Stroll the aisles of your local pharmacy and you’ll find over-the-counter treatments for all kinds of conditions, from heartburn to thinning hair. But did you know solutions for whatever ails you may be as close as your kitchen? Many common foods can do double-duty as simple and effective homeopathic remedies.
Have a sunburn or burn easily? Reach for dark chocolate! In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, appears to protect against skin cancer and promote healthy skin. In the study, women who added flavonoid-rich hot cocoa to their breakfast during a three month period had 25 percent less skin reddening after UV light exposure and doubled blood flow in the skin, increasing moisture levels and reducing dryness.
Brittle hair and flaky scalp? Zinc found in oysters and other mollusks is essential for hair growth and it helps the oil glands around the hair follicles work properly. Strawberries have more vitamin C per serving than oranges or grapefruit, and vitamin C isn’t just good for warding off colds. Our body use vitamin C to produce sebum, an oily substance that gets secreted by hair follicles and acts as a natural hair and scalp conditioner.
Have a hangover headache or need a migraine relief? Maybe you’ve heard that ginger can help soothe your stomach, but did you know it can help relieve a migraine, too? Danish researchers have discovered that ginger can block the effects of prostaglandins - substances that cause inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain leading to headaches, including migraines.
Is your skin dry? Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish such as salmon and tuna help skin retain moisture, which in turn promotes a healthy, youthful look. Berries, especially strawberries, contain lots of vitamin C and once again this wonder vitamin does great things for our skin. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that generous consumption of vitamin C resulted in fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness.
Trying to hide red, puffy eyes? To relieve blood shot eyes, reduce under eye circles and soothe hot achy skin, eat more vegetables with natural cooling properties, such as cucumbers, celery and even sliced zucchini. Each of these has high water content that can help moisturize eyes while drying out puffiness. Vitamin C in citrus fruits and berries has also been found to help reduce inflammation and helps reduce puffy eyes.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.