Tag Archives: beta-carotene

10 Foods for Great Skin

Skin is the largest organ of the human body. If you’re healthy on the inside, you will look healthy on the outside as well. Here are some foods that can help you in making your skin flawless, soft and smooth.

Almonds: Almonds are rich source of vitamin E which acts as a sun blocker. Studies have shown that if you consume 14 milligrams of this vitamin per day that is similar to about 20 almonds and then were exposed to UV light there are less sunburned than those who took none. “Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals”, explains Jeffrey Dover, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.

FlaxseedsFlaxseeds are rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which erase spots and helps in reducing fine lines. The benefit of flaxseeds for skin is especially noticeable in those who have skin sensitivities or are prone to dry skin. They also help in reducing skin irritation, tissue inflammation and redness because of high omega-3 content.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich source of lycopene and phytochemical that make tomatoes red and also help in eliminating skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. The content of citric acid in tomatoes are very useful to remove dirt and reduce oil production. That’s why tomatoes are very useful to lighten the skin and overcome blackheads.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes are good source of vitamin C, which smoothes out wrinkles by promoting collagen formation and the more collagen you have, the less creased your skin looks. They are also good source of natural, health-promoting compounds known as beta-carotene and anthocyanin. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in our body and it has anti-oxidant properties that help in fighting against damage caused by free radical. Anthocyanin fights pigmentation and provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.

Spinach: Spinach is rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and lutein. Vitamin A is important for the beauty of skin tone. Vitamin C plays significant role in the repair as well as the growth of skin cells. Lutein is a type of a carotenoid that protects your skin from UV damage.

Apples: Apples are rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and copper. Copper is an essential mineral that contributes to healthy skin. It promotes the formation of melanin, the brown-black pigment that colors your skin. Melanin in your skin protects you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and therefore acts as natural sun protection.

Walnuts: Walnuts are rich source of Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants which are essential to skin regeneration and elasticity. Walnuts also include chemicals that help boost circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells. Just 4 walnuts a day will provide you with all their skin-protecting benefits.

Turmeric: Turmeric is an excellent exfoliating agent and can help you defeat the signs of ageing. Curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound is the principal pigment that imparts deep orange color to the turmeric. In vitro and animal studies have suggested that curcumin have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be used to make different face packs which will provide you the maximum benefits and keep your skin flawless.

Ginger: Ginger aids in digestion which speeds up the removal of toxins as well as promotes your blood circulation which in turn helps you in reducing spots and aging process. Ginger is also rich in Vitamin C which helps you in fighting against wrinkles. Apart from this, ginger has great anti-inflammatory properties due to presence of gingerols which promote evened skin tone and skin smoothness.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is beneficial for oily or combination skin types. It helps to tighten skin pores and makes your face clear and smooth. It can also help rid your face or back of acne by both drying out the skin and bringing blood and oxygen to the skin surface.

Include above food in your diet to not only have a healthy body but also a healthy skin with much smoother and flawless look.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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All About Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene isn’t just good for your eyes. The antioxidant long linked to healthy vision, is now believed to benefit heart health, boost immunity and lower risk of diabetes. The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek word beta and Latin word carota (carrot). It is a pigment found in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.

Beta-carotene is a pro-vitamin which can be converted to active Vitamin A. The human body is capable of converting beta-carotene obtained from plant sources to active vitamin A which is required for a good vision, strong immunity, and healthy skin and for several other body functions.

Beta-carotene can be obtained naturally from the diet and also through supplements. The advantage of dietary beta-carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs. Excess Vitamin A can be toxic and harmful. Toxic levels can occur if you consume high doses of supplements without doctor’s consent.

Benefits of Beta-carotene

Anti-oxidant Rich: Beta-carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant and prevents the body cells from oxidative damage by free radicals. Several studies have shown that anti-oxidants obtained through diet protect against harmful compounds such as free radicals and help build a strong immune system.

Heart Health: It has been found that those who consume at least 4 daily servings of beta-carotene rich fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing heart related disorders. Beta-carotene along with vitamin E helps in reducing bad cholesterol levels.

Immunity Booster: Beta-carotene enhances the response of immunity response cells and also helps stimulate your immune system to fight off infections and viruses, and destroy cancerous cells before they can spread.

Skin Saver: Beta-carotene along with Vitamin C and E is found to protect skin from harmful radiations of sun preventing from sunburn.

Respiratory Health: High intakes of beta-carotene and vitamin C have been found to increase the lung capacity, relieve respiratory problems, and protect you from breathing disorders such as asthma and bronchitis.

Diabetes: Studies have shown that people with low levels of beta-carotene in their bodies are much more likely to suffer from impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes.

Foods Rich in Beta-Carotene

Carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato, peppers, spinach, mustard greens, papaya, orange, cantaloupe, mango, apricots are rich sources of beta-carotene.

Including these foods in your daily diet can help you get the required amount of beta carotene for proper body functioning.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are Dried Figs Healthy for Weight Loss

Figs can be eaten either fresh or dry and has a sweet taste and variety of health benefits that it provides. Though in India fresh Figs are not easily available but can be found in the form of dry fruits popularly known as Anjeer. The high amount of calcium, iron and potassium present in it along with the high amount of fiber and low fat makes it a healthy food to include in your diet which can be eaten alone or mixed in yogurt, salad and toppings on cereals and oatmeal.

