are also very nice with  a coating of Turmeric, add a pinch to an egg salad for a rich Yellow colour and a nice taste, and of course curries! If anyone has any wonderful recipes with Turmeric then please share in the comments.

You can also use Turmeric in an in-expensive anti-inflammatory, hydrating face mask –  just mix a pinch with a little Yoghurt and leave on your face until dry – then rinse well.

Turmeric is also available in high strength supplements from good health shops.

Let’s Go Bananas!

BananaThe humble Banana is an interesting tropical fruit, and definitely one to add to your everyday diet to give you a significant energy boost. Bananas are rich in fibre, and contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose, it’s these that give you an instant, long-lasting boost of energy, they are also rich in many minerals and vitamins.

Energy isn’t the only bonus of eating a banana, research has shown them to prevent or overcome a number of common health complaints, making a “Banana a day” an essential part of your diet.

The Healing Powers of the Banana

Here are some of the ailments Bananas can help us out with………

  • Depression– According to a survey by MIND, among people who were suffering from depression, most of them felt much better after eating a banana. The reason for this is that Bananas contain “Tryptophan“, a type of protein that the body converts into Serotonin, which is known as a happy chemical, and can improve your mood and relax you.
  • PMS –  Hooray for Bananas! The amounts of Vitamin B6 they contain helps regulate blood glucose levels, which can affect our mood.
  • Blood Pressure – Bananas are extremely high in Potassium, low in salt, making them the perfect fruit for someone with high blood pressure. Eaten regularly they can potentially reduce the risk of  blood pressure and stroke.
  • Constipation – Including Bananas can help restore normal bowel action due to the high fibre content, so put away the laxatives.
  • Heartburn – Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, for a soothing relief from heartburn.
  • Morning Sickness – Eating a banana in-between meals can help keep blood sugar levels up, and minimize the morning sickness and keep your energy levels up!
  • Hangover – Make yourself feel better the morning after the night before with a Banana Milkshake with a dash of honey. The banana will calm your stomach and combined with the honey, will restore your blood sugar levels,  the milk is also soothing on your stomach.
  • Giving Up Smoking? – Bananas may help you with the effects of nicotine withdrawal, they contain Vitamins B6, B12, Potassium and Magnesium which can help with controlling stress levels and calm the nervous system.
  • Anemia– Bananas are very high in Iron, and can stimulate the production of Haemoglobin in the blood, so can boost Anemia sufferers.

So as you can see, Bananas can boost our health in many ways! and they taste great, I personally love green Bananas! If you are trying to lose weight, either have a banana every other day or just have a very small one.

Please note, if you are suffering from Kidney problems, you must avoid Bananas due to the Potassium and Phosphorus levels.

Chlorella the Green Superfood

Chlorella SupplementsChlorella is one of the most ancient living organisms, and is a green algae,  found in water.  Chlorella is an extremely nutritious food, mostly because of the abundance of “Chlorophyll” .

Chlorophyll is often described as the life force of plants, a little bit like our blood, but the difference being that our blood contains iron and Chlorophyll is rich in magnesium.

Chlorella is packed with various vitamins and minerals as well as the amino acids from the Chlorophyll (pure plant protein), it can boost our immune system and fight Free Radical Damage.

Other benefits of Chlorella are the detoxifying effect it can have on your liver, it also improves digestion and constipation. Chlorella can combat inflammation by reducing the amount of acid in your body, making it a more alkaline place, which is less friendly to bacteria.

Chlorella benefits your skin by repairing damage and promoting healthy new cells. When you take Chlorella regularly you may see a big improvement in the tone and texture of your skin, plus it gives you energy and vitality!

The Japanese brand “Sun Chlorella” seems to be one of the best quality for pure Chlorella (in a tablet form), but I also like Dr. Schulze’s Superfood Plus, this is a mixture of other potent algae’s as well as grasses, seaweed and other super ingredients –  this is a powder that you mix into juice and drink, 1 glass a day for optimum benefits.

Come on then, eat your greens!

You can  buy Sun Chlorella in our online Skincare Shop.