Holiday Secrets to Beautiful Skin Series—What You Want on Your Holiday Table—from Soup to Nuts!
Thanksgiving and the meal-centric days ahead—of parties, special-occasion dinners and all around celebration—ensure that we will all be indulging in food and drink. Unfortunately, not all of our choices will be healthy. To help us survive the many temptations of the season, and to avoid a recipe for disaster, enjoy these delicious recipes designed to keep our skin young and to help navigate the holiday tables!
“Each day we come on the air with a food that promotes healthy aging, beautiful skin and so forth, but it will be foods most people don’t know about, for example, ‘We all know that salmon and blueberries will keep us young and looking great, but did you know that…?’” This would be a great weeklong series on Martha or Rachael or a morning show—we could even tie it into holiday dining.
Monday Soup Course
Pumpkins to “Squash” the Wrinkles
As a dermatologist, I am particularly delighted with the fact that carotenoids neutralize free radicals in the skin, preventing the resultant inflammatory cascade that damages the cells that accelerate the internal aging process, which manifest externally as wrinkles.
Pumpkins are also high in two other crucially important carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye. This means that they may help in preventing the formation of cataracts, while also lessening the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem that usually results in blindness.
Here are some of the key benefits you may enjoy from eating carotenoid-rich foods:
- Carotenoids help block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin, which leads to wrinkles and can cause skin cancer.
- The body converts the carotenoids in spinach to vitamin A (retinol) as needed.
- Carotenoids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, in part because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. (NOTE: Unlike when sourced from food, supplemental carotenoids such as alpha- and beta-carotene do not produce consistently positive results against cardiovascular disease.)
- Carotenoids neutralize the free radicals responsible for general oxidative stress, which damages the cell and is the primary force behind the symptom-free “sub-clinical” inflammation that accelerates the internal aging process and manifests externally as wrinkles.
- Carotenoids may reduce the risk of cancer, especially cancers of the lung, bladder, breast, esophagus and stomach.
- The lutein and zeaxanthin abundant in spinach, kale and collard greens exert protective antioxidant effects in the retina and, accordingly, they appear to help prevent cataracts, macular degeneration and prostatic changes.
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
- One secret to beautiful skin during the fall and winter is carotenoid-rich foods from the pumpkin family.
- Easy to prepare, pumpkins and squash have great satiety value, making pumpkins an ideal food for those who could stand to lose a few pounds.
- Pumpkin is really low in calories, with only about 20 calories per 100 grams. It is also very rich in potassium, magnesium and iron.
Save the Seeds!
- Steam or bake pumpkins just as you would any winter squash.
- And save the seeds, which are rich in antioxidants, which means they act as natural anti-inflammatories.
- They protect against the free radical–initiated inflammation that causes cellular damage.
- They protect our joints from arthritis.
- Pumpkin seeds are also great for the skin because they are rich in protein and a host of other nutrients, including important minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper, as well as healthy fats, including essential fatty acids.
- Pumpkin seeds have a long history in medicine and are used in the treatment of many illnesses such as kidney, prostate and gallbladder problems.
Rich and Hearty Pumpkin Soup
16 ounces of pumpkin or winter squash such as butternut (may be canned or freshly puréed
3 cups of chicken broth
1 large onion
2 carrots, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of light cream or whole milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
¼ teaspoon ginger
Greek-style plain yogurt for topping
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Chopped pumpkin seeds
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and gently sauté onion and carrots until soft.
- Optional: Put vegetables and broth into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Return to pot.
- Add pumpkin and light cream or milk.
- Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Pour into soup crocks or soup bowls.
- Top with yogurt and chopped pumpkin seeds.
* Cinnamon—the best spice for healthy aging and beautiful skin
The cinnamon in this delightful soup stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing the cells’ ability to use glucose. Thus, cinnamon may significantly help people with adult-onset diabetes normalize their blood sugar levels. In fact, less than half a teaspoon per day of cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels in persons with adult-onset diabetes. Just one gram per day (approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon) yields a 20 percent drop in blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well. This is tremendously important information for Perricone followers, as one of the keys to stopping the signs of aging on the face and body is the regulation of blood sugar.