Nutrition for healthy skin

We all know that healthy eating habits contributes to healthy and fresh skin. In the same manner presence or absence of certain nutrients or foods directly effects your skin and may result in skin problems. A balanced diet is essential to prevent skin conditions . If the diet is deficient in certain nutrients the skin will look pale, discoloured and the spots will start to appear.

Following are the skin conditions which reflects that body needs change in dietary habits.

  • Flaky skin
  • Acne
  • Dryness
  • Wrinkles
  • Black spots
  • Paleness

Nutrients needed for healthy skin

Supplementation is not always needed for a good skin. A good night sleep, lots of water and variety of foods are the keys to healthy and glowing skin. It is essential to include following nutrients in your diet for a healthy and beautiful skin.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A more specifically β carotene and other carotenoid play an important role in skin repair and maintenance. Vitamin A deficiency produces characteristics changes in skin textures called phrynoderma in which the skin becomes dry, rough and scaly. At first it effects forearms and thighs but gradually covers the whole body. The healthy diet rich in vitamin A along with topical application of vitamin A rich cream help to ease the symptoms of dryness. Rich sources of vitamin A are cod , and cod liver oils, liver, cooked spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe and apricots.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the most important fat soluble antioxidant in cell. It protects membranes from degeneration caused by free radicals produced by pollution , processed foods and sun exposure . It along with other nutrients gives protection against skin cancers and premature skin aging such as wrinkles. Vitamin E rich foods are almonds, corn oil, avocados soyabean oil and mayonnaise.

Vitamin C

The topical application of vitamin C rich foods to prevent wrinkles and lightening skin tones are known to mankind since ages. Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen. A collagen is protein-on which the integrity of skin and other fibrous tissues depends. The impairment of collagen results in wrinkles and skin sagging. Good source of vitamin C are sweet yellow pepper, citrus fruits, strawberries , papaya and broccoli.


The diet based on cornmeal and lacking in high quality protein results in the deficiency of niacin. A deficiency of niacin leads to pellagra in which the skin becomes scaly, cracked and pigmented. Niacin has the ability to speed up cell metabolism . It helps to heal wounds, repair sun burns and strengthen skin tissues. Niacin is found in many foods including lean meats , poultry , fish peanuts and yeast.


Zinc is an important mineral for healthy skin. 100 different enzymes needed zinc for proper functioning . The high concentration of zinc in human body is present in liver , pancreas, kidneys,skin, hair, fingernails and toenails. Like vitamin E And C, zinc works as an antioxidant and helps to fight the free radicals formed as a result of skin exposure to sun and pollution. The deficiency of zinc results in eczematoid skin lesions in infants. Meat, fish , poultry, milk and milk products provide 80% of the total dietary zinc.


The selenium is a powerful antioxidant which along with vitamin E forms a protective action against oxidative damage. It also prevents acne and is responsible for skin firmness and elasticity. Selenium rich foods are walnuts , tuna , wheat germ and onions.

Tips for beautiful and younger looking skin

  • Drink plenty of water, almost 8-11 glasses / day.
  • Ensure full night sleep.
  • Eat variety of fruits and vegetables at least five a day.
  • A 30 minutes of walk, jogging or running improve blood flow and make skin look more fresh.
  • Eating fish twice a week provide body with essential fatty acids which helps to keep skin moist.
  • Avoid excessive use of salt and processed foods which are believed to be the main reason of acne .
  • Limit consumption of caffeine that dehydrate your skin and make skin look dry and rough.

Dental health and nutrition

The diet and nutrition of an individual plays an important role in tooth development, oral health and in the management and prevention of oral diseases . The intake of different food directly affect teeth and oral tissues and in the same manner status of oral health affects the individuals ability to consume an adequate diet.

Dental caries

Dental caries is the term used for tooth decay and cavities. The microorganism present in oral environment or tooth surface reacts with the fermentable carbohydrates in foods or drinks and cause a drop in salivary PH to 5.5 and initiate the caries process.

