Health & Wellness

The Look-Amazing Diet

06.27.11 Strawberries and Blueberries

Your body is a beautiful, wonderful, precious machine. After all, there’s only one you, right? And Cotton Candy wants your body to feel its best, work its best and look its best. That means you’ve got know which foods are considered to be a friend or a foe. Cotton Candy health contributor, Registered Dietitian and founder of Real Nutrition NYC Amy Shapiro, shares which foods will have your teeth, breath, nails, skin, hair and muscles in the optimum state.

Teeth
Stay clear of high-sugar and high-acid foods like juice, soda and processed foods, and remember that calcium is your friend. Consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium, or about three servings of low-fat milk or yogurt per day to keep your lovely smile beautiful.

Breath
Embarrassing halitosis – in other words, bad breath – results from oral or gastrointestinal bacteria. But you can reduce bad-breath bacteria in your diet by balancing protein, carbs and healthy fats, and drinking plenty of fluids. Also, chew on herbs such as spearmint, tarragon and rosemary to keep this fresh. You should also make a habit of eating at least one serving of yogurt containing active cultures each day, such as Greek yogurt. Plus, eat fiber-rich, crunchy fruits and veggies to increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. If you love to snack, then eat on citrus fruits and berries rich in vitamin C between meals to reduce oral bacterial growth and prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

Nails
Consume protein and iron-rich foods to keep your nails uniform, rounded and smooth. Combine it with vitamin C to promote absorption. For healthy nails, try vegetarian bean chili, lean cut of beef (such as filet) or spinach salad with mandarin orange slices. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

Skin
Damage occurs from oxidation, a process in which toxic, free radicals damage healthy cells. To combat wrinkles, dig into foods that are rich in antioxidants – vitamins A, C, and E – and omega-3 fatty acids. Start filling your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, blueberries, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens, healthy fats from salmon, and raw nuts and avoid foods high in fat and simple carbs, or better known as sugar.

Hair
To tame your mane, your diet should include essential fatty acids – especially omega-3s – protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Colorful fruits and vegetables with antioxidants promote sebum production, oil that acts like a natural conditioner. To promote scalp health and reduce shedding, chew on walnuts. They provide omega-3s and zinc. Lentils and beans provide protein, iron, zinc and biotin to avoid brittleness and breakage. Eggs are a highly bioavailable protein that also contain B12 and biotin, and together, these nutrients promote growth and reduce breakage. Also, Greek yogurt provides calcium and protein to promote hair growth.

Muscles
Whether you’re bodybuilding or getting bikini-ready, muscle health requires the proper balance of protein, carbs and fat. Your body can’t store protein, so eating more than your daily needs won’t give you bigger, stronger muscles. A diet of about 45 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 30 percent fat will promote optimal growth and maintenance by preventing lean muscle breakdown. Although needs vary, a good benchmark for your protein needs is 1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight per day (1lb = 2.2 kg).


Written by: Amy Shapiro MS, RD

Shapiro is the founder and director of Real Nutrition NYC, a Manhattan-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight and overall wellness. She has cultivated a local and national clientele for her lifestyle-minded approach, which integrates realistic food plans, smart eating habits, and active living based on the individual’s daily routine. She believes that through encouragement, education and the right tricks of the trade, anyone can achieve their nutritional goals while still enjoying the foods and flavors they crave.

Cotton Candy Magazine®