Beauty secret found in fruits and vegetables has anti-aging properties

Anti-Aging Beauty Secret Discovered in the Produce Aisle

Beauty secret found in fruits and vegetables has anti-aging properties

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Finding the secret to beautiful skin as you age is as simple as turning the pages of your family album. Just look at the photographs of your parents and grandparents to find the clues to how your skin might look as you get older. That’s because genetics play a big role in the appearance of your skin.

But is there a beauty secret for those of us who didn’t inherit the gene?

Eat More Antioxidants

The quality of your diet affects every organ in your body and your skin is no exception. Proper nutrition also has an effect on the overall aging process, so eating foods that inhibit or slow down aging holds the secret to more beautiful skin as well.

The best anti-aging foods are the ones rich in anti-oxidants.

Free radicals are formed as a consequence of our daily exposure to oxygen and pollutants in the environment. If left unchecked, they damage and destroy healthy cells in the body. Antioxidants prevent that process from getting out of control. Today, our bodies cannot produce as many antioxidants as we need to control the large numbers of free radicals we form, so we must to consume more foods rich in antioxidants to supply them.

Feed the Skin From Within

Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants are abundant in the produce aisle. They’re easy to identify because of their rich, deep colors. In fact, the pigments of fruits and vegetables are a clue to their antioxidant content.

Research has also found that eating those colorful pigments from fruits and vegetables gives you a rosier complexion, which is associated with increased attractiveness.

Studies done at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland found red and yellow plant pigments, known as carotenoids, are distributed to the surface of the skin when we eat enough of the produce containing them. Another study found the change in the skin’s color associated with eating these pigments was perceived as healthier looking and more attractive.

The changes in skin color were perceptible after six weeks when subjects ate three portions a day of the carotene-rich produce, including yams, carrots, spinach, pumpkin, peaches, apricots tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon. Those whose diets that did not include these foods became paler.

This study supports others that demonstrate diets high in antioxidants can slow the signs of aging and the development of skin cancer. But the best news of all is that it doesn’t matter who your relatives are to take advantage of this beauty treatment!

What’s your favorite recipe for beautiful skin?

Signs of an eating disorder need to be evaluated regardless of age

Eating Disorder in Midlife Often Overlooked


This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

The recent sudden death of a 65 year old woman I know made me wonder if she wasn’t one of those women who struggled with an undetected eating disorder in the final two decades of her life. She had become “painfully thin” and looked so frail I couldn’t imagine how she stood up on her own. When I saw her at social gatherings, she never had a plate of food. And although she had some medical problems, her death came as a shock to everyone who knew her.

There’s plenty of evidence to show women do not stop caring about their weight as they age. How they deal with it separates the perpetual dieters from those with anorexia, bulimia or other disordered eating. Unfortunately, the societal pressures on women to be thin have become so persistent that women over 40 are just as likely to have eating disorders as those under 40.

The appearance of an eating disorder in an older woman is often the resurfacing of a problem that started in her youth. Anyone who learned at a young age to cope with stress by controlling her appetite is susceptible to resuming those coping mechanisms when life gets difficult. For women over 40, the trigger may be a trauma, such as the end of a marriage, loss of a loved one, or onset of menopause.

But even a woman who never dieted in her 20s can resort to unhealthy food restriction in her 50s when she realizes her tummy is not flat as it used to be. A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders in June 2012 found 62% of women age 50 and older said their weight negatively impacted their lives.

The danger for older women is that they are not as readily diagnosed as young girls. Changes in the eating habits of a teenager are noticed by her parents, as is a sudden drop in weight or the absence of menstruation. Since weight loss and a diminished appetite are common side effects of many illnesses and medications, they are not as surprising when seen in an older woman.

Yet the health risks of eating disorders are just as great for older women as young. The heart muscle is weakened, cognitive function declines and bone loss accelerates. If left untreated it can lead to organ failure and death. The goal is to get treated before these problems begin.

Signs of Possible Eating Disorder

  • Excessive concern with dieting and losing weight
  • Dissatisfaction with body weight, shape, size
  • Weighing oneself more than once a day
  • Denial of hunger
  • Excessive or compulsive exercise
  • Self-induced vomiting after eating
  • Binge-eating followed by guilt, shame, regret
  • Use of laxatives, diuretics or diet pills without medical supervision

Even though eating disorders look like food issues on the outside, they are rooted in unresolved psychological issues. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression. Focusing on how much you weigh can be much easier than dealing with low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness.