The factors that contributes to developing dental caries and tooth decay in adults and children are

  • Frequent consumption of fermentable carbohydrates. For example high sugar foods, fruit juices , soft drinks, desserts, cookies and cakes.
  • Duration of exposure of sugary foods to teeth which in-turn decreases the PH and causes dental caries. For example hard candies results in prolonged exposure of sugar in mouth.
  • Inadequate or inappropriate cleaning . Not brushing teeth regularly or not rinsing mouth after food.
  • Nutrient composition of food. For example dairy products are rich in calcium and phosphorus which neutralise the acid in milk and prevent tooth decay. Studies reveal milk or milk products when taken along with high sugar foods provide protection against caries.
  • Certain medical conditions are also responsible for tooth decay, for example gastrointestinal reflux , diabetes and eating disorders increase risk of cavities and weaken teeth and cause tooth eruption.

Foods responsible for dental caries

Cariogenic foods are the foods that produce and promote the development of tooth decay. Cariogenic food are high in fermentable carbohydrates ,sticky in nature that adhere to the tooth surface, reduce PH and are highly processed.

Examples of cariogenic foods are

  • High sugar and starchy foods and sugary drinks. For example, bread sweetened cereals, candies, cakes and biscuits, high sugar fruit drinks and fizzy beverages.
  • Dried fruits and toffees because of their sticky nature get stuck in cavities and cause damage.

Foods that prevent dental caries

Anti cariogenic foods are the foods that prevent plaque to recognise cariogenic foods and thus prevent tooth decay. Examples of anti cariogenic foods are

  • Milk and yogurt
  • Cheeses
  • Xylitol containing gums or sugar free gums.
  • Nuts
  • Popcorns
  • Raw vegetable
  • Fluoride in toothpaste

General guidelines to prevent dental caries

  • Brushing at least twice a day preferably after meals.
  • Rinsing your mouth with water or chew sugar free gum after every meal for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Take high sugar fruits occasionally and always with the meals rather than as a snack.
  • Avoid sipping carbonated beverages for longer period of time.
  • Use anti cariogenic foods as a snack. For example, nuts, pop corns and carrot sticks
  • Pair cariogenic foods with anti cariogenic foods. For example juices with meal and cheese with chips helps to reduce caries development.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.


Aliya Waqas

Diet and nutrition for teenagers

The period from 12 to 21 years is the period of rapid growth both physically and mentally . These changes allows teenagers to become more mature and independent, and it directly effect their dietary needs and eating patterns. A healthy balanced diet is essential for the body in order to ensure proper growth and development.

Nutrient requirements

The nutrient and caloric requirements of teenagers varies according to their gender, height, weight and physical activity levels.


The caloric requirements of teenagers vary according to the growth rate, body composition and physical activities. Teenager girls mostly require between 1600 to 2400 calories per day and boys need between 1800 to 3200 calories. However if the teenager is overweight or obese it means that caloric intake is more than the actual need. Excessive energy intake among this age group is mainly because of the intake of large amounts of solid fats and sugars. Studies reveal that approximately 34 % of the total calories comes from added sugars and solid fats. For example sweetened beverages, desserts, processes meats, pizzas and cheeses. Proper selection of food is important to avoid excessive energy intake from added sugars and high fat-foods.

Carbohydrates and fiber

The average carbohydrates requirement of teenagers are estimated to be 130 grams/ day that makes up about 45 – 65% of the total calories. One should consume about 5-8 oz of carbohydrates from grains at-least half of which should be wholegrains such as whole grain cereals, oatmeal , brown rice etc. The rest of carbohydrates should be composed of five servings of fruits and vegetables.


Protein is needed by the body for growth and repair of tissues. It is found in meat and meat products, lentils , beans and nuts. The total protein requirement for teenagers is 10-20% of the daily caloric intake. Insufficient intake of protein due to any reason can result in reduction in growth rate, and a decrease in lean body mass. However excessive protein intake can interfere with calcium metabolism and increase fluid needs.


Total fat intake of teenagers is mostly high due to the excessive intake of fast foods, pizza, cheese and processed meats. However it is recommended that the intake of fat should not exceed 30 percent of overall caloric intake . The intake of saturated fats should be limited to 7 percent of total calories. Saturated fats are found in animal fats that solidify at room temperatures.

