Archive | October 2016

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3 ways to help your fruit and vegetables pack a nutrient punch!

by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND


The way you select, store and prepare your fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards locking in the most nutrition – and will help you get the most nutritional benefit from the fruits and vegetables that you eat. This week, I’m looking at how you can lock in the nutrients in fruit and vegetables.

In order to keep the most nutrients in your fruits and vegetables, it’s sometimes helpful to understand how those nutrients can get lost in the first place. Fruits and vegetables can lose some of their nutritional value if they’re not properly handled.

For example, exposure to air, light and water can cause the loss of some nutrients, while short cooking times at moderate temperatures helps to keep nutrients in. And, in some cases, the way you prepare your foods can even make nutrients more usable by the body.

How to Shop for Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Nutrients In

Choosing the freshest fruits and vegetables is the first step in making sure the nutrients are locked in. The freshest fruits and vegetables are easy to spot – they’re free of blemishes and soft spots, they’re firm, and their colors are bright rather than dull. And, the freshest fruits and vegetables will have had the least exposure to air, light and water – all of which can cause nutrient losses.

Buying fruits and vegetables in season is a good idea, too. When you buy fruits and vegetables out of season, they’ve had a long way to travel from the farm to your fork – time in which valuable nutrients can be lost. If you’re fortunate to have a farmer’s market available to you, try to take advantage. In most cases, the fruits and vegetables are fresher and more locally sourced, which means less chance of nutrient losses.

When fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available, keep in mind that frozen fruits and veggies actually retain their nutrients quite well – in some cases, frozen produce may actually offer more nutrition than fresh. For one thing, fruits and vegetables that are headed for the freezer case are usually picked at their peak of ripeness – a time when they’re most nutrient-packed. And they’re processed very quickly after picking and then flash-frozen, which locks in freshness and nutrients.

How to Prepare Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Nutrients In

When it’s time to prepare, lightly wash – but don’t soak – your fruits and vegetables. If the first utensil you tend to grab is your peeler, you might want to reconsider. The skins and peels of fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. There’s no need to peel foods like apples, potatoes, carrots and cucumbers – and even foods that we usually do peel, like eggplant or kiwifruit – have edible skins. With citrus fruits, grate some of the tangy zest into salads and cooked vegetables to get a healthy dose of antioxidants, and don’t pare away the spongy white interior of the citrus peel – it’s full of water-soluble fiber.

Watch what you cut away, too. There’s more vitamin C and calcium in broccoli stems than the florets, more nutrients in asparagus stalks than the tips, and the hard center core of a pineapple has the highest concentration of bromelain, a natural enzyme which aids digestion.

Some nutrients – particularly, a group of antioxidants known as carotenoids – are more available for the body when foods are lightly processed through chopping or cooking.

The carotenoid lycopene for example – which gives tomatoes their red color – is more readily usable by the body when it’s obtained from cooked tomatoes than it is from raw. And your body will take up more lutein (a carotenoid that gives the yellow-green color to foods like spinach and kiwifruit) from chopped spinach than it will from whole spinach leaves.

A tiny amount of fat helps with the absorption of carotenoids, too, so a few slices of avocado in your spinach salad, or a little olive oil in your tomato sauce will boost your uptake.

How to Cook Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Nutrients In

When it’s time to cook vegetables (or fruits), the key to retaining nutrients is to use methods that require the least water. Steaming is one of the best techniques. Since the food never comes in contact with the water, steaming helps to preserve precious water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C.

Microwaving also uses very little water and – despite popular misconception – microwaving does not destroy nutrients. With either method, use as little water as you can. The other advantage to these methods is that they’re quick – shorter cooking times help preserve nutrients. For this reason, stir-frying your vegetables is also a good option to lock nutrients in.

Pairing your seasonings with your vegetables can boost nutrition, too, since the thousands of different antioxidants in plant foods work together to protect your health. So add garlic to your broccoli, lemon peel to your green beans, or parsley to your carrots. Along with a flavor boost, you’ll get more nutritional value from your vegetables, too.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


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4 proven tips to help you unlock food nutrients and reap the benefits

by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND


Do you know how to help your food pack a nutritional punch? Read on for four ways that you can boost the amount of food nutrients your body absorbs. And, yes, these ideas are delicious and convenient!