It is important to remember that the behavior of someone with an eating disorder is an expression of their pain. They do not need to be told to eat more or exercise less. What they need is recognition of their pain, and an offer of help to get some relief.

Do you recognize the signs of an eating disorder in anyone you know?

Mature woman getting hair shampooed and cut by male hair stylist

Best Beauty Advice for Women: Get a Good Haircut

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.


No matter how well you disguise your body beneath your clothes, everyone can see your face. Even women who have reached their goal weight find they still have fat cheeks, a pointy chin or an angular jawline when they look in the mirror.

That’s when you realize the shape of your face is like your fingerprints. It stays with you for life.

Without even considering cosmetic surgery as an option, there are painless ways to redefine the shape and appearance of your face. In my previous post, I shared tips from my book The Wedding Dress Diet to help any woman select the perfect dress to flatter her figure without having to diet and exercise like a fiend to fit into the wrong dress. Now I’m ready to deliver Part II: Beauty advice for women that flatters your natural features.

Looking Younger From the Neck Up

The shape of your eyebrows, the contour of your blush and right shade of lipstick can all be used accentuate your natural beauty. If you don’t believe me, just ask a drag queen! The art of deception is their specialty, but those of us who dress as women everyday can learn a lot from their secret beauty tips.

Choosing the right hairstyle is one of the most effective ways to subtly change your appearance so your best features stand out while leaving the weaker ones ignored. Depending on the shape of your face, something as simple as wearing bangs can make you look 10 years younger without investing in costly injections or facial creams.

Wear Your Hair to Fit Your Face

Match your face to one of these shapes and see if a new hairstyle doesn’t help you put your best face forward.

Square face – If this description fits you, the width of your forehead, cheekbones and jaw are about equal, with a sharp angular jawline. To soften those corners, surround them with curls, layers or uneven ends. You can also get away with short, spiky cuts, but will draw attention to your jaw with a chin-length bob or wide straight bangs.

Round face – The difference between this face shape and a square one is that round faces don’t have sharp angles. The corners are round and soft. Long hair will help lengthen your face, so let it grow a few inches below your chin or longer. If you have a natural wave, scrunch your hair as it dries to let those soft waves surround your face, but avoid tight curls that will make your round cheeks look fuller.

Diamond face – This description means the width of your forehead and chin are the same while your cheekbones are wider. You can wear the same cuts as someone with a square face, especially long straight hair parted in the middle.

Long or Narrow face – Since your face is longer than it is wide, you need to create some width. You can do that with bangs, whether straight across or swept to the side. A straight, chin-length bob will also provide the illusion of a wider face, just don’t let it get too long or it will drag your face down. You can, however, wear your bob cut with soft curls to provide fullness around your face.

Heart-Shaped face – Since your face is shaped like and inverted triangle, widest at the forehead and pointy at the chin, you need a cut that draws the eyes away from your chin. Side-swept bangs and a strong part will help, and wearing it long or short, just not chin length.

Oval face – If the length of your face is 1 ½ times the width you’ve got the most versatile shape when it comes to hairstyles. You can wear your hair long or short, straight or curly, or go with an edgy uneven cut. To make your haircut really pay off, be sure it highlights your best facial feature – eyes, cheekbones, lips.

The most valuable beauty tip of all is one that has always been free and is universally recognized as a sign of attractiveness. Smile. With or without the cameras on you, a warm smile is your best asset.

Bride, bridesmaids and mothers in different gowns at a wedding reception

Perfect Wedding Dress Designs: No Dieting Required

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.


Wedding season is here, a dangerous time for any woman in a bridal party. All eyes used to be riveted on the bride, but our image-conscious culture now expects everyone in her entourage to look picture perfect. And there will be plenty of pictures, from scenic location poses to live action videos to the endless candid shots taken by anyone with a cell phone.

As a result, every woman related to the bride or groom, from great-grandmothers to step-cousins, will want to look thinner, firmer, and younger for the wedding. Fortunately, there’s a way to do that without having to starve, sweat, or undergo surgery!

The Non-Diet Way to Fit Into a Dress

When I wrote The Wedding Dress Diet it was in response to all of the calls I received as a consulting nutritionist from brides-to-be who wanted my help getting in shape for their wedding day, or more specifically, their perfect wedding dress. They were determined to whittle their waistlines, tone their triceps, and boost their butts and boobs in order to zip up the dress of their dreams.

My goal for the book was to help newly engaged women of all shapes and sizes buy the best bridal gowns for their figures, then guide them through a sensible eating and exercise plan that would allow her to easily slip it on before the final fitting.

