The Best Foods to Get Clear and Acne-Free Skin

Everyone wants radiant, glowing and acne-free skin. To achieve this, people use different skin care products such as face washes, creams and face packs. But, these external applications are not as effective as the internal applications, that is your diet.

Diet and acne are linked with each other. Many foods trigger skin problems while others help control acne breakouts.

Do you want help preventing or even reversing the effects of acne? If so, then include these 5 foods in your daily diet.

1) Oily FishOily FishEating oily fish like tuna, sardines or salmon provides biotin to your body. Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin that metabolizes amino acids and produces omega-3 fatty acids that help in getting rid of acne. These acids have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne. People who consume less seafood (omega-3s) are more likely to get scaly skin due to biotin deficiency. Consumption of 2-3 ounces of oily fish in a week is recommended to help achieve radiant skin.

2) Leafy GreensLeafy Greens

Leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, and kale are rich in antioxidants that are good for your skin cells. They are high in protein, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and dietary fibres. Folate helps in providing nutrients for DNA repair. Vitamin A works as a moisturizer for your skin and prevents dryness. Vitamin C helps protect your collagen (skin under the epidermis; primary component of connective tissues) and elastin (elastic protein in connective tissues; help body tissues resume their shape after contracting or stretching) against sun damage. Consuming 2 ½ cups of leafy greens per day is recommended for a healthy skin.

3) Green TeaGreen TeaAccording to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2011, it was found that green tea polyphenols protect skin against harmful UV radiation and helps improve overall skin quality in women. Green tea contains antioxidants (EGCG) that increase blood flow that leads to more oxygen to the skin cells. Consuming one cup of green tea per day is recommended to keep your skin glowing and your complexion healthy.

4) Dark ChocolateDark ChocolateDark chocolate offers many beauty and health rewards as it contains flavonoids (found in cocoa) that relax blood vessels, improve blood circulation and increase production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. Flavonoids are antioxidants that protect your skin from UV rays and reduce stress hormone that results in less collagen breakdown in the skin which means fewer acne outbreaks. Some studies have also suggested that dark chocolate hydrates the skin and provides a youthful glow. To achieve healthy, acne-free skin, consume 2-3 ounces of dark chocolate per week.

5) OystersOysters are rich in dietary zinc which plays an important role in the functioning of your skin cells. Acne is a common symptom of zinc deficiency. This trace mineral protects your skin against infection, reduces inflammation and helps in cell formation and replication. It helps in reducing the amount of oil your skin produces, thus reducing acne (acne is formed when the pores are blocked by oil or bacteria). Oysters are one of the primary sources of zinc and contain 493% of your daily need. The recommended amount of zinc per day is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.

Food is an essential part of your skin care regiment. Eat a balanced diet that contains food items rich in antioxidants, vitamins, fatty acids and dietary zinc. Include these healthy foods in your daily meal to achieve a healthy complexion and acne-free skin.

4 Light Dinner Recipes to Enjoy in Summer

Summertime is here, which means it’s the time to be gentle with your stomach. When the temperature rises, eating too many hamburgers and BBQ can land you in trouble with bloating and stomach aches.

The best thing to do in summer is to consume lighter meals, especially during dinner time. It will allow you to enjoy the sunny season with tasty food without worrying about digestion issues.

Here are 4 light dinner recipes to try that won’t leave you feeling heavy during the summer.

1) Grilled Chicken with Herbed Corn SalsaEnjoy juicy fresh herbs flavoured chicken thighs by preparing this light cuisine.

  • Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  • Grill it at 165°F (covered) for 15-20 minutes and turn it over once for even cooking.
  • Now grill corn on medium for about 10 minutes while turning it a few times.
  • Prepare the herb sauce by mixing grated parmesan, garlic, mint leaves and basil leaves in a food processor.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to the mixture and stir to mix well.
  • Cut kernels off the cob and mix it with the herb sauce.
  • Garnish grilled chicken with the mixture of corn and herb sauce. Serve and enjoy your dinner.

2) Corn and Roast Beef WrapRelish the southwestern flavours packed in this colourful wrap.

  • For this light meal, preheat a skillet on medium to high heat.
  • Cook corn (brushed with olive oil) on the skillet while turning occasionally for 10-12 minutes until it becomes tender and charring spots appear.
  • Cut kernel off the cob after cooling.
  • Spread cream cheese on the burrito-sized tortilla and put sliced, cooked, roast beef to cover the base.
  • Now put grilled corn kernels, red onion, tomato and avocado (all sliced) on the tortilla and roll it up to form a wrap.
  • Serve by cutting it into two parts.

3) Chipotle Beer-and-Butter Shrimp with RiceThis is a balanced cuisine where the spicy flavours of cumin and chipotle are neutralized by adding butter, beer, and lime. All the ingredients are sealed in an aluminum foil and then grilled to retain the juiciness of shrimp and make a flavourful sauce.