If I were to ask you how to get the most nutrition from the foods you eat, you’d probably say that it all starts at the grocery store.  After all, choosing nutrient-rich foods when you shop is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll get the most nutrition that a diet can deliver.

A few months back, I wrote a post with some tips for selecting and storing fruits and vegetables in order to lock the nutrients in.  Today, I want to take the discussion one step further – once you’ve done all you can to lock those nutrients into those healthy foods, what can you do to most effectively unlock them and make them usable by your body?

Making Nutrients in Foods More “Body-Ready”

Choosing nutrient-rich foods is certainly the first step in providing your body with the nutrients it needs.  But, if you really want to optimize your diet, the way your foods are prepared and eaten can influence how well those nutrients are taken up and utilized by your body – in other words, how “body ready” the nutrients are.

A more scientific term for “body ready” is bioavailability.  In the simplest sense, bioavailability is a way of describing how much of a particular nutrient found in a food is actually digested, absorbed and utilized by the body.

The macronutrients in your foods (the major nutrients – proteins, fats and carbohydrates) are very bioavailable and are readily taken up by the body.  But, your body’s ability to take up micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), as well as phytonutrients (natural plant compounds) is influenced by a number of factors.

How you select and store your food, how you prepare it, how you eat it (and, in some cases, what you eat it with) can make certain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients more “body ready” so you can take up – and use – more of that food nutrient and reap the benefits.

Food Selection and Storage – Getting the Most Nutrition

The foods you choose, and the way you store them, can affect their nutrient content.  Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables are usually your best bet – they’ve likely been picked at their peak and have had less time in transit and storage – both of which can diminish nutrient content.   But frozen foods run a close second – they’ve generally processed very soon after harvest, which locks nutrition in.

Some food nutrients, such as vitamin C, can be lost when fruits and vegetables are exposed to light and air – and this is particularly true if the food has been cut open (skins and peels help protect vitamin content).  So, while pre-cut fruits and vegetables are convenient – and many of us use them from time to time – it’s best to start with whole foods whenever possible to retain the most nutrients.

Storage conditions matter, too.  For instance, tomatoes and watermelon have more lycopene (the antioxidant pigment that gives them their red color) when they’re stored at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. On the other hand, vitamin C – in foods like citrus fruits and broccoli – is better preserved in the cold temperature of your refrigerator.

Food Preparation – Getting the Most Nutrition

Certain food nutrients – most notably the colorful compounds in fruits and vegetables known as carotenoids – are bound tightly to the cells of the plant.  So, in order to increase the bioavailability of compounds like lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene, these phytonutrients have to be released somehow.

The simplest way to release these compounds from carotenoid-rich foods like carrots or spinach is to simply chop them into smaller pieces (another good reason toss them in the blender when you make your protein shakes in the morning!).  It gives your digestive enzymes more surface area to work with, and makes these compounds more bioavailable.

Carotenoids are also fat-soluble, which means that a small amount of fat helps to make these compounds more bioavailable.  The same holds true for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  It doesn’t take much fat, though – only the equivalent of a teaspoon or so, which is an amount likely to be in most typical meals.

Cooking helps to release carotenoids, too, since the cooking process helps to break down cell walls which releases the food nutrients and makes them more body-ready.  Gentle cooking can also destroy certain “anti-nutritional” factors in certain foods.  For example, raw Brussels spouts and cabbage contain enzymes that can interfere with the bioavailability of thiamin, but the enzymes are destroyed when the vegetables are cooked – and thiamin becomes bioavailable.

Foods that have been allowed to ferment or sprout may have more bioavailable nutrients, too.  Foods like yogurt, pickles, tempeh or kimchi are examples of fermented foods.  As they go through the fermentation process, the carbohydrates naturally contained in these foods are turned into mild acids, which increases the bioavailability of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.

Whole grains and beans contain a compound called phytic acid, which can bind minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc so that they’re less body-ready.  But, when wheat is “fermented” into bread with yeast or sourdough (or when a bread is made from sprouted grains), more of the minerals in the grain are bioavailable. Similarly, when you eat sprouted beans, more minerals become bioavailable, too.

Food Combinations – Getting the Most Nutrition

Another way to increase bioavailability is by eating certain food nutrients in combination. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is why most milk sold in the US is fortified with vitamin D – to increase the bioavailability of milk’s calcium.  Another way to pair vitamin D and calcium is to eat leafy greens – which contain calcium – with fatty fish, which contains vitamin D.

Vitamin C is a huge help when it comes to absorbing iron from plant sources.  When beans (a good source of iron) are cooked with tomatoes (a good source of vitamin C), the combination can double or even triple the bioavailability of the iron.

Vitamin C has also been shown to help make some of the beneficial compounds in green tea more body-ready.  Green tea contains unique compounds that act as antioxidants in the body, so adding lemon to tea would help make them more bioavailable.

And if you like black pepper, it does more than just add flavor to foods.  Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which stimulates your pancreas to release digestive enzymes, and has been shown to increase the bioavailability of selenium, beta carotene and vitamin B6, as well as certain phytonutrients found in spices.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


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Are You Getting Enough of These Five Nutrients?

by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND


Not eating enough fruits, vegetables and dairy products? You’re not alone, and you might be missing out on some important nutrients.

Unfortunately, many people are eating too much, yet getting too little nutrition. Many of us are eating too many calories from foods that are loaded down with fats and sugar, but these may also lack important vitamins and minerals. At the same time, we’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables, which are some of the richest sources of vitamins and minerals. And, because many of us don’t consume enough dairy products, it’s tough to meet needs for calcium and Vitamin D.

Related Article: 4 proven tips to help you unlock food nutrients and reap the benefits

So, it should come as no surprise that the vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in many diets are the same ones that are abundant in fruits, veggies and dairy products. Are you eating enough to meet your needs for these five nutrients?

Folic Acid

Why you need it. Folic acid – or folate, which is the form in which it exists in foods – is one of eight B-vitamins that are needed for the manufacture and maintenance of cells, particularly during periods of rapid cell growth, which is why it is so important that women consume adequate amounts both before and during pregnancy. Folic acid is also used to manufacture genetic material, as well as red blood cells, which help carry oxygen throughout the body.

Where you find it. The words folic acid and folate derive from the Latin word folium, which means leaf, and for a good reason. This vitamin is abundant in green leafy vegetables. You can also find folate in asparagus, broccoli, avocado and citrus fruits, as well as nuts and beans.

Vitamin A

Why you need it. A key function of Vitamin A is to support proper vision. It is a critical player in the transmission of electrical signals from the eye to the brain. Vitamin A also supports the health of skin and mucous membranes, which act as barriers against infection, and also supports reproductive and immune system function.

Where you find it. Vitamin A is found in its active form – a form that the body is ready to use – in a few animal foods, such as liver, eggs and butter. But most people get the bulk of their Vitamin A in the in the form of beta-carotene, a compound that provides deep green, yellow and orange color to many fruits and vegetables, which the body can easily convert into the active form of Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is found in many colorful foods, including carrots, winter squash, peaches, apricots, papaya, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and broccoli.


Why you need it. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and nearly all of it is stored in your bones and teeth. Most people know how important calcium is in keeping these tissues healthy, but it plays other critical roles: calcium plays a role in muscle contraction and helps to regulate your heartbeat, and helps cells in your nervous system to communicate with one another.

Where you find it. Although most people look to dairy products first – and they are the richest sources of calcium – you can also find it in leafy green vegetables, tofu, beans and almonds.

Vitamin D

Why you need it. Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive tract, so it is vitally important in helping the body to form and maintain healthy teeth and bones, where these minerals are stored. Vitamin D is also necessary for proper muscle function and it supports activity of the immune system.

Where you find it. Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body is able to manufacture this vitamin in the skin when it is exposed to sufficient sunlight. However, many people may not have adequate sun exposure due to many factors, including lifestyle or use of sunscreen, to produce adequate amounts. There are only a few natural food sources of Vitamin D – the primary ones being fatty fish, egg yolks and liver, which is why milk can be a valuable source. In many countries, milk is fortified with Vitamin D.