I soon found out this was advice every woman could use before buying a party dress for a big event.

You Can’t Diet Yourself Taller

The first step is taking stock of the things you can’t change and what you can do in spite of them. Choosing the right wedding dress design can add curves where you want them or minimize them where you don’t, all without extreme diet and exercise regimens.

Too Tall – If you’re tall and want to visually knock off a few inches, choose a dropped waistline. Your height will also allow you to wear tiered dresses or those with contrasting patterns and colors that break up the visual canvas.

Very Short – If you’re short and want to look taller, consider a high waistline, such as an empire waist, with the seam just under the bust line to make your torso appear longer. Other elongating options include a column dress in a single shade or with a vertical pattern.

Broad Shoulders – You can make them appear narrower by choosing a draped, wide-collared dress or V-neck, but not a deeply scooped neckline. Also steer clear of shoulder pads, puffy sleeves and halter necks.

Boney Shoulders – Detract attention from them with a high neckline and a simple capped sleeve. Puffy sleeves will dwarf you and clingy fabrics will show every protruding bone.

Big Bust – You can minimize your endowment by drawing the eye away from the chest with an elongated bodice that drops to a V in the center of the front of the dress. Detailing on the hemline, such as lace, will also keep the eye going down. Avoid a dress that is pinched at your natural waistline, a plunging neckline, and any froufrou on the bodice.

If you want to accentuate your voluptuousness, go for a strapless or off-shoulder gown, a V-neck or a high-necked bodice with a keyhole or cut-outs at the throat.

Small Bust – A higher waistline in a dress will give the illusion of having more up top, as will a strapless sheath that has shirring, ruffles, beads or other embellishments over the bust. Avoid plunging necklines, low waistlines and unfitted gowns with no defined shape.

Thick Waist – Look for a slightly higher, banded waistline seam attached to an A-line below.

Tiny Waist – You can emphasize this asset with an A-line dress due to its fitted bodice and waist that flares gradually below the waist or a Princess design that is snug on top with a seamless waistline that flares slightly at the hemline.

Wide Hips – Reach for a halter neckline to pull the eyes away from your hips and any type of contrast or embellishment on the bodice that will keep the eye focused up rather than down. Wrap-around dresses do a nice job of cinching you in at the waist and gently flowing over what lies below the waist.

Narrow Hips – You must take advantage of a flared skirt to convince your admirers that there is more width underneath that fabric than is actually there. For the same reason, avoid straight shifts that have no defined waist, but if you must wear one, belt it.

See my next blog about how to accentuate your best features from the neck up with the right hair style, make up and accessories. You might be surprised to discover what is your best asset of all.

summer grooming involves special attention to skin, hair and nails

Top 10 Ways to Get Your Body Ready for Summer

This post was written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original post here.


If your skin, hair, and nails have been hidden beneath layered clothing, woolen hats and thermal socks for the winter months, it’s time to get them ready to show off again as warm weather approaches. Use these tips to look your best when you step out into the sun in your shorts and sandals.


1. Exfoliate your body from shoulders to heels to remove dry, dead skin cells and give your skin a soft, smooth glow. While the bathtub is filling with warm (not hot) water, rub your body with oil to seal the dry, scaly patches. Submerge yourself in the water, put a mild-textured exfoliant on a clean wash cloth, and lightly rub it all over in a circular motion (do your face separately). Rinse under a warm shower, pat yourself dry, and liberally apply moisturizer, which will be absorbed more deeply into this new layer of skin.

2. Brighten and tighten your complexion with a facial mask. You will feel rejuvenated as you peel off the mask and remove dead skin cells with it. Plus, once your mask is applied it provides a perfect opportunity to relax for 15 minutes while it seals your skin in its protective shield.

3. Protect your hands from the elements when cleaning and weeding. Your skin can quickly become cracked and rough by exposure to harsh cleansers and garden soil, so wear gloves every time. For added protection, keep some moisturizer where you store your gloves so you can apply it before putting them on.

4. Block the harmful rays of the sun whenever you go out by wearing sunscreen. Replace old products whose expiration dates have past and any that were exposed to high temperatures at the beach or pool last summer, or left in a hot car.


5. Condition your hair to prepare for the humidity of summer that replaces the dryness of winter. Those weekly deep conditioning treatments may only be needed twice a month now. And if your hair starts to feel limp or oily, a lighter conditioner may be all you need after regular shampooing.