Mineralsand vitamins

Micronutrients requirement of teenagers are high to support growth and development. Adolescent males require more vitamins and minerals with the exception of iron as compared to girls. Young adults are more susceptible to vitamin and mineral deficiency due to unhealthy eating habits.

The consumption of wide variety of foods is preferred for an adequate nutrient intake.


  • Dietary patterns

Food habits and diet patterns are the most common problems that are frequently seen in teens than the other age group, it includes excessive snacking, irregular meal times , meal skipping and excessive use of soft drinks and fast foods. In addition , excessive dieting by young adults in order to look good and attractive also contributes to Malnutrition and vitamins and mineral deficiencies.

  • Overweight and obesity

Lack of exercise and high intake of large amount of fats and sugars can lead to obesity in teenagers. Obesity have short and long term consequences in teenagers. Teenagers who are overweight are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.

  • Eating disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia, binge eating, use of laxatives or diuretics have been commonly observed in teenagers. These disorders if not treated on time can result in malnutrition and excessive or lack of weight gain.

  • Acne

The appearance of acne is at peak during adolescence. Quality of diet may influence or aggravate acne development. Young adults who consume more sugars and high fatty and fried foods are more at risk of developing acne than those who eat foods with more fruits and vegetables and less fats.

General eating guidelines for teenagers

  • Add 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables can be cooked , baked, dry or fresh.
  • Add up-to 6-11 serving of grains, preferably whole grains such as whole grain bread, chapatti, oatmeals, to meet caloric needs.
  • 2 serving from protein sources such as beef , mutton poultry or pulses and nuts is essential for proper growth and repair of body tissues.
  • Fats and high sweet foods should be consumed occasionally as a treat.
  • Never skip breakfast. Teenagers who eat breakfast as a routine are likely to have weight problems and eat fewer calories throughout a day.

Examples of healthy and delicious snacks

  • Non fat flavoured yogurt.
  • A handful of nuts
  • Air popped pop corns
  • Wholewheat biscuits
  • Oatmeal
  • Glass of skimmed milk
  • Fresh fruits such as apple , banana or fruit salad
  • Low fat tortillas
  • Salad with low fat dressing

  • by,

Aliya Waqas

Food allergies

What is food allergy ?

Food allergy commonly occurs when the body abnormally reacts to certain foods and causes functional changes in target organs.

Almost 40 % the population worldwide is suffering from any sort of food allergies. Infants younger than two years are more at risk of developing food allergies than older children and adults. The risk of developing food allergies depends largely on hereditary and environmental factors .

Symptoms of food allergies

The symptoms of food allergies appears within minutes to few hours after the intake of allergic food. The symptoms vary from mild to severe ranging from minor abdominal pain to severe hypotension and unconsciousness. Gastrointestinal symptoms are more frequent followed by the skin and respiratory system. The most severe and life threatening allergic reaction to food is Anaphylaxis which can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, low blood pressure, unconsciousness or even death.

Common symptoms of food allergies include one or more of the following ;

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • GI bleeding
  • Hives ( redness ,swollen , itching on skin)
  • Eczema
  • Asthma,
  • Sneezing
  • Hypotension
  • Migraine

Common food allergies

Food allergies mostly occurs in response to harmless proteins in foods especially those of plants and marine origin , however it may develop in response to any food included in the diet.

The most frequently identified food allergen include.

  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Soya
  • Wheat.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is the adverse reaction to any ingredient in food. Symptoms caused by food intolerance are similar to food allergies including diarrhoea, abdominal pain , nausea and vomiting but are relatively less severe and usually occurs several hours after eating large amount of particular food.

Nutritional management of food allergies

The only treatment of food allergy symptoms is the complete avoidance of trouble causing foods. Food that needs to be avoided may be hidden in unfamiliar forms, for example eggs and nuts are always present in cakes and baked products and may cause allergic reactions to individuals sensitive to those ingredients. Another situation that may lead to accidental ingestion of allergic foods not knowingly is when allergens are used to make ingredients of the specific product. For example in salad dressing mayonnaise is used and egg is the main ingredient of mayonnaise and sometimes is not listed on food labels. When specific foods are excluded from the diet alternative source must be included in the diet in order to avoid deficiency that may occur as a result of elimination of that food. It is therefore essential to discuss your allergic reaction with your doctor or dietician to find a suitable substitute in order to prevent deficiencies.