Why you need it. Potassium helps the central nervous system send its impulses throughout the body, it helps maintain healthy blood pressure, and it also helps you to efficiently extract energy from your food. And, all your muscles, including your heart muscle, need potassium in order to properly contract.

Where you find it. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with potassium. The best fruit sources include melons, bananas, avocados, apricots, citrus fruits and strawberries. The highest potassium vegetables are tomatoes, carrots, spinach and broccoli. Milk, along with its calcium and Vitamin D, is also a good source of potassium.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


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How to create a personalized diet plan

by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND


When you have a sample diet plan laid out for you, it can help you learn proper portions sizes and keep your calorie intake in check.

Patients often ask me to provide them with sample diet plans – these can be especially useful if you’re just starting out and don’t really know what you should be eating, or how much. So this week, I’ve decided to share my sample diet plans with you, too.

Related Article: How to pack a healthy lunch – 13 snack-busting ideas

We’re going to go through this process step-by-step, so today’s post will give you an overview of the steps you’ll take in creating your own sample  diet plan. First, you’ll want to become familiar with portion sizes of the various foods within each food group that will make up your diet plan – that’s today’s lesson. Then, over the next few days, I will post sample 3-day diet plans containing 1200 calories, 1500 calories, 1800 calories or 2200 calories per day so you can choose the plan that best suits your needs.

Each plan consists of three meals and at least one snack. That’s why I include one mid-afternoon snack for everyone, with additional snacks at the higher calorie levels.

Creating a diet meal plan step by step

Step 1. Learn what foods to eat at each meal and snack

To keep things simple, I like to break down each meal or snack into simple units – protein, fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, starch/grain, protein snacks, and ‘taste enhancers’. Each diet plan has its own basic structure based on these simple units. That way, it’s easy to remember what you should eat at each meal. Here are the basic structures for the different calorie levels:

1200 Calorie Diet Plan

Breakfast: 1 Protein + 1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired)

Lunch: 1 Protein + 1 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Taste Enhancer

Snack: 1 Protein Snack + 1 Fruit or Vegetable

Dinner: 1 Protein + 1 Starch/Grain + 2 Vegetables + Leafy Greens + 1 Taste Enhancer

Snack: 1 Fruit

1500 Calorie Diet Plan

Breakfast: 1 Protein + 1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired)

Lunch: 1 Protein + 1 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Starch + 1 Taste Enhancer + 1 Fruit

Snack: 1 Protein Snack + 1 Vegetable

Dinner: 2 Protein + 1 Starch/Grain + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Taste Enhancer

Snack: 1 Fruit

1800 Calorie Diet Plan

Breakfast: 1 Protein +1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired)

Snack: 1 Protein Snack

Lunch: 2 Protein + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens +1 Starch/Grain + 1 Taste Enhancer + 1 Fruit

Snack: 1 Protein Snack + 1 Fruit or Vegetable

Dinner: 2 Protein + 1 Starch/Grain + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Taste Enhancer

Snack: 1 Fruit

2200 Calorie Diet Plan

Breakfast: 2 Protein +1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired) + 1 Starch/Grain

Snack: 1 Protein Snack

Lunch: 2 Protein + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens +1 Starch/Grain + 1 Taste Enhancer + 1 Fruit

Snack: 1 Protein Snack + 1 Fruit or Vegetable

Dinner: 2 Protein + 2 Starch/Grain + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 2 Taste Enhancer

Snack: 1 Fruit

Step 2. Learn your portion sizes

Once you know the basic breakdown of your meal plan, the next step is to get familiar with the portion sizes within each of the food groups. This is one of the most important factors in keeping your calories in check. Each of the following items in each group count as one portion.

PROTEIN – The proteins listed below are low in fat, and are the protein foods you should choose most often. Higher fat meats and dairy products, for instance, will have more calories.