Fresh Figs (Cr/freedigital)

Figs are  nutritious but do they help in weight loss ? Should one eat figs regularly if you are trying to lose weight. Lately figs are fast becoming popular with nutritionists that are recommending it as a part of weight loss diets. Let us help you understand why it might not be the healthiest weight loss food option.

Lets start with understanding the calorie and nutrition content of figs. Figs are rich in Vitamins A, B1 and B2, manganese and potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus. The high levels of potassium and low sodium helps people with hypertension. High calcium levels present in figs promote bone health. High mucilage content in figs, helps to heal and protect sore throats. Figs also contain beta-carotene as well as benzaldehyde (anti-cancer compound), flavonoids and a digestive enzyme called ficin.

Dried figs provide higher amount of calories than fresh figs and around 100gms provide 220 calories approx. Though it is recommended to be eaten in moderations but its sweet taste and pulp makes it addictive making you eat more than actually required. Other than the calories figs are sweet and have a medium glycemic index of 61 and a glycemic load of 16 which is high.

The high glycemic load (GL) of figs makes the blood sugar levels rise as dried figs quickly release high level of sugar in the body which may not be helpful for people on weight loss and people suffering from type 2 diabetes. The high amount of fiber and high glycemic load makes the body feel satisfied. The GL provides energy and makes you feel fuller longer making you crave less food. This might make you miss out on a balanced diet which is essential to regulate the metabolism in the body.

Besides it high glycemic load figs have other benefits also. The high fiber content improves digestion and benefits people with constipation. The fiber helps in throwing away the toxins out of the body. They have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants present in them fights diseases and cancer in the body. They help regulate blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol in the body.

Foods that are sweet and provide quick energy should be eaten early in the day so that the energy released by them can be burnt in the day itself. Also figs are recommended to people who have iron deficiency. Every diet especially available online is very generic and might not be applicable to you. You need a diet plan that is customized to your lifestyle, eating habits and medical conditions. Its important to get professional consultancy from a qualified fitness expert before you start any diet plan.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Build Immunity

Are you tired of falling sick every time there is a slight change in the weather or being extremely vulnerable to other people with viruses or bacteria. Body produces antibodies that help identify and neutralize foreign bodies like bacteria and virus in the body thus providing immunity. Immune system is the body’s defence against organisms and foreign substance which have potential to cause diseases and health problems. The immune system is made up of cells, tissues and organs that fight together to protect the body.

Garlic (Cr/freedigital)

There are three types of immunity in the body known as innate, adaptive and passive. Innate is the natural immunity that we all are born with for general protection. Adaptive immunity is the active immunity which develops throughout our lives and in some cases where the infection is too dangerous to fight we can be immunized through vaccination. Lastly, passive immunity is which is borrowed from other sources like mothers milk that provides immunity to child when he is born until he develops his immunity.

Lymphocytes, which are the white cells, are the key laborers of the immune system. The primary lymphocytes are B-cells, T-cells, natural killer cells, macrophages and dendritic cells.

You could strengthen your immune system naturally through balanced diet and exercise. Good nutrition with vitamins and minerals and other important nutrients will keep the immune healthy and ready to ward off invaders. A life style that indulges in the consumption junk foods, fear, worry, and anything that promotes stress will weaken and destroy the immune system. Here are some food options for building immunity.

Garlic: It is a powerful immune booster and stimulator which increases the production of infection fighting white blood cells, boosts natural killer cells and destroys antibodies.  Allicin and sulphides present in garlic boost immune system. Garlic is an anti-oxidant which fights free radicals in the body and helps clear out toxins from the body.

Carrots: Carrots, his food of choice, contain loads of beta carotene, which is a powerful phytonutrient that boosts the immune system’s production of infection-fighting natural killer cells and T cells. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases  and kills free radicals which cause aging and strengthens the immune system.

Yogurt :Ingesting live bacteria might not seem like the best way to stay healthy, but, on the contrary, your body needs certain bacteria to function properly. Lactobacillus acidophilus is an example of good bacteria that your body needs, because it produces lactic acid in your gut, which helps you digest food and break down complex compounds into usable bits.

Mushroom: Mushrooms increase white blood cells in the body to fight diseases and infections. They help build the immune system. Mushrooms contain beta glucans which are one of the best immune enhancing substance. They provide rich nutrition to the body and keep foreign substances away.

Citrus Fruits (Cr/freedigital)

Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is an antioxidant which eradicates free radicals from the body and keeps the body in fighting mode from all foreign substances. Vitamin c increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies in the body fighting the immune system. Vitamin C has rich anti-inflammatory properties helping fight cold and bruises, wound healing cuts, swelling etc. It keeps a good body immunity fighting against the bacteria and fungi causing allergies.

Drinks lots of water to flush out toxins from the body and include vegetables, fruits which contain fiber beneficial in removing toxins from the body. Exercise to keep the body healthy and increase blood flow in the body and fight infections better.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

5 Nutrition Packed Vegetables

All of us eat vegetables in some form or the other. Maybe in salads, mixed veggies etc. Do you know about the benefits of the vegetables that you eat. Some of them are as common as cabbage, that are loaded with nutrition.

Read below for health benefits of commonly available and eaten vegetables. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

5 Fruits to Boost your Health

Fruits are a major and natural source of  many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances to protect you from chronic diseases. Fruits are available through out the year and some are seasonal too.

Here is a list of commonly available fruits that you can include in your daily diet to boost immunity to stay away from infections with its anti-oxidation properties to destroy free radicals. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo