Skin-Smart Foods

Discover which eats will help you retain that youthful glow

foods good for your skin

Photo by: Ina Peters/iStock

Whole grains are rich in several B vitamins, which encourage the growth of skin cells, giving your skin new radiance. And switching to whole grains is a healthy move overall; they offer protection against diabetes, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and even gum disease. These benefits are tied not only to their vitamin content, but also to their minerals, plant nutrients, and fiber. That’s why refined grains, which are stripped of these ingredients during manufacturing, don’t offer the same advantages, even when some healthy nutrients are added back later in the process.

Here are some strategies for reaping the benefits of whole grains:

Bulk up your breakfast
You can increase your consumption just by making over your morning meal. Surveys show that busy women tend to eat more or less the same breakfast on most days, so a simple whole-grain upgrade can make a big difference. Like toast in the morning? Make it with whole-grain bread (look for a loaf with at least three grams of fiber per slice and whole wheat at the top of the ingredients list). Cereal fans: Go for a whole-grain variety or an oat-based choice like Cheerios or oatmeal itself (even instant counts).

Work whole grains into the rest of your day (and grocery trips)
Most markets now carry brown rice, whole wheat pasta and couscous, and even grains like quinoa, barley, and bulgur. Look for whole-grain baguettes in the bread aisles. Replace regular pasta with whole-wheat varieties, and white rice with brown (it takes longer to cook, so plan accordingly or buy quick-cooking varieties) as the base for a stir-fry. Use high-fiber faro, bulgur, and whole-wheat couscous in grain salads or as side dishes.

Enjoy the belly-flattening power of fiber
Increase your intake to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day, and you may lose deep abdominal visceral fat (yes, the kind that ruins your waistline, but it’s also considered a health threat, as it’s associated with high blood pressure and higher rates of diabetes and liver disease). Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine Winston-Salem, North Carolina found that people who ate more than 10 grams of soluble fiber a day gained less dangerous belly fat during the course of the five-year study than those who ate less. Soluble fiber is the predominant component in oats and in many fruits and vegetables.

One way to hit the 10-gram mark: Start your day with a cup of oatmeal topped with a chopped apple; have a sandwich on whole-wheat bread for lunch, an orange for a snack, and a cup of cooked broccoli as a side with dinner.