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Eating For Beauty

I discovered Dr. Perricone through a friend who gave me a few of his products to try. I got hooked on his No Foundation Foundation and his Super Berry Powder with Acai, an antioxidant supplement which I now add to my water after workouts. We asked him to elaborate on the intricate connection between what we eat and the state of our skin. I learned many things from the below Q & A, and I hope you do too.

Love, gp

Dr. Nicholas Perricone on Beauty from the Inside Out

Q

You’re known for advocating “beauty from the inside out,” so what kinds of foods should we be eating to combat different kinds of skin conditions such as dry skin, wrinkles, blemishes, etc?

A

“Our skin reflects our diet almost immediately. If we consume fatty, sugary, and processed foods, our skin is likely to react by becoming inflamed, puffy and rough in texture. To maintain youthful, glowing skin, it’s important to take these necessary steps:

  1. Consume enough water. Water is vital to help flush out toxins and keep skin clear and hydrated.

  2. For dry skin, load up on Omega-3’s. These essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are necessary for healthy, supple skin and help to repair the protective barrier that keeps moisture locked in. The most potent plant-based source of Omega-3 is chia seeds, with more Omega-3 than flax seed or wild Alaskan salmon. It’s also recommended to use chia-based products, such as O-Mega Moisture from the SUPER line, my rich moisturizer loaded with chia oil.

  3. For blemish-prone skin, I recommend a diet rich in greens, including watercress, spinach, collard greens and apples. The Vitamin A in these leafy greens helps normalize the production of oil, while the quercetin in green apples helps reduce mast cell activity, which leads to inflammation and breakouts. I use quercetin in Acne Solution from SUPER, as it exfoliates, brightens and balances the skin.

  4. These foods are also good for sensitive skin, as is yogurt, a superfood loaded with probiotics and lactic acid to help soothe and calm redness and inflammation.

  5. It’s imperative to load up on antioxidants to maintain youthful, supple and radiant skin. Acai, blueberries and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger are all wonderful sources of antioxidants that help maintain healthy skin. These foods fight free-radical damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, sagging and lackluster skin.


Q

We hear that you stick pretty religiously to an incredibly healthy, balanced diet … So what does eating for your skin look like on a day-to-day basis?

A

I’ve created a day’s worth of recipes as an example of how to load up on foods that are good for your skin. (See the Recipes section below.)


Q

You’re famous for having introduced the world to the concept of superfoods, what are the benefits of some of the ingredients included in your menu below?

A

It’s important to always remember beauty is an inside job. What we eat directly affects the appearance of our complexion and determines how we age. Each meal contains the three crucial components to a good-skin diet: protein, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only will these nutrients yield beautiful skin, but they also have protective and preventative qualities that slow the aging process.

The Building Blocks

  1. Protein. Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks cells use to repair themselves. Healthy fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects improving skin’s moistness, texture, suppleness and smoothness.

  2. Fresh fruit and vegetables. These contain antioxidants that stave off free radicals, the aggressive molecules produced by a diet rich in sugars and starchy foods, as a byproduct of your metabolism or the environment. Free radicals create inflammation that damages your cells, resulting in inflexibility, wrinkles, sagging and the loss of firmness, tone, radiance, and texture in the skin.

The “Super” Ingredients

  1. Wild Salmon. This is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein. It is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids—the most beneficial kind—which protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, act as natural anti-depressants, increase feelings of well-being, and help keep skin young, supple and radiant.

  2. Asparagus. This is one of the richest sources of rutin, a bioflavanoid which strengthens small capillaries in the skin and may help prevent broken capillaries. It also contains glutathione—an abundant and essential tripeptide antioxidant found within the cells that plays a huge role in the cell’s ability to fight free-radical damage. Glutathione is our primary antioxidant defense and an effective suppressor of free radical damage.

  3. Dark Leafy Greens These are rich in the antioxidant plant pigments known as carotenoids, which enhance immune response, protect skin cells against UV radiation, and “spare” liver enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and other toxins. Their important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of heart disease and block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin—which leads to wrinkles and skin cancer.

  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.This is rich in oleic acid, which is a super emollient. The essential fatty acids present in olive oil nourish the skin and provide anti-inflammatory activity. The polyphenols that are found abundantly in olive oil are extremely efficient and multi-faceted antioxidants. Polyphenols are exceptionally stable and protective. The most powerful member of the Olive Oil Polyphenol group is Hydroxytyrosol. Extremely rare, and effective in even small concentrations, this super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory has been proven to be effective in improving general health and appearance.

  5. Pinot Noir. This is a delightful wine to accompany foods like salmon because pinot noirs have enough acidity in them to mitigate the fatty content. Red wine contains a powerful heart-healthy, anti-cancer, anti-aging antioxidant called resveratrol. It also appears that resveratrol helps protect the skin against the sun’s UV radiation. It appears that drinking wine—particularly red wines such as Pinot Noir—interferes with the production of a body chemical vital to the process that leads to clogged arteries and an increased risk of heart attack. White and rose wine do not offer the same protection.

  6. Green Jasmine Tea. Enjoy a cup of green tea after your meal and don’t worry about the caffeine, since a compound in green tea called theonine blocks the negative effects of caffeine, while acting as a natural mood elevator and promoting feelings of well-being. Because green tea is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, it can help fight inflammation and age-accelerating free radicals, protect against heart disease and cancer, boost the body’s natural defenses, and exert anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects.

  7. Nuts and Seeds. Hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds are rich in short-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which inhibit the accumulation of fats in artery walls that promotes angina, strokes, and heart attacks. Nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine, which prompts the body to release vital hormones, stimulate sexuality, increase lean muscle mass, burn fat, lower cholesterol, and boost the immune system.

