November is National Healthy Skin month!  The ideal way to meet nutrient needs for that glowing complexion is eating a healthy, balanced diet.  Are you getting enough of the right nutrients to nourish your skin?  Here are some of the best foods (along with some tasty dishes I made) that nourish and keep your skin healthy:

Orange Root Vegetables (e.g., Sweet potatoes, carrots, yams) provide beta-carotene (i.e.,  provitamin A), a powerful antioxidant that keeps your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock.

Roasted Beets, Carrots and Sweet Potatoes (From Lauren Lobley)

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields 4 servings

1 large sweet potato (skins on, cubed)
2 medium-sized beets (peeled and cubed)
2 medium-sized carrots (peeled and sliced)
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground sage
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375℉.

2. Spread the vegetables out along a baking sheet.

3. Season with spices and olive oil.  Toss with your hands until all the vegetables are coated.

4.  Spread the vegetables back out on the baking sheet.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until your desired tenderness.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 125, Protein  1.5 g, Sodium  537 mg, Cholesterol  0 mg, Total Carbohydrate  14.8 g (Dietary fiber  3 g, Sugars  5.6 g), Total fat  7.2 g (Saturated fat  1 g)

Almonds are a good source of vitamin E (an antioxidant that protects cells from the damaging effects of free radicals), zinc (contributes to skin integrity), the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin (contributes to maintenance of normal skin), copper (skin and hair pigmentation), and linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid that helps prevent skin dryness).

Dark Chocolate Almond Bark (From Joy Shull)

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields 16 servings

1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 Tbsp + ½ tsp coconut oil (measured while solid)
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 oz dark chocolate chunks or chips (I used 72% dark chocolate)
1 tsp flaked sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350℉.

2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place almonds down; spread out so that they are flat.

3. Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking often, until toasty brown.  Make sure you don't burn them!

4.  In a saucepan, add coconut oil, chocolate chunks, and vanilla extract.

5. Stir on low heat until completely melted.

6. Add in almonds and stir to combine.

7. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with wax paper and pour in the chocolate mixture.  Use a rubber spatula to flatten out the chocolate evenly into the pan.

8. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

9. Refrigerate for an hour, or until set.

10. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 138, Protein  1.5 g, Sodium  142 mg, Cholesterol  0 mg, Total Carbohydrate  11.7 g (Dietary fiber  2 g, Sugars  7.9 g), Total fat  10.8 g (Saturated fat  4.9 g)

Pumpkin Seeds are "skin superfoods" that are high in vitamin A (aids in production of new skin cells and repair of existing skin problems), vitamin E (antioxidant and improves skin tone), zinc and selenium (boosts collagen levels and gives skin extra protection), and essential fatty acids (maintains oil production and skin moisture levels).

Pumpkin Spiced Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) (From Marjorie Saveski)

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields 4 (¼ cup) servings

1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ Tbsp honey
½ Tbsp ghee
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ ground cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine all of the above ingredients together, making sure all of the spices are distributed and pepitas are well coated.

3. Spread pepitas out on the parchment lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 7 minutes.

4.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the seeds around, then place the baking sheet back into the oven and bake for 7 more minutes or until the seeds are toasted.

5. Remove from the oven and let the seeds cool on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes.  They will dry out as they cool.

6. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 208, Protein  11 g, Sodium  176 mg, Cholesterol  3.75 mg, Total Carbohydrate  4.9 g (Dietary fiber  2.4 g, Sugars  2 g), Total fat  17 g (Saturated fat  3.7 g)

Oats are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and lipids.  The high protein content in oats is very beneficial in maintaining the skin's natural barrier.  Oatmeal (a dish prepared using oats) is a popular staple breakfast item.

Healthy Oatmeal Pancakes (Adapted from Kate Uhi Dean)

Total Time: 15 minutes
Yields 6 pancakes

1⅓ cup whole grain oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup cottage cheese
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon

1. Add oats and baking powder to a food processor or blender and blend until they're the consistency of flour.  Remove from blender and place in a bowl.

2. Add cottage cheese, eggs, water, vanilla, olive oil and cinnamon to the blender and blend until smooth.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

3. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter for each pancake and pour onto a hot pan or griddle sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook on one side until bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancake.  Flip and cook on the other side.

Nutrition (per pancake)Calories 115, Protein  6.7 g, Sodium  165 mg, Cholesterol  62 mg, Total Carbohydrate  13.1 g (Dietary fiber  1.8 g, Sugars  0.6 g), Total fat  4.1 g (Saturated fat  0.9 g)

Leafy Greens are loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin C.  Beta-carotene assists in the shedding of old skin cells and making new ones, giving you that youthful glow!  Vitamin C is your skin's defender against free radical damage, wrinkle formation and loss of skin elasticity.  Do you want your skin to glow?  Then eating dark leafy green vegetables is a must!

Roasted Cranberry, Wild Rice and Kale Salad (From Alexandra Caspero)

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields 4 servings

2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp sugar
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
6 cups Tuscan kale, finely chopped
2 cups cooked wild rice

Maple-Apple Dressing
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt 
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400℉.  Toss cranberries with olive oil, thyme and sugar.  Place in a glass baking sheet and roast until softened and slightly caramelized (~15-20 minutes).  Let cool.

2. Toss kale, chopped pecans, wild rice and roasted cranberries together.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, shallot, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the salad and massage until wilted.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 439, Protein  8.4 g, Sodium  384 mg, Cholesterol  0 mg, Total Carbohydrate  44.6 g (Dietary fiber  8.9 g, Sugars  15.4 g), Total fat  28.1 g (Saturated fat  3.4 g)


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