sports nutrition

5 Surprising Superfoods For Age-Defying Beauty!

We all know that certain foods have great health giving properties, but how about beauty properties? Here are 5 surprising superfoods to boost your beauty – time to mash those avos? 😉

1) Goji Berries

Goji berries, are one of the most nutritionally dense foods on earth and house a staggering concentration of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phytochemicals and essential fatty acids. With such an awesome constitution it is not surprising they are reputed anti-aging marvels. Originating in Tibet and greatly favoured in traditional medicine these dried berries have many noted health benefits including boosting immunity, lowering cholesterol, enhancing vision, fighting cancer cells, relieving depression and aiding weight loss.

Goji berries contain 500 times more vitamin C than oranges by weight and more beta-carotene than carrots making them a superb source of vitamin A. Together with vitamin E and essential fatty acids, these berries are ideal for any anti-aging and beauty regime. They also contain polysaccharides, one of which has been found to stimulate the secretion of the rejuvenating human growth hormone by the pituitary gland, as well as B vitamins, 21 minerals and 18 amino acids.

The most well documented case of longevity is that of Li Qing Yuen, who reportedly lived to the age of 252. Born in 1678, he is said to have married 14 times with 11 generations of posterity before his death in 1930. Li Qing Yuen reportedly consumed goji berries daily.

A study cited in Dr. Mindell’s book Goji: The Himalayan Health Secret, observed that 67 per cent of elderly people that were given a daily dose of the berries for 3 weeks experienced dramatic immune system enhancement and a significant improvement in spirit and optimism.

3) Avocados

Avocados are smoothing and softening for the skin and easily absorbed; compared with almond, corn, olive, and soybean oils, avocado oil has the highest skin penetration rate.

Avocado also contains vitamin E (excellent for the skin), antioxidant carotenoids and the master antioxidant glutathione that is exceptionally powerful and has anti-carcinogenic potential. High levels of glutathione are found in the liver where the elimination of toxic materials takes place.

Glutathione is effective against pollutants such as cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes as well as ultra-violet radiation. Research is currently exploring the potential benefits of glutathione for numerous conditions including cancer, heart disease, memory loss, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, eczema, liver disorders, heavy metal poisoning and AIDS.

4) Chlorella

The nucleic acids RNA and DNA in Chlorella (one of the highest known sources of such) direct cellular growth and repair and enable our bodies to utilise nutrients more effectively, eliminate toxins and avoid disease. The production of nucleic acids in the body declines progressively as we age, which is no doubt why their intake is recommended by Dr. Benjamin Frank in he No-Ageing Diet. Paul Pitchford in Healing With Whole Foods writes that insufficient nucleic acid causes premature ageing as well as weakened immunity. Research at the Medical College of Kanazawa in Japan found that mice that were fed chlorella had a 30 per cent increase in life span. Replenishing RNA and DNA can be key to overall health, immunity and longevity.

In addition to nucleic acids, chlorella is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids, making it an incredibly rejuvenating and health-promoting superfood. Spirulina is a virtuous equivalent.

5) Bee pollen

When it comes to young and beautiful skin, bee pollen has outstanding gifts. Swedish dermatologist Dr. Lars-Erik Essen uses bee pollen to successfully treat acne and other skin conditions and observes it’s beautifying and anti-aging effects. He reports that bee pollen “seems to prevent premature ageing of the cells and stimulates growth of new skin tissue. It offers effective protection against dehydration and injects new life into dry cells. It smoothes away wrinkles and stimulates a life-giving blood supply to all skin cells.” He believes it’s skin rejuvenation properties are due to its high concentration of nucleic acids RNA and DNA, as well as its natural antibiotic action. Bee pollen has a host of other health-promoting benefits that include fighting infections, lowering cholesterol, strengthening the blood, Boosting the immune system, increasing physical strength and stamina, aiding longevity and enhancing libido! It has been called a “perfect food” because it is so nutritionally complete.

6) Coconut oil

Coconut oil speeds up your metabolism and can actually help you loose weight. It is also incredibly beautifying and moisturising for the skin and has antioxidant properties which protect against free-radical damage, keeping the skin youthful and healthy. Taken internally or externally coconut oil is a great ally for any beauty skin care regime. It also contains lauric acid, an anti-microbial fatty acid that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi.

A Question Of Nutrition

We might be well known for our results driven training, but of course the other part of the equation is nutrition. Among Personal Trainers there’s a saying 70% nutrition, 30% training, and that’s partly true, if your diet is wrong, then you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for, or it will take you a lot longer.

We’re not big fans of fad diets and every year we’re asked be clients what we think about this diet or that diet, the short answer is, not a lot. Any diet can get you short term results, but often they have such tough parameters that slipping is inevitable. We’re more fans of informed healthy eating, our rule of thumb is from sea or field to plate with as few steps as possible.

So let’s look at what we consider to be a healthy diet. It’s important right at the start to note that everyone is different, and that everyone has different training goals: a 100kg man looking to add more muscle bulk for power sports is going to have completely different dietary needs to a 55kg woman looking to maintain a healthy lean physique, that’s why we offer Nutritional Consultations and genetic tests, because understanding the individuals needs and their goals is very important. Having said that there is some generic nutritional advice we can provide.

First up, a common question, should I skip breakfast? And it’s equally popular companion, what should I have for breakfast? Well, it depends. If you’re going to work out early in the morning and your goal is to maintain low body fat levels, or drop body fat, then working out fasted is going to provide benefits to help you hit those goals. You’ve fasted overnight so blood glucose levels are lower and insulin levels aren’t raised, meaning that if you train at intensity, you’re going to burn fat. So far, so good, but again it all depends on what you’re doing, or rather for how long. Up to 90 minutes at intensity and your good to go, longer than that and you risk going catabolic (using your muscle tissue for energy – not good), so HIIT circuits first thing fasted – great!

If you simply haven’t got the energy then the best thing to eat is a combo of healthy fats and protein, we’re talking avocado and fish here, a great way to start the day. Be aware that if you have carbs (even “good carbs” like oats) then you’ll spike your insulin and unless you burn those carbs off completely (unlikely unless you’re doing endurance) you won’t burn as much (if any) fat and any excess energy will lay down as fat. Oops. Just to add a level of complexity, we’ve only looked at the example here of you working out early morning, if you’re working out late in the day, then you need to eat, and you will need carbs, since they also provide the energy for effective brain function. You need to figure out what works for your lifestyle, and again, this is where getting personalised advice from an expert will really help you.

Whether you opt to work out fasted or go for the healthy fats and protein combo, what’s really important is refuelling immediately after the workout. Your body is crying out for fuel – what should you put in?

At 38ºN we are aiming to increase people’s ability to utilise fat as an energy source (fat oxidation). This can vary from person to person due to biochemical individuality but generally speaking raised insulin levels can interfere with fat oxidation, and we also take into account an individuals goals, so our guidance on both the quality and timing of carbohydrates as well as the ratio of protein to carbohydrates is key to our results. Our long-running and successful Optimal Fitness retreat now comes with an included Nutritional Workshop. Come see us to learn more and reap the benefits…