  8. Apples. These are unusually high in fiber, with an average of five grams. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, we need approximately 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, so one apple provides about 15 to 25 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber is known as “pectin,” and is the substance that is added to jams and jellies to make them gel. Pectin has the power to decrease the appetite for up to four hours, making it a more effective appetite suppressant than the insoluble fiber found in grains such as wheat and rye. (Oats, like apples, are also rich in soluble fiber.)

  9. Pears. These offer protection from free radicals; Pears are high in both Vitamin C and copper, antioxidant nutrients that help prevent free radical damage to the cells. Both copper and Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, and directly kills many bacteria and viruses. One medium size pear can provide about 11 percent of the daily value your body needs for Vitamin C, and almost 10 percent of the copper it needs. They also promote cardiovascular and colon health: The fiber in pears has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. It also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. Pears also protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults and provide Vitamin B: Pears have a high concentration of folates, which make up the Vitamin B complex group. These vitamins are essential for metabolic activity and red blood cell production.

  10. Old Fashioned Oatmeal. This is high in fibers that enhance weight control and discourages cardiovascular disease; the beta-glucan fiber in oats and also barley exerts beneficial anti-glycemic effects as well, helping to stabilize blood sugar.

  11. Cinnamon. This helps stabilize blood sugar because it stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing cells’ ability to use glucose. 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. Cinnamon also reduces cellular inflammation—a key age accelerator.

  12. Fun fact:The mere scent of cinnamon enhances the brain’s cognitive processing, including attention, memory, and visual-motor speed.

  13. Omega-3 Eggs. These are a terrific source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The key is to make sure you purchase eggs from cage-free chickens that are fed flax meal. Not only are they much more nutritious, they taste wonderful.

  14. Lemons and Lemon Juice. These contain important phytonutrients which protect lungs, alleviate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, help prevent cancer by boosting the activity of detoxification enzymes in the liver, lower blood cholesterol levels, and inhibit cancer in human breast cells, skin, lungs, stomach, mouth, and colon cancer in laboratory animals. They also play an important role in the maintenance of elastin and the stabilization of collagen.

  15. Berries. These are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses. They contain important phytochemicals including phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and more. Blueberries also contains phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the areas of brain responsible for learning and memory. Raspberries are a rich source of Vitamin C—key for collagen production and also very high in ellegic acid superior in reducing the damage caused to cells from free radicals—like blueberries they are super anti-aging foods in just about every category. All berries are superb for all organ systems including skin.

  16. Yogurt This is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin-Vitamin B2 and iodine, Vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-Vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. Yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures may help you to live longer, and may fortify your immune system. Research studies have shown that increased yogurt consumption, particularly in immuno-compromised populations such as the elderly, may enhance the immune response, which would in turn increase resistance to immune-related diseases.

  17. Chickpeas. These are low in fat and sodium but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. They are also an excellent source of protein, needing only to be combined with grains such as barley or oats to provide all the amino acids necessary to make a complete protein for vegetarians who do not have other sources of protein for their meals.

  18. Turmeric. The golden root of turmeric has been used since ancient times for both health and beauty. A superb anti-inflammatory, the active curcuminoids help even out skin tone and color and have superior cell-protective properties, helping to keep skin soft and supple while protecting against the oxidative stress that accelerates skin ageing.

Eating for Beauty Recipes

Savory Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms and Chives

Savory Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms and Chives

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating from the inside out, as Omega-3 Eggs are a terrific source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

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Old-Fashioned Oatmeal with Apples, Cinnamon and Walnuts

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal with Apples, Cinnamon and Walnuts

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Old Fashioned Oatmeal is high in fibers that enhance weight control and discourages cardiovascular disease; the beta-glucan fiber in oats and also barley exerts beneficial anti-glycemic effects as well, helping to stabilize blood sugar.

Get Recipe

Roast Chicken Salad on a Bed of Romaine Lettuce

Roast Chicken Salad on a Bed of Romaine Lettuce

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks cells use to repair themselves. Healthy fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects improving skin’s moistness, texture, suppleness, and smoothness.

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Mixed Berry Yogurt Parfait

Mixed Berry Yogurt Parfait

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Berries are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses. They contain important phytochemicals including phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and more. Blueberries also contains phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the areas of brain responsible for learning and memory.

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Baked Fillet of Salmon with Asparagus and Caper-Enriched Lemon Sauce

Baked Fillet of Salmon with Asparagus and Caper-Enriched Lemon Sauce

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Wild Salmon is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein. It is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids—the most beneficial kind—which protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, act as natural anti-depressants, increase feelings of well-being, and help keep skin young, supple and radiant.

Get Recipe

Romaine Salad with Chickpeas

Romaine Salad with Chickpeas

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Chickpeas are low in fat and sodium but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Get Recipe

Feta, Toasted Walnut and Pear Platter

Feta, Toasted Walnut and Pear Platter

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Pears offer protection from free radicals; Pears are high in both Vitamin C and copper, anti-oxidant nutrients that help prevent free radical damage to the cells. Both copper and Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, and directly kills many bacteria and viruses. One medium size pear can provide about 11 percent of the daily value your body needs for Vitamin C, and almost 10 percent of the copper it needs.

Get Recipe


In the UK, Super by Dr. Nicholas Perricone is available at Boots and at Get Super.
In the USA visit Get Super, Sephora, or one of the Super stores:

1833 4th St.
Berkeley, CA 94710

3828 Cross Creek Rd.
Malibu, CA 90265

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