If you’re looking for tips for clear skin, you don’t need makeup or a sun tan to enhance your skin. Try more fruits and vegetables (and no, I am not talking about rubbing cherries on your cheeks either). A new research study shows that by eating more fruits and vegetables with carotenoids, participants’ skin was rosy, they looked healthier and they were deemed more attractive.
This study, conducted with a small group of Caucasians, found that skin color changes within a six-week period fluctuated with the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Researchers also found that increasing produce by about three servings per week, one had the benefits of enhanced skin color. The reverse also was true, with decreased amounts of fruits and vegetables, one became paler.
Foods For Healthy Skin
Carotenoids, like lycopene and beta-carotene, are found in red, orange and yellow pigmented produce, like watermelon, tomatoes, pumpkin, apricots and carrots, to name a few. The natural coloring and pigment of these fruits and vegetables will also enhance your skin tone, not to mention all the wonderful benefits for your body in general.
Remember to choose a variety of “nature’s fast food” in many different colors. Each fruit and vegetable bring unique nutrition to your body for better overall health.
Remember the goal is at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, where one serving is between ½ cup and 1 cup. To make it easier for you, I thought I would share some recipes that include these carotenoid-rich foods.
Here are three healthy and easy recipes that I really enjoy that can make a full course meal for you and your family. It includes a salad, a main dish and even dessert, and all of them include ingredients rich with carotenoids.
First Course — Salad Greens with Watermelon and Apricots
This dish is especially fresh and fantastic in the summer. I guess with our Michigan weather as of late, it feels like summer, so dig into this delicious and refreshing salad.
6 cups torn or chopped mixed salad greens
3 cups cubed watermelon, with seeds removed
1.5 cups coarsely chopped nectarines, apricots or peaches
1/3 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup toasted and sliced almonds
Place all above salad ingredients in large bowl and toss gently with Watermelon Viniaigrette (recipe below), using dressing sparingly.
Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
4 cups fresh watermelon, chopped and without seeds
¼ cup red onion, diced small
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, except salt and pepper, into blender. Pulse until emulsified into a dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with above salad. You will not need it all, so use sparingly. It will last in your refrigerator for about a week and is delicious on any type of salad.
Main Entree — Easy Bake Tomato and Spinach Pasta
I have made this recipe with or without chicken and it is delicious and satisfying either way, not to mention very simple.
2 cups whole wheat pasta — I prefer penne or rotini for this recipe, but anything will work
1 clove of minced garlic
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups baby spinach
3 cups diced tomato, divided into 2 cups and 1 cup
1 tablespoons oregano or Italian seasoning
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
About 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Boil water in a large pot to cook pasta until al dente, which should be about 10-12 minutes. Once done, drain and rinse through with cold water and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, prepare spinach and tomatoes. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic until fragrant. Then add all the spinach and 2 cups of tomatoes. Cook for about 4 minutes or until spinach wilts.
Set tomato-spinach mixture aside in a bowl. Add remaining tomato, herbs and salt to taste. Once pasta is done, stir in as well.
Using the same skillet, spray with cooking spray and saute chicken breasts over medium-high heat. Cook through, about 4 minutes on each side or until done.
Dice the cooked chicken into bite-size portions and add to tomato-spinach and pasta mixture. Stir in ½ cup of cheese to mixture.
Spray baking dish with cooking spray and put entire mixture into dish. Bake in oven, uncovered, for 15-18 minutes. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of cheese on top and bake until cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Makes about 6 servings.
Dessert — Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars
I adore this dessert. No one ever realizes that there is some good nutrition from the pumpkins and carrots.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ teaspooons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup granulated sugar (or ½ cup Splenda baking sugar or 1/3 cup Truvia baking sugar)
1/3 cup Brummel and Brown, softened (or other butter substitute variety that you know bakes well)
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed (or ½ cup Splenda brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (15 ounce) pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1½ cups finely shredded carrots
Cream cheese topping (recipe is below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a jelly roll pan or a 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray.
Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda.
In a larger mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter substitute and brown sugar until crumbly. Then add eggs, egg whites, pumpkin and carrots to this sugar mixture and beat until well blended. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly, then spread into prepared pan. Drop teaspoonfuls of cream cheese topping over the batter and swirl mixture with a spoon.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving. It can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Cream Cheese Topping
4 ounces light cream cheese (aka Neufchatel)
¼ cup of granulated sugar (or ¼ cup Splenda baking sugar or 1/8 cup of Truvia baking sugar)
1 tablespoon of milk
Blend all three ingredients above thoroughly until mixed through completely. Now it is ready to be swirled into the pumpkin carrot batter. ♦
Now that you have some wonderful recipes to help your skin glow. Tell me what other red, yellow and orange colored fruits and vegetables do you enjoy daily?
Photo Credit: WELLinLA