The Fun Girls are talking about skin care this week, a subject that becomes more important to many of us as we begin to notice subtle changes in our skin that maybe we don’t like so very much. What’s a girl to do, to take good care of what she’s been given.
Well, we all know that getting plenty of rest is important. (Which, by the way, is one of the things I do the very worst! I can’t seem to shut off my brain very effectively.)
And, we all know it’s important to drink plenty of water to keep our skin cells hydrated and effectively cleaning out wastes.
But what about what we eat? Are there foods that are potentially good for our skin? What nutrients are especially good for our skin?
From my reading, here are the top 3 foods and nutrients that I’ve discovered that seem to have a beneficial effect on skin (which is, you know, the largest organ we have in our body). Here’s how to love the skin you’re in.
1. Low fat yogurt/low fat dairy products
And the nutrient we’re going for here is Vitamin A. Low fat dairy products contain true Vitamin A, in a form that our bodies can easily handle. Experts say the health of our skin cells is dependent on dietary Vitamin A.
Wait a minute: what about carrots? Aren’t carrots high in Vitamin A? Well, yes, but…
Some people with diabetes or thyroid conditions can’t convert the beta carotene that we find in foods like carrots into vitamin A, so for those people, eating low fat dairy is even more important.
Low fat yogurt contains not only vitamin A, but also acidopholus, an enzyme that is important for keeping digestion normal. Thus, yogurt is a twofer: Vitamin A AND good enzymes that help our body “carry out the trash”.
2. Blueberries, black berries, strawberries and plums.
The nutrient we’re going for here are antioxidants. Deeply colored fruits are high in antioxidants.
(Other examples of foods high in antioxidants? artichokes, deeply colored beans, pecans)
Free radicals form when our skin is damaged by the sun. They damage the cell walls, and can potentially damage the DNA of cells. At the cellular level, antioxidants help protect the cell, so there is less chance for the cell wall to be damaged. Less skin cell damage means younger looking skin.
3. Salmon, walnuts, canola oil and flax seed
What nutrient do these foods have in common? They all provide essential fatty acids, and in particular, Omega 3s.
Essential fatty acids protect cell membranes. Cell membranes let the good nutrients in, and let the waste products out. They also act as a barrier to keep out harmful things. They hold water in the cell. A healthy cell membrane will mean plumper skin cells, and thus, younger looking skin.
I looked for a recipe that would contain all three of these elements, and the one that I came up with has no yogurt, so eat that for your breakfast in the morning! But it does have vitamin A, in the mango, in particular.
So, here’s a recipe that will help you take good care of the skin you’ve been given. It’s easy to prepare, beautiful to look at, and your skin will love you for it.
A couple of quick ingredient notes:
First, I cannot tell you HOW MUCH BETTER wild caught salmon tastes than farm raised. Farm raised salmon is, of course, better than no salmon, but the difference between the two is like night and day. If you’ve never tried wild caught salmon, I am begging you to ignore the expense factor this one time. I promise you, you will immediately understand why after the first bite. I used wild caught sockeye salmon the night I prepared this recipe.
Two: my husband picked up the mango for me, and the only variety they had (that he could find!) that day was called a champagne mango. I had never tried that variety before. It was yellow and a bit wrinkly, but it wasn’t a smidge overly ripe. It had a lovely bright flavor. I loved it.
Third: their recipe called for evaporated cane juice for a sweetener. I didn’t have any, so I substituted agave nectar, which I have. You could use honey, alternatively.
This recipe comes from a cookbook that I have been using lately, since my husband’s heart attack, as we move toward healthier eating. The book was put out by an elegant health spa called Canyon Ranch, and is entitled Nourish: Indulgently Healthy Cuisine. You can see that book featured in Books We Love: The Fun Girls Recommend, over on the right side of the page.
Salmon With Blueberry Mango Salsa
For the Blueberry Mango Salsa:
1/3 c. blueberries
1/3 c. peeled diced mango
2 T. minced red onions
2 T. minced red bell pepper
1 T. minced fresh cilantro
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 t. minced jalapeño pepper
2 t. agave nectar
1/4 t. sea salt
For the fish:
1/2 t. extra virgin olive oil
Four 4 oz. salmon fillets
Pinch sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
(They didn’t call for this, but I smashed a couple of garlic cloves, and rubbed my salmon with them before I cooked them. I really like garlic and the flavor it adds, and, it’s good for you!)
1. Combine the blueberries, mangoes, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeños, agave nectar, and salt in a medium bowl. Lightly crush with a fork to release the juices. Set aside. (Wear gloves when handling hot chile peppers, or wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Or when removing your contact lenses. Not that I would know anything about that.)
2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium -high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and sear for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.
3. Serve each salmon fillet with 1/4 c. blueberry mango salsa.
I think I ate more like a cup of it, since that night there was just my husband and myself. It was so yummy!!!! You really should try this one, Fellow Fun Girls!