As the summer approaches and we are ready to feel healthy again, make sure you add these skin-enhancing foods to your shopping list. (Photo: Romulo Yanes)
Eating more fruits and veggies can increase your energy, strengthen your heart, and possibly even extend your life. But if that’s not enough to convince you to add more to your diet, allow us to appeal to your vanity: New research shows that people who eat two to three extra servings of produce a day develop a healthy glow that nearly 80 percent of people rate as more attractive than an actual tan.
“Your body stores carotenoids—the pigments found in yellow, orange, red, and dark green fruits and vegetables—just under the skin,” says Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D., a scientist at the Tufts University Antioxidants Research Laboratory; those pigments are what make your complexion look so radiant. Sold? Sneak more carotenoid-rich fruits and veggies into your diet with these four dishes designed by Chicago dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of The Flexitarian Diet. Not one of them is a salad!
Spaghetti Squash With Pesto
HOW TO MAKE IT: Halve and seed a spaghetti squash; microwave cut side down on a plate about 12 minutes, until tender. Scrape the insides with a fork for spaghetti-like strands; toss with pesto.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY: Spaghetti squash has six milligrams of beta-carotene per cup (pasta has none).
Mango “Soft Serve”
HOW TO MAKE IT: Cut fresh mango into chunks and freeze (or buy it bagged), then puree in a food processor or blender. (For a creamier consistency, add coconut milk or plain Greek yogurt, or use equal parts mango and frozen banana.)
WHY IT’S HEALTHY: “The natural sugar in mangoes comes bundled with fiber and antioxidants,” says Blatner.
The Green Burrito
HOW TO MAKE IT: Trim the stem from one large collard green leaf and mash down the center rib with a fork. Fill the leaf with something warm, like scrambled eggs, black beans, or rice, to wilt it. Top with avocado, salsa, and cheese, and wrap like a traditional burrito.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY: Sub in leafy greens for the refined carbs in regular tortillas and you not only save about 150 empty calories, but you also get bone-building calcium and vitamin K, says Blatner.
HOW TO MAKE IT: Toast a slice of whole-grain bread, smear with peanut butter or almond butter, and top with eight seedless tangerine or clementine segments.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY: Using fruit in place of a tablespoon of jelly, jam, or marmalade saves you about four grams of sugar. Plus, one small tangerine fulfills nearly a third of your daily vitamin C requirements.
By Juno DeMelo
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