6. Highlight your hair professionally for a fresh new look without making a dramatic color change. Highlights can also give you a jump start on the natural lightening provided by the sun and be used to make a gradual shift towards a lighter shade.

7. Style your hair for the change of season so it gets a break from the old routine. If you’ve been blowing out your look, try one that can be towel dried. If you’ve been holding your hair back in a ponytail, get a cut that keeps it out of your face. And if you’ve been going straight, maybe it’s time to make some waves.


8. Soften your ragged cuticles by soaking your feet and hands in warm water. Frayed cuticles leave your nails prone to infections, but clipping can damage this protective skin. Instead, soak and soften the cuticles, then gently push them back with a washcloth. Then you can blot them dry and apply cuticle oil for stronger, healthier nails.

9. Resume regular pedicures so the stubbly toes and calloused heels that have been hidden in boots are ready for sandals. Make a standing appointment in your favorite salon and enjoy the pampering that only a pedicure can provide.

10. Paint your fingers and toes in contrasting colors to announce spring 2013 has arrived. Creamy pastels, pearlized nudes and colors with sparkle and texture make up this season’s palette.

exercising and eating right are part of a healthy lifestyle

10 Ways to Improve Your Health

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the post here.


With all the talk about who should pay for healthcare we sometimes forget the most important way to lower healthcare costs is by taking good care of ourselves. While some illnesses are unavoidable, most are preventable. Use these 10 Ways to Improve Your Health as your premium payment for the best health insurance policy money can’t buy.

1. Curb Excesses – If you have an addiction or compulsive behavior, such as smoking or drinking excessively, it will deplete your physical condition and your bank account. Investing in professional help to treat them now will reap returns in improved health and wealth for the rest of your life.

2. Express Yourself – Everyone needs an emotional outlet to relieve the normal stresses of everyday life. Don’t be afraid to cry when you hurt or laugh out loud when something strikes you funny. Some people turn to writing their thoughts in a journal to express themselves, while others use creative outlets like music, art or even cooking.

3. Maintain Your Smile – Not brushing your teeth properly can be as damaging to your health as not brushing at all. Bacteria in the mouth that is not removed by good oral care may contribute to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. And since the health of your teeth is directly connected to the quality of your diet, the effort pays off in more ways than one.

4. Take Precautions – Accidents are the fifth major cause of death in the United States. Basic safety measures can prevent many of them and reduce the severity of the injuries that may occur. Make sure you always wear a seat belt, drive within the speed limit, wear sun glasses and sun screen when outdoors, use the right sports gear, and are careful around ladders and water.

5. Eat Well – Focusing on health instead of weight when making food choices pays big dividends with every bite since good nutrition is the best preventive medicine there is. Even if you can’t lose all the weight you should, it’s worth eating well to reduce your risk of chronic diseases, including many types of cancer.

6. Make Face Time – Connecting with family and friends on Face Book and other social networks is fine, but should not replace face-to-face meetings. A small but close circle of people you can spend time with is more valuable to your quality of life than having hundreds of friends you never see or talk to.

7. Move More – Instead of thinking about all of the exercise you’re supposed to be doing, just try to get up out of your chair to stand, pace or put your body in motion whenever you can. The goal is to decrease the number of hours a day you spend sitting. Medical experts found women who sit more than six hours a day are 94% more likely to die than those who are not inactive for long periods of time.

8. Check-Up + Follow Up – Just like birthdays and anniversaries, routine dental and medical check-ups should be permanent dates on your calendar. If you keep these annual appointments with your primary care physician and dentist you will have fewer unscheduled visits to treat pain and problems that could have been prevented.

9. Stretch Often – The benefits of routine stretching include improved circulation, stress relief, more flexible joints, and better balance so fewer falls. A good time to do some total body stretches is before getting out of bed in the morning or after a shower when the muscles are warmed up.

10. Sleep Enough – Something as basic as sleep is difficult for the millions of Americans who suffer from sleep disorders. Sleep deprivation increases the risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lowered immune response, accidents, depression and early death. Treating sleep as a necessity, not a luxury, is an important way to prevent illness and prolong life.

Healthy living tips for the 50+ brought to by Crest & Oral-B ProHealth For Life.

teenage girl smoking

New Threat for Those With Teenage Smoking Habit

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the post here.


Smoking cigarettes is a rite of passage for many teenagers, but can have serious consequences for some. New research indicates people who develop a teenage smoking habit can become hooked for life if they have a certain genetic profile for nicotine addiction. The genes that get them hooked on tobacco also make it harder for them to quit as adults.

