Forget svelte figure: Diet for better sleep, sex and great skin

  • AFP
  • Updated: Mar 31, 2015 17:58 IST

Diets are no fun, and it's hard to keep the weight from rolling back on. Yet diets geared towards goals other than weight loss could make you feel better, look better and enjoy life more. So even if you can eat burgers and fries every day and not gain an ounce, you may want to consider one of these health food kicks to give yourself a boost this spring.

A drug-free solution for insomnia
You may have heard that foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan such as turkey, milk, bananas and nuts are known to promote sleep. Although health experts often recommend cutting back on sugar for better sleep, those with a sweet tooth might want to try swapping refined sugar for honey, which contains tryptophan. While it may be tempting to fall asleep with a glass of wine, recent research suggests alcohol may not promote sleep, but hinder it.

Never say "I don't feel like it" again
Magnesium helps metabolize nutrients and turn them into energy, so if you're feeling tired, checking your magnesium intake is a good place to start. According to WebMD, women need 300 mg and men should get 350 mg on a daily basis. You can find them in nuts, dark leafy greens like spinach and fish, particularly halibut and mackerel. Don't skip breakfast; cut out sugar, which steals your pep; and aim for slow-burning carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta and whole grain bread.

Sex and diet: The new "it" couple
When Marrena Lindberg wrote "The Orgasmic Diet" in 2008, she reminded us that dieting our way to ecstasy is entirely possible. A key ingredient in Lindberg's plan is a heavy dosage of Omega 3s, which have been proven to release dopamine, which studies suggest enhances sexual arousal and response. Alex Freud's new book "The Libido Diet," in which he provides increasing evidence suggesting that diet and sexual well-being are closely connected, promises a hormone-balancing, sex bomb on a plate.

Your skin is what you eat
Processed food and refined carbohydrates could promote skin aging, according to the Mayo Clinic. Melons, fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel, nuts, beans, berries and leafy green vegetables such as spinach are all known to promote skin health. American dermatologist Dr Perricone's 3-Day Diet not only claims to reduce puffiness in the eyes and make your skin look radiant, it's high in protein and energy-generating vegetables.

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