Below are listed some foods that play an important role in the anti-aging skin saga. Being aware of these powerhouse foods, and more importantly, making them a part of your daily diet and consuming them on a regular basis, will help you to have young radiant skin and optimal health. (For herbal recipes; all natural hair preparations; homemade herbal cosmetics; herbal healing preparations; herbal charts and recommendations; and so much more, please check the ‘category‘ sections of betweenclosefriends.com)

Avocado: An Avocado is a good source of the healthy monounsaturated fat that may help to reduce the level of the bad type of cholesterol in your body. Because an avocado is a good source of vitamin E, it helps maintain healthy glowing skin and prevent skin aging (the vitamin E may also help alleviate some menopausal hot flushes). It is also very rich in potassium which helps prevent fluid retention and high blood pressure. (Avocado also makes a very good hair conditioner, and facial mask. Recipes and directions available in the ‘category’ sections of betweenclosefriends.com)

Berries:All black and blue berries such as blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and black grapes, and other berries from the acai berry to include raspberries and strawberries, contain phytochemicals known as flavonoids-which are powerful antioxidants that help protect your body and your skin from the damage caused by free radicals and natural aging. Select blueberries that are firm and a definite indigo blue with a slight silvery bloom for the most beneficial results. Discard any mushy, shriveled, or moldy berries–of course! A quick rinse is all that is necessary just before serving your berries. These berries are best eaten immediately, but can be stored (in a single layer) in a moistureproof container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Cruciferous vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnip, brussel sprouts, radish and watercress all fall into this category. Because these cruciferous vegetables are so full of vitamins and fiber, they are extremely effective in assisting your body in its fight against toxins and cancer. These vegetables also contain high levels of vitamin C which is important in the formation of elastin and collagen. Both collagen and elastin are skin rejuvenators. Therefore, aim to consume at least 115g or 4 oz of any one or a combination of these vegetables daily. They are best eaten raw or gently steamed, in order to recive the most benefit for your skin (this will keep the important enzymes intact and active.)

Garlic: Did you know that eating a clove of garlic a day, either raw or cooked, will help protect your body against cancer and heart disease? One 1994 study in Iowa, USA, of 41,837 women between the age of 55 and 69 suggested that women who ate a clove of garlic at least once a week were 50 percent less likely to develop colon cancer! Another study at Tasgore Medical College in India suggests that garlic reduced cholesterol levels and assisted blood thinning more effectively than aspirin, thus helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Garlic is also known to decrease high blood pressure, is an effective anti-inflammatory, and helps remove heavy metals from your body, all indirectly benefiting your skin.
Think about it……just one small and inexpensive garlic clove once a week has the power to help prevent these horrible diseases. Even though garlic packs quite an aroma, your health is certainly worth the effort! (and one clove a day isn’t really all that much, let alone one a week!)  FYI: Research has indicated that the real garlic cloves are much more beneficial and effective than consuming ‘garlic capsules’ that are available on store and pharmacy shelves.

Ginger: This spicy root helps to boost the digestive and circulatory systems which can be very helpful for older people. Ginger is also believed to help alleviate rheumatic aches and pains. Because the condition of your skin depends on the normal blood circulation, poor circulation will mean dull skin and cellulite formation. Eating ginger regularly therefore, helps keep your circulatory system functioning at optimum levels and your skin looking its youthful best. (Be sure to check the ‘category’ section of betweenclosefriends.com for some excellent recipes and homemade cosmetic preparations using ginger.)

Nuts: Most varieties of nuts from almonds to pecans are good sources of minerals; particularly walnuts and Brazil nuts. They are also concentrated sources of vitamins and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants. Walnuts, although high in calories, are rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium and even omega-3 fatty acids (see below). Adding fresh, not roasted nuts to your diet (very tasty sprinkled on salads and desserts), can enhance the functioning of your digestive and immune systems, improve your skin and help prevent cancer. Research has indicated that nuts may also help control problem cholesterol levels. Never eat rancid nuts, however, as they have been linked to a high incidence of free radicals. Because nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, they also offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. (More information regarding the benefits of nuts, selenium and the other minerals and vitamins are available in provided charts and articles contained in the betweenclosefriends.com blog)