Diet in Migraine

Migraine is the common disorder and is found more in women than men. It is an episode of intense headache usually on one side of the head. The headache in migraine must be throbbing, episodic and extremely intense. Migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and photophobia (pain in eyes on exposure to light).

Factors that trigger migraine

Migraine attacks are triggered by variety of factors. Some factors which are responsible to trigger migraine in one individual may not effect others. Some of the important factors that trigger migraine are;

  • Sleep disturbance either lack or excessive sleeping, triggers the onset of migraine in most individuals.
  • Stress and depression may become the cause of attack in most of the migraine patients.
  • Food additives such as Chinese salt (MSG) or artificial sweeteners are reported to cause migraine in many individuals
  • Fasting or skipping meals result in severe migraine attack. For that reason migraine patients are always advised to avoid skipping meals.
  • Certain foods are also responsible for contributing to migraine attacks. Citrus fruits, tea ( flavonoids) , coffee, chocolate , milk, nuts, cola drinks, cheese, and processed meats can cause allergy in many individuals and as a result trigger migraine attacks.
  • Light or smell sensitivity. Some individuals are sensitive to bright lights or strong smells and often complain about headache as soon as they are exposed to any one of them.

Diet management in migraine

Food and migraine are closely related to each other. Certain food triggers migraine while others act as a pain reliever , also your dietary habits play an important part. Small modifications in diet may prevent migraine attack.

Look for the food that triggers migraine

Food sensitivity causes migraine in many individuals. However some people are more sensitive to certain foods while others are not, for example nut allergy may cause headache to some individuals while others are more sensitive to citrus fruits and nuts cause them no harm. So it is essential to find out which food is the main cause of attack. Some foods and food additives cause headache right away, while other may take up to a day. If you think that certain food is causing headache, try to avoid that food for a two weeks. Keep an eye on your symptoms to check any changes.

Avoid long gaps between meals

Long gaps between meals drops your blood sugar level which may cause migraine attack in susceptible individuals. Migraine patients should have small frequent meals instead of three larger ones. For migraine patients it is therefore essential to avoid strict diet regimen which offers prolong fasting for weight loss. Instead try eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoid high fat foods to keep the caloric intake below consumption.

Avoid high sodium foods

High sodium foods triggers headache in migraine patients. Try to limit sodium to 2300mg/ day. Avoid processed meats as they are high in salt and also contains mono sodium glutamate ( Chinese salt). MSG increases oxidative stress which results in severe headache.

Caffeine and headache

The effects of caffeine vary from individual to individual. Some people are so sensitive to caffein that a small amount of chocolate is enough to aggravate headache while others often complain that they suffer from intense headache if they don’t have a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. A small amount of caffeine may help to relieve the symptoms of headache, however larger doses of caffeine develops tolerance to it and may not have a positive effect in controlling migraine. Also the addictive nature of caffeine create a negative effect to the body and if the required dosage is not met daily, one may feel dizzy and repeated onset of migraine can occur. In order to prevent such situations it is essential to limit caffeine to only two cups a day.


The best way to avoid migraine is avoid factors that trigger symptoms

  • Avoid skipping meals.
  • Try to get full night sleep.
  • Try to eat as much healthy and fresh as possible.
  • Try to overcome stress and depression.
  • Exercise regularly but do not overexert yourself.
  • Gradually reduce your caffeine intake.

  • by,

Aliya Waqas


Dietician daily

Stress is basically a state of emotional or mental tension which results from adverse circumstances. When a body is under stress it releases a a complex set of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, which prepares the body for physical action.

Effects of stress on human body

Stress and depression directly affects ones health. Prolonged stress can lead to heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers , alopecia, and can even lead to obesity, muscle and joint pains. The most common problems that individuals suffers in stress are

  • Sleeplessness or insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Panic
  • Chest pain
  • Increased heart beat
  • Indigestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperglycaemia
  • Frequent urination
  • Eating disorders, anorexia or binge eating

Diet and stress

Stressand diet are directly related to each other. The person under stress either eats too much or stops eating, which can lead to either obesity or weight-loss. Feeling stressed…

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What are sugars

Sugars are the type of carbohydrates which provide energy to the body. They are found naturally in plants, honey and milk or added in drinks, cooking and in processed foods.