The study looked at the effects of nicotine on over 1000 men and women, starting at age 11 and continuing until they were 38 years old. Researchers followed the participants to learn when they first tried smoking, how soon after did they became daily smokers, when did they advance to being heavy smokers, did they became nicotine dependent, and what happened when tried to quit. The findings were published online in JAMA Psychiatry on March 27, 2013

Why It’s Harder For Some People to Quit Smoking Than Others

The data collected showed those with the higher genetic risk profile were:

  • not more likely to initiate smoking as teens than those without the genome
  • more likely to convert to daily smokers as teenagers
  • more likely to be smoking a pack a day by age 18
  • going to make a more rapid progression from smoking initiation to heavy smoking
  • more likely to develop nicotine dependence
  • going to smoke almost 7,300 more cigarettes than the average smoker by the time they were 38
  • more likely to fail at smoking cessation
  • going to have a higher predictability of smoking using than family history
  • not more likely to become heavy smokers if they began smoking as adults rather than as teens

Know Your Risk Before You Start

The researchers concluded that there is a “vulnerable” period during the teen years for those who have this genetic profile that makes them more susceptible to the effects of nicotine. Finding a way to identify these individuals and intervene before they take that first puff on a cigarette may be the public health success story of the 21st century.

Take a Walk While Trying to Quit

For teens who already have a smoking habit, taking a 20 minute walk several times a week while participating in the American Lung Association’s Not-On-Tobacco program may help them quit, says a study published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study involved 233 teenagers between the ages of 14-19 in West Virginia who reported smoking at least one cigarette in the past 30 days. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Brief intervention (10-15 minutes of advice about the harmful effects of smoking); participation in the Not-On-Tobacco program (N-O-T); or N-O-T plus physical activity (N-O-T+FIT).

The results supported the benefits of more physical activity for all three groups, but the best results were seen with N-O-T+FIT combination. They also found:

  • teens in all 3 groups who increased the number of days in which they had at least 20 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were more likely to significantly reduce their total number of daily cigarettes
  • teens in the N-O-T+FIT group who increased the number of days in which they exercised for 20 minutes or more were the most likely to reduce their cigarette usage
  • teens in N-O-T+FIT who exercised 30 minutes or more were more likely to quit smoking than those who similarly increased their physical activity in the other two groups
  • in all 3 groups, being active 30 minutes per day did not require a moderate-to-vigorous level to count

Getting Healthy One Step At A Time

The researchers could not tell why the exercise helped the kids reduce their smoking, but did say one healthy behavior often encourages others. They also said that even if a teen doesn’t reduce their smoking, the exercise is still good for their health.

Beware of Footwear That Can Make You Fat!

Beware of Footwear That Can Make You Fat This Holiday Season!


The holiday season is not only a challenge to your diet, it can also undermine exercise routine. If your workouts are being shortchanged by all the extra things you have to do this time of year, be prepared to move more while doing them! What you wear on your feet can make all the difference. Style is a luxury you can’t always afford when trying to stay in shape. Wear sensible shoes that let you keep moving to avoid holiday weight gain.

Pointy toes work for the Grinch, but won’t let you get through a day at work without a blister.

Pointy toes work for the Grinch, but won’t let you get through a day at work without a blister.

Untied sneakers are trendy at the Mall, but will keep you riding the escalator instead of taking the stairs.

Untied sneakers are trendy at the Mall, but will keep you riding the escalator instead of taking the stairs.

Cowboy boots are perfect if traveling by horseback, but not if you’re galloping to your subway stop.

Cowboy boots are perfect if traveling by horseback, but not if you’re galloping to your subway stop.

Rubber boots are great for puddles, not for climbing ladders to hang Christmas lights around the house.

Rubber boots are great for puddles, not for climbing ladders to hang Christmas lights around the house.

Flip Flips are fine when getting a pedicure, but won’t help you get your heart rate up walking from the parking lot.

Flip Flips are fine when getting a pedicure, but won’t help you get your heart rate up walking from the parking lot.

Plastic sandals make sense sitting by the pool, not when running a vacuum to clean up the cookie crumbs.

Plastic sandals make sense sitting by the pool, not when running a vacuum to clean up the cookie crumbs.

Strappy sandals show off your toes, but will probably get them stubbed if you try to do any last minute shopping.

Strappy sandals show off your toes, but will probably get them stubbed if you try to do any last minute shopping.


High heels are glamorous for a party, but will probably keep you in your seat instead of on the dance floor.

High heels are glamorous for a party, but will probably keep you in your seat instead of on the dance floor.