FISH–Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids: Thirty years ago, researchers began to study why the native Inuits of Alaska were remarkably free of heart disease. Scientists now believe the reason for this is the extraordinary amount of fish they consume. Because fish is an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, it helps prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms. Especially beneficial are wild pacific salmon and tuna fish. If you are still not convinced to increase your intake of fish weekly, consider the following:

Signs of fatty acid deficiency

Attention Deficit Disorder

Cracked skin on your heels or fingertips

‘Chicken skin’ on the backs of your arms

Dandruff

Dry eyes

Dry skin

Dry and unmanageable hair

Frequent infections

Frequent urination

Irritability

Learning problems

Lowered immunity

Patches of pale skin on your cheeks

Poor wound healing

Soft nails

If you experience any of the above, or simply wish to be healthy and avoid any of the above, EAT SOME FISH TONIGHT!

Pumpkin: Pumpkin is more than just a jack o’ lantern! It is also loaded with an important antioxidant: beta-carotene. This antioxidant performs many important functions for your overall health, especially in the conversion to vitamin A in the body.
A diet rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and further offers protection against heart disease, according to current research. Beta-carotene is quite a powerhouse, and offers protection against several other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.
Pumpkin is best known to us when it is cooked, pureed, and well-spiced in holiday pies; but pumpkins  also make very tasty soups, breads, and many other dishes. Experiment with it in cooking, you will be surprised! (Try it in replacing squash or yam recipes–available in the ‘Recipe‘ category of betweenclosefriends.com)

Whole grain pasta and rice are excellent complex carbohydrates. Because they provide a consistent supply of energy throughout the day, they should make up the bulk of your diet. Complex carbohydrates digest slowly thereby maintaining a consistent blood sugar level which helps prevent ‘the munchies’ during the day–and subsequently helps keep extra weight off.

Whole wheat pasta is high in fiber, containing twice the amount of iron as regular pasta. Brown rice is another recommended complex carbohydrate high in fiber and B vitamins.
Another reason to consume complex carbohydrates daily to keep your blood sugar levels in check is recommended through recent research findings that high levels of sugar leads to the rapid ageing of your skin due to the process called glycosylation (the process by which sugars are chemically attached to skin proteins collagen and elastin). So, to look younger, eat more whole wheat pasta and brown rice!

Watermelon: Both the flesh and the seeds of the watermelon are nutritious–so try juicing them together and consuming it as a refreshing and tasty drink. The delightful tasting flesh contains amble vitamin A, B and C; while the seeds contain selenium, essential fats, zinc and vitamin E. All of these vitamins and minerals help you fight against any free radical damage and skin aging. (The rind of the watermelon can also be used as an effective ‘Wrinkle Eraserr’–recipe and directions available on betweenclosefriends.com, so it is a complete powerhouse in keeping your skin youthful and soft!)

Water: As everyone knows and repeatedly hears, drinking enough pure water every day goes a long way in keeping your body and skin healthy. Water is the main way our body gets rid of of the toxins and unwanted waste materials that are ingested and produced within your body.
You cannot rely solely on ‘thirst’ as a gauge to drink more water as this sensation diminishes with age. It is much easier than you think to consume the recommended amount of daily water, as it is contained in nutritious liquids– including 100% fruit and vegetable juices, skim or low fat milk, broths, and teas. You can get also some of the needed fluids from most foods; especially fruits. Unfortunately, ’soda pop’ is not a good choice, even the diet ones, because they actually work to dehydrate you and are so full of sugar which ages your skin. (see ‘Whole grains and pasta’ above)

Yogurt: It was rumored in the 1970s, that the Soviet province of Georgia had more centenarians per capita than any other country. Reports claimed that the ’secret’ of their long lives was yogurt, a mainstay food in their diets. Even though these ‘age-defying’ powers of yogurt have never been directly proved, yogurt is very rich in calcium which helps stave off osteoporosis; it also contains the “good bacteria” that help maintain optimal intestinal health thereby diminishing the incidence of age-related intestinal-tract illness. (For home preparations for your skin using yogurt, and other wonderful recipes, please check out the ‘category‘ sections of betweenclosefriends.com)