Common types of sugars


Glucose is the most abundant form of sugar. All starches,breads and cereals breakdown into glucose in blood. It is an important source of energy for all living organisms. It is naturally found in fruits, sweet corns, corn syrups, honey and certain roots.


Fructose is the sweetest of all sugars and is presents in fruits, honey and some vegetables.


Sucrose is the ordinary table sugar and a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. It is naturally present in sugar cane, sugar beets, honey, maple syrup , maple sugar, fruits and vegetables.


The sweet substance produce by the insects from plant nectar. It is the most ancient form of sugar used by humans dating back to 8000 years. It is comparatively more sweeter than sugar. A tablespoon of honey provides you with 64 kcal whereas an equal amount of sugar provides you with 46 kcal.

High fructose corn sugar

It is a comparatively cheaper and more sweet form of sugar commercially prepared from cornstarch. It mostly replaces table sugar in soft drinks industry and is added to canned and frozen fruits in order to preserve the flavour and structure of the food.


Lactose is the the only animal source of sugar found naturally in milk and milk products.

Recommended sugar intake

The sugars added to our diet is often referred to as free sugars. Free sugars are introduced to our diet through;

  • cooking and processing, for example table sugar added in tea and coffee, fizzy drinks, desserts and bakery
  • occur naturally in foods such as in honey, syrups, fruits and fruit juices, vegetables and smoothies.

The recommended daily intake of free sugars should be no more than 5% of your total caloric intake.

  • For adults the recommended daily allowance is 30grams or 6 teaspoons of free sugar.
  • The children should have no more than 24grams or 5 teaspoons sugar daily.

Sugar and health

According to latest studies many people consume far more free sugars than recommended. The intake of free sugar is higher in children more than 14.6 percent of total calories followed my adults 11%. Excessive sugar consumption contributes to several health problems which include


Obesity or weight gain occurs when the intake of food is more than the body’s ability to utilise it. Excessive sugar intake contribute to extra calories in your diet which results in weight gain. Obesity and weight gain increases the risk of developing several metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.

Tooth decay

High sugar foods and beverages are the major cause of tooth decay. The bacterias in the mouth use sugars from foods and drinks to produce acids which in turns damage teeth and cause tooth decay.

Tips for reducing sugar intake

Sugar is the main ingredient of most of the foods so it is always impossible to omit sugar from the diet. However following are some tips to reduce free sugar intake .

  • Avoid fizzy drinks . A can of coke provides you with almost 9.4 teaspoons of sugar. Opt for diluted fruit juices.
  • Gradually reduce sugar in your tea, coffee and breakfast cereals.
  • Read nutrition labels of packed foods and drinks. High sugar food contains more than 22.5grams of sugar per 100 grams and low sugar foods are less than 5 grams.
  • Avoid canned fruits in sugar syrup.
  • Instead of spreading jam on bread, try reduced sugar jams or low fat spreads.
  • Limit consumption of candies and bake products as they are high in sugar. Always consume sugar along with other foods to avoid tooth decay.

Food myths about sugar

There are many myths associated with sugar which are simply based on misinformation and are not true.

  • Brown sugar is better than white sugar : This is a common food myth and people often replaces white sugar with brown sugar considering it as a healthy alternative. However it is not true .They provide you with the same number of calories and the way the body reacts to both sugars is same.
  • Sugar causes hyperactivity in children: No single evidence proof this statement. However studies reveal that artificial colours used in candies causes adverse effects in activities and behaviour of children.
  • Sugar causes diabetes: Free sugar add extra calories in your diet which lead to obesity, obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in individuals. Sugar directly does not cause type2 diabetes .
  • Fruit juices are not sugary drinks: All fruit drinks contains sugar in one form or other. A 200ml 100 % fruit juices contains almost 4 tsp of sugar and cause tooth decay. The best option is to eat fresh fruit instead of juices.


Aliya Waqas