  • First, preheat a grill on medium. Make a foil bowl by folding all the sides up and put peeled, deveined shrimp in it.
  • Add chipotle sauce, smashed garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, coriander, and salt. Mix the ingredients properly with shrimp.
  • Now pour beer and pieces of unsalted butter into the foil.
  • Seal the foil tightly with another foil by folding the edges.

Start cooking by placing the sealed foil on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until the shrimps turn pink. Now remove from the heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Tear the foil seal carefully (the steam can burn you), sprinkle some chopped fresh cilantro and squeeze lime juice. Serve this juicy cuisine with rice and enjoy your meal.

4) Tortellini, Spinach and Mushrooms in Wine-Butter SauceNothing is better than having fresh summer vegetables tossed in cheesy pasta.

  • Firstly, prepare cheese tortellini as instructed on the package and put it aside but don’t throw away the cooking water.
  • Now melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add minced garlic and sliced mushroom to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes while stirring.
  • After the mushrooms become tender, pour in white wine (or chicken broth), dried basil, oil-packed dried tomatoes, salt, cayenne pepper and pasta water.
  • Cook on simmer for 3 minutes until the liquid evaporates to half.
  • Keep stirring and add small amounts of butter to the skillet.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and add cheese tortellini and coarsely chopped spinach (until wilted).
  • Garnish it with nutmeg (optional) and serve hot.

These recipes are beneficial for both your stomach and taste buds. These easy to make cuisines are full of flavours and seasonal vegetables glazed with fresh herbs. Make the most of your dinner time by trying one of these today.

4 Summer Special Ice Pops to Try at Home

Popsicles are one of the summer’s highlights. These frozen treats not only tantalize your taste buds, but also keep you cool in the warm weather. But store-bought popsicles are not always the best tasting. Why not go for some homemade ones instead?

If you want to make the most of this summer season, then try these 4-summer special ice-pop recipes to beat the heat.

1) Blueberry Lemon PopsIf you are in love with sweet and sour ice pops, then try blueberry lemon popsicles. They are rich in antioxidants and work as a healthy treat for breakfast. Mix blueberries, pure maple syrup, low-fat plain yogurt, lemon juice and lemon zest with a pinch of kosher salt. Prepare a smooth puree by mixing the ingredients in a blender. Pour the mixture into ice-pop molds and put them in the freezer overnight. Your sweet and sour popsicles are ready!

2) Raspberry Coconut Chia PopsThese easy-to-make ice pops are filled with goodies such as fresh raspberries, milky coconut, and healthy chia seeds. First, prepare a smooth mixture by combining raspberries and water in a blender. Pour the mixture in molds (around 2 tablespoons in each mold) and put them in the freezer for half an hour. Now add coconut milk and chia seeds in a mixing bowl and whisk properly. Take out the molds from the freezer and pour whisked coconut milk in them evenly. Put the molds back in the freezer for half an hour. Finally, remove the molds from the freezer, put ice cream sticks in the middle, top it up with the remaining raspberry puree and place them in the freezer for at least 4 hours. The healthy and tasty ice-pops are ready to be served.

You can add vanilla or coconut extracts while whisking coconut milk and enhances the taste of raspberry puree by adding honey or lime juice to it.

3) Chocolate Banana PopsThese frozen treats look like a popsicle but taste like a sundae. This recipe is a tasty treat for all the chocolate lovers out there. It is covered with peanuts to complement the creamy texture with a crunchy surprise. To make these ice pops, prepare a banana puree by blending bananas in a food processor. Now add maple syrup, heavy cream and unsweetened cocoa powder to it. Fill the popsicle molds with the mixture and freeze for at least 8 hours. Remove the ice-pops from the freezer and keep them at room temperature for a few minutes. Now spread finely chopped salted and roasted peanuts on a plate, and then roll the frozen pops in them. Enjoy your peanut-laced chocolate banana pops.

4) Watermelon Kiwi PopsThis layered ice pop is filled with the freshness of watermelon and kiwi. To begin, combine cubed watermelon (seedless), lemon juice and granulated sugar in a blender to prepare a puree. Sprinkle some chocolate chips over it and mix well. Fill the molds (about 2/3rd full) with the puree, insert popsicle sticks and freeze them for about 3 ½ hours. Whisk coconut milk with sugar until the mixture becomes pourable. Remove the molds from the freezer, add a layer of 1 tablespoon whisked coconut milk evenly and return to freezer. Now it’s time for the green or kiwi layer. Mix kiwi with sugar in a blender and remove the kiwi seeds by using a mesh strainer and a rubber spatula. Let the puree sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. After that, add a layer of kiwi mixture to the molds and return it to the freezer for 2-3 hours or until they become solid. Your three-layered, watermelon inspired popsicles are ready!

Why buy ice pops from stores, if you can enjoy them at home. Made from fresh ingredients, these frozen treats can be customized according to your choice of fruits and flavours. Try them today!

Dos and Don’ts of Food Storage

One of the most cumbersome tasks of a homemaker, apart from deciding what to cook, is food storage. Be it last night’s leftovers or the result of too much grocery shopping, storing excess food items while keeping the freshness intact is a challenge.