1 protein unit is:

  • 1 cup (250g) plain or vanilla nonfat yogurt or nonfat cottage cheese
  • 3 ounces (85g) cooked poultry or lean meat
  • 4 ounces (100g) cooked fish or shellfish
  • 2 scoops Herbalife Formula 1 + 1 cup (250 ml) nonfat or lowfat milk*
  • 1 whole egg + 4 egg whites OR 7 egg whites
  • 5 ounces (125g) tofu

FRUIT – Fresh or frozen fruits are generally better choices than dried fruits or fruit juices, since you will be getting the largest portion size for the calories you are eating. But I’ve listed fruit portions in various forms so you can choose for yourself.

1 fruit unit is:

  • 1 cup (80g) of cut fruit or berries
  • 1 average piece of fruit (apple, orange, banana, etc)
  • 1 small handful of dried fruit
  • ½ cup (125 ml) 100% fruit juice

VEGETABLE – With the exception of starchy vegetables (such as corn and peas, which are listed with the starches) vegetables have the fewest calories per bite of any foods. In fact, the calories in leafy greens such as lettuce are so low, that they can be eaten in any amount.

1 vegetable unit is:

  • 1 cup (80g) any vegetable
  • Leafy greens – any amount.

STARCH/GRAIN – The foods listed in this group are whole grain – they provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber than refined “white” starches like white rice or white bread. Try to choose whole grains whenever possible.

1 starch/grain unit is:

  • ½ cup (150g) cooked grain (rice, pasta, quinoa, etc), beans, lentils, corn kernels or peas
  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • ½ large potato, white or sweet
  • 1 cup (250g) cooked rolled oats
  • 2 corn tortillas

PROTEIN SNACKS – Protein snacks contain fewer calories and less protein than a full portion of protein. These smaller protein “boosts” during the day help to keep hunger at bay.

1 protein snack is:

  • 1 Herbalife Protein Snack Bar Deluxe
  • 1 ounce (30g) roasted soy nuts
  • 1 cup (250 ml) nonfat or lowfat milk
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) hummus
  • ½ cup (125g) nonfat cottage cheese or flavored yogurt
  • 1 ounce (30g) lowfat mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup (85 g) edamame soybeans

TASTE ENHANCERS – Small amounts of fats or sweets can be used to add flavor to your foods, but each of the following items contains 60-75 calories, which is why I limit them in the diet plans. Although avocado is technically a fruit, most of its calories come from fat, so it’s counted as a taste enhancer. Similarly, while nuts do contain modest amounts of protein, most of the calories in nuts also come from fat, so they are placed here.

1 taste enhancer is:

  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive, canola, sunflower or safflower oil
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) reduced-calorie salad dressing
  • ¼ medium avocado
  • small handful of nuts
  • ½ ounce (15g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon (20g) jam, jelly, honey, syrup, sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) light cream for coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) low fat sour cream or low fat mayonnaise

FREE FOODS – Some food items have so few calories that they are considered free. Use the following as you wish:

  • Mustard
  • Vinegar
  • Herbs and spices
  • Garlic, onion
  • Lemon, lime juices
  • Salsa, hot pepper sauces, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce
  • Extracts (vanilla, peppermint, etc)
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Soy sauce
  • Calorie-free beverages and sweeteners
  • Pan sprays for cooking

Step 3. Create your menus

Now that you’re familiar with the portion sizes for the different food groups, it’s time to put the meal plans together. Using the basic structure for the calorie level you choose, you can now “plug in” foods from each of the food groups to create your own diet plan.

Watch for my posts to follow, in which I’ll share my 3-day diet plans for 1200 calories, 1500 calories, 1800 calories and 2200 calories.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.


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7 Tips to avoid ‘skin pollution’

by Jacquie Carter


Do you live in an urban environment? City life has its perks but one downside can be the effects of pollution on your skin. Here are 7 tips to deal with what I call ‘skin pollution.’

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York that most people would consider the ‘country.’ When it came to my skin, pollution wasn’t something I had to be very concerned with. There was minor traffic, an occasional pile of burning leaves in the fall and there was always an abundance of fresh, clean air. Once I left ‘the country’ I saw just how different environmental factors are in other parts of the world, especially in urban cities.