Managing refrigerator and cabinet space is also tricky. Space can get filled with random boxes making it impossible to see or find the items you want. In the confusion, some food items may go bad before you realize it.

Thankfully, there are a few dos and don’ts then you can do extend the shelf life of your food.

Dos

1) Use Airtight Containers for Storing Fruits and Vegetables

Always store perishable goods like fruits and veggies in airtight containers. If you don’t have any, then wrap them up in plastic and store them in the refrigerator. It prevents them from absorbing the odours of other food items, keeps the bacteria out and retains their moisture.

2) Eat Leftovers within 3 Days

Leftovers should not be stored for more than 3 days. If stored for more than that period, it can cause food poisoning when consumed. Remember to reheat the leftovers properly before consumption.

3) Store Similar Products Together

To avoid confusion, store similar food items together at a specific spot in the refrigerator. For example, store home-cooked food on one shelf, packaged food on another and fruit juices in the door shelves. It will be easy for you to find them when required.

4) Keep Meat in Its Original Packing

Removing meat from its original packing and storing it in a container can lead to oxidation thus destroying the edibility of the food. Keep the meat in the same packing in which you’ve purchased it or wrap the packet in a plastic if you fear that it may leak.

5) Keep Nut and Olive Oil Away from Heat, Light and Air

If nut and olive oil is exposed to light, heat, and air, then it begins to lose its flavours due to oxidation. Store them in your kitchen cabinets or any other cool and dark place to preserve their freshness and quality. Avoid storing them in your refrigerator or else they will get thickened.

Don’ts

1) Don’t Store Everything in the Refrigerator

The refrigerator is not meant to store each and every food item in it. Foods like potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic don’t require refrigeration and should be stored at the counter. If you’ve purchased under-ripe fruits such as pears and mangoes, then keep them on the windowsill and move them to the refrigerator after they ripe.

2) Don’t Touch the Food Too Much

Excessive handling of food items can spoil them. When food items come in contact with our hands, chances of heat, dirt, and bacteria transfer increases. Therefore, store your food immediately after purchasing it from the grocery store and take out only at the time of cooking.

3) Don’t Store Food in Open Cans

If you refrigerate foods in open metal containers, then immediately stop doing it. This practice can transfer metal from the can (dissolve from the walls of the container) to your food thus making it taste unpleasant and hazardous to your health.

4) Don’t Store Milk in the Door

Milk should be stored in a colder area of the refrigerator, rather than in the door as it is one of the warmest spots. Foods like fruit juices, ketchup, sauces, etc. should be stored in the door.

Maximize your foods’ freshness by applying these simple dos and don’ts during storage. That said, clean your refrigerator regularly, never over-clutter it and buy only the amount of food you need.

Rhubarb 101

Spring is all about making meals with seasonal fruits and vegetables. One of those seasonal guests is rhubarb. Many markets will be carrying this red plant during the spring and sometimes through the summer. Used in jams, pies, and sauces, this popular food item is commonly grown across Canada.

But do you know that often mistaken as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable? There’s much more to this versatile veggie. Let’s find out.

What is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is an herbaceous perennial that originates from Central Asia. It grows from rhizomes, thick and short underground stems. Its leaves are poisonous due to oxalic acid, but the leafstalk is edible. The fleshy stalks are a reddish-pink colour and the shape is similar to celery. It has a sweet and tart taste rich with flavour.

There are two types of rhubarb, hothouse and field-grown. The former is grown in a hothouse and is available in grocery stores. The latter is grown by farmers and can be purchased from farmer’s markets.

Nutritional Benefits

This red veggie is packed with nutrients such as antioxidants, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C and K. It contains 45% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K needed by an average adult. It is also loaded with anthraquinones (naturally occurring phenolic compounds) that give it laxative and cathartic properties. The best part is that it only contains 26 calories.

In the past, rhubarb was used a medicinal plant in China. Its root was used as a laxative for many years. During World War I, it became a popular vegetable as other vegetables were not available.

Recipes with Rhubarb

This multipurpose veggie can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. You can eat it raw as well. You can make delicious rhubarb jam by cooking it with water and sugar for 10 minutes. When it comes to rhubarb sauce, it tastes great when combined with waffles, wheat pancakes and yogurt. Apart from pie, the sweet taste of this healthy veggie can be perfectly paired with cakes and muffins. It can also be used as a filling in pies, cobblers, crisps, etc. after tempering its sourness with sugar and cornstarch or flour.

You can give a savory twist to pork dishes by topping them with rhubarb sauce seasoned with garlic, ginger and Chinese 5-spice powder. Another excellent dish is rhubarb cranachan, a Scottish dessert, made with poached rhubarb, whipped cream and whiskey with a crispy oat topping.

In short, rhubarb is rich in goodies for your body, while still packed full of taste. It is healthy, tasty, nutritious and versatile. If you have underestimated the importance of this tasty plant, then it’s time to give it another.