I’ve travelled to some wonderful cities around the world, to areas where pollution is a huge problem. It’s astounding what you can find on a white washcloth after walking through a busy city at the end of the day. Trust me—it’s not a pretty sight! The effects of air pollution are many and can include skin feeling, irritation and even premature aging to name a few. Pollution can also zap your skin of its healthy glow and leave it looking dull in appearance.

This got me thinking… Should we take extra steps to care for skin if we’re exposed to high pollution areas? Let’s take a good look at pollution, understand how it affects our skin and learn what we can do to counter those effects.

What is Pollution?

Pollution comes in different forms. There’s visible pollution that you can literally wipe off of your skin and see on your washcloth. And there’s pollution that comes in gas form such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur, carbon monoxide and so on that aren’t so visible. Bottom line, all forms of pollution can collect on your skin and create an unhealthy barrier.

So what does pollution actually do to your skin? Pollution can be responsible for skin dryness, dullness, clogged pores, some allergic reactions, skin irritations, inflammation and my least favorite… premature aging. And the worst part is, this is the short list! Pollution can really affect our face, neck and hands as these are the areas that are most exposed on a regular basis. Pollution can make skin extra sensitive and when that happens, it becomes much more susceptible to certain skin irritations.

We can break drown pollution simply into two categories: indoor and outdoor pollution. A few examples of indoor pollution include:

•   Secondhand smoke

•   Dust mites

•   Mold

•   Carbon monoxide

•   Soot from wood stoves and fireplaces

•   Air fresheners

•   Pet Dander

•   Chemical sprays including hair sprays, furniture polish, glass cleaners, perfumes

Indoor pollutants can cause dry skin and irritation.  So what can you do?  The first thing is to improve the overall air quality by allowing fresh air into your home as often as possible. Open windows or doors on both sides of your home to create a real cross breeze. By constantly freshening the air, you can help dilute the levels of pollution, which can be of great benefit to your skin. Of course, if you live in an area that’s heavily polluted with outdoor pollutants, try to keep the air in your home as clean as possible. Commit to freshening up your home on a regular basis to get rid of things like pet dander and dust.

Some examples of outdoor pollutants include:

•   Smog

•   Dirt, Dust and Debris

•   Vehicle exhaust

•   Carbon Monoxide from fires and fuel combustion

•   Ozone

•   Nitrous Oxides

•   Toxic metals such as mercury and lead

•   Ammonia

And the list goes on and on…

Outdoor pollutants are detrimental because they increase the number of free radicals in our environment (which, studies have shown, are damaging to the skin). Free radicals can damage cells over time by encouraging oxidation.

Is there anything we can do minimize the effects of pollution on our skin? Absolutely! Here are a few quick tips to help counter the negative affects of pollution on the skin.

Double Cleanse

Your first step is to remove pollutants and dirt from your skin through proper cleansing.  For those living in high pollution areas, you may want to do a ‘double cleanse.’ Choose a cleanser for your skin type that has no added sulfates. Give your skin a thorough cleansing specifically to remove the surface residue such as your makeup, dirt, excess oils and any chemicals you may have come into contact with.  Once you’ve done that it’s a good idea to give it another quick cleansing. This way, you can be sure that you removed all the surface impurities and have thoroughly cleaned your skin. If your pores are clogged, you may experience a few breakouts and it’s a good indication that you need to cleanse your skin a bit better.

Believe it or not, there are visible signs that you aren’t cleansing your skin properly. If your skin feels uneven it may be an indication that there is something lodged in there. This is most common on your cheeks, chin and nose area.  Trust me, it’s not attractive. The good news is that just a bit of extra cleansing on a daily basis may help.

Scrub the pollution away

Exfoliating your skin on a very regular basis can help guard against negative affects of pollution from building up on your skin, giving it that dull, drab appearance.  A good scrubbing helps to deep clean your pores and remove the dirt, oil and debris.

Double Down on Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to fend off free radical damage and can support healthy-looking skin when taken internally. You can do this in the form of a iet. Antioxidants to benefit the upper layers of the skin are also available in skin care products. Look for cleansers, moisturizers, and serums that contain antioxidant vitamins C and E. They can help to counteract the pollution we encounter from urban environments.

Use a good moisturizer

Moisturizers will provide your skin with antioxidant support and help hydrate your skin. Most importantly, a moisturizer will help to create a barrier between your skin and pollution.

Avoid rush hour

For the sake of your skin, it’s always best to avoid being in pollution heavy areas during rush hour. The more automobiles on the road, the more pollution you’ll be exposed to. It’s as easy as that.

Wear Sunscreen

There is never a reason NOT to wear sunscreen when going outside—I’m sure you knew that. As a friendly reminder, it’s imperative to always protect your skin from the damaging UV rays.

Stay hydrated

Water is good for your body and great for your skin. By drinking more water, you can help keep your skin hydrated. You should also load up on fresh fruits with a high water content. Look for antioxidant enriched citrus fruits, watermelon and apples for a delicious, hydrating snack.


It’s almost impossible to avoid pollution. By following these simple tips, hopefully you can reduce some of the damage that pollution can cause to your skin. If you live in a highly polluted area, I would love to hear your favorite tips on how you deal with pollution in the comments section below.

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at Herbalife. Discover the HerbalifeSKIN line here.


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6 tips to help you stop skipping breakfast

by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND


If you regularly skip breakfast, try these small steps to establish a healthy breakfast habit.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” 

“Eat breakfast like a king!” 

“Eat diamonds for breakfast and shine the whole day!”

For those who eat breakfast regularly, they’re words to live by.  But what if you skip breakfast?  You hear those words, and you just feel guilty. You know you should eat, but it’s hard if you’ve been up for hours and your stomach is still sleeping in. You know that breakfast really is important – and that the right foods in the morning really can help you “shine all day”.  So the question is, why aren’t you hungry?  And is there anything you can do about it?

Figuring out why you can’t face food in the morning can be tricky.  Sometimes it’s just a long-standing habit – you just never got into the breakfast routine.  And, since you manage to get through your morning okay, you just tell yourself you don’t really need to eat.  Maybe you aren’t hungry in the morning because you routinely eat an enormous dinner and snack all night until bedtime.  Maybe you simply don’t like breakfast food or you just rely on a pot of strong black coffee to get you going.

Those who don’t eat in the morning have likely heard all the reasons they should try to break the breakfast-skipping habit.  But just in case you need a reminder – here’s a quick recap.  When you get up in the morning, you’ve gone a pretty long stretch without eating.  And even though you’ve been sleeping, your body has been tapping into stored fuel to keep your systems going.  So if you don’t top off your tank in the morning, you’ll lack the mental and physical energy you need to get through your workout and your workday. Not only that, the breakfast habit is associated with better weight management and a better diet overall.  The vast majority of those who have successfully lost weight, and kept it off, eat breakfast nearly every day. On the other hand, people who skip breakfast consume more fat, cholesterol, calories, and sugar – and fewer fruits and vegetables – than those who routinely eat breakfast.

Here are some tips to help you to eat better in the morning, so you, too, can “shine all day”:

Start small and light

Ease into the habit with small portions of easy-to-digest foods that are nutrient-packed.  Try a protein shake with fruit, or a dab of nonfat cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg with a piece of fruit on the side.

Include some protein

Protein is important because it not only helps to keep you satisfied, it also helps keep you mentally alert.  And one study showed that those who eat a high protein breakfast take in 200 fewer calories during the evening.

Break your meal into small snacks

You don’t need to eat your entire meal at once. Sip on your shake throughout the morning, or have your cottage cheese or egg first, and your fruit an hour or so later.

Get up 15 minutes earlier

An extra 15 minutes in the morning can make all the difference to those who are rushed to get out the door.  You’ll not only have time to make something quick, you’ll also give your system a chance to wake up.

Eat what appeals to you

There’s no rule that says you have to eat ‘breakfast food’ in the morning.  A few bites of leftover chicken and veggie stir-fry might just do the trick.

Don’t rely on just ‘coffee and a muffin’

Many people think they’re not really eating breakfast when they grab “just a coffee and a pastry” at the coffee store. But that innocent looking coffee drink coupled with a bran muffin could dump more than 700 calories and 6 teaspoons of grease into your system.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.


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