Produce, not Pills, to Increase Physical Attractiveness

Produce, not Pills, to Increase Physical Attractiveness
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Kale works better at boosting antioxidant levels in the skin than synthetic beta carotene, lutein, and mixed carotenoid supplements.

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If dietary carotenoids contribute to a normal healthy skin color, why not just go for the quick fix, and take a pill? Because, it doesn’t work. A paper published last year looked at how effective kale was at increasing carotenoid concentration in the skin. As you can see, compared to placebo, there was a significant rise in carotenoid concentration in both the forehead and the palm during kale supplementation. And you can see that they were still significantly above baseline even two weeks after they stopped the kale.

What if instead of the sugar pill, though, you compared kale to beta carotene pills, leutein pills, mixed carotenoid pills? They didn’t work. Here are the three carotenoid supplements each mixed in with the placebo—nothing happened. And here’s them mixed in with the samples of kale. The answer is produce, not pills.

They conclude: “The higher increase in the skin may possibly be caused by the fact that the antioxidant substances in the skin act as a network, protecting each other against degradation, caused by free radicals…[V]egetables, fruit, and natural extracts, which contain a cocktail of different carotenoids…protect tissues such as the skin more efficiently than high doses of single synthetic carotenoids…This indicates that the antioxidants in the skin protect each other in an antioxidative network.”

They all work together, in greens, to help keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to woraput via iStock

If dietary carotenoids contribute to a normal healthy skin color, why not just go for the quick fix, and take a pill? Because, it doesn’t work. A paper published last year looked at how effective kale was at increasing carotenoid concentration in the skin. As you can see, compared to placebo, there was a significant rise in carotenoid concentration in both the forehead and the palm during kale supplementation. And you can see that they were still significantly above baseline even two weeks after they stopped the kale.

What if instead of the sugar pill, though, you compared kale to beta carotene pills, leutein pills, mixed carotenoid pills? They didn’t work. Here are the three carotenoid supplements each mixed in with the placebo—nothing happened. And here’s them mixed in with the samples of kale. The answer is produce, not pills.

They conclude: “The higher increase in the skin may possibly be caused by the fact that the antioxidant substances in the skin act as a network, protecting each other against degradation, caused by free radicals…[V]egetables, fruit, and natural extracts, which contain a cocktail of different carotenoids…protect tissues such as the skin more efficiently than high doses of single synthetic carotenoids…This indicates that the antioxidants in the skin protect each other in an antioxidative network.”

They all work together, in greens, to help keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to woraput via iStock

28 responses to “Produce, not Pills, to Increase Physical Attractiveness

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  1. I have found this to be personally true in my own observations. In addition to eating copious greens throughout the day, we make a daily green smoothie with the following ingredients (one could add fruit, but we do not want the extra fructose as we eat fruit separately):

    Green Smoothie Recipe

    -spinach (1/2 cup)
    -kale (1 cup)
    -parsley (1/4 cup)
    -cilantro (1/4 cup)
    -watercress (1 cup)
    -lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
    -orange zest (1 orange)
    -avocado (1/2)
    -red cabbage (1/4 cup)
    -almond milk (1 cup)
    -matcha green tea powder (1 t)
    -ginger (one small piece)




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    1. Wow! That’s a SUPER Green Smoothie! I’m interested in trying it but do not have one of those fancy-schmancy super blenders to make this workable in my blender (really just 1 cup of fluid and a bit of lemon juice will blend all of this into a smoothie?). Reading the ingredients, though, I know I’d be tempted to add some sort of fruit to sweeten it up (and to ensure that others in my household would even try it).




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  2. In addition to the above, we have a daily green juice (no fiber) before breakfast. We do not juice any hi-glycemic index veg or fruit (i.e. carrots, apples). The green juice ingredients are:

    Green Juice Recipe

    Black kale, 2 cups
    Red cabbage, 1/4 cup
    Parsley, 1/4 cup
    Cilantro, 1/4 cup
    Romaine lettuce, 4-6 leaves
    Endive,1 small head
    Watercress, 1/2 cup
    Escarole, 1/2 cup
    Flax seeds, 1 T
    Green pepper, 1/4
    Ginger (small piece)
    Lemon (1/2)




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  3. Michael, I am having trouble understanding your voice on many of the video. There is too much resonance or something. Can you check this and see if electronically your voice can come through more clearly? its like you are speaking too close to the microphone.




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    1. Thank you for your feedback Darrell! Was it like this on this video for you? I know there’s some problems with the older (volume 1) ones. Took me awhile to get it right. I’m hoping to be able to go back and rerecord some of the oldies-but-goodies, but I’ve just been so overwhelmed putting together new content (a new video a day is quite the challenge I’m finding!) that it may be awhile :(




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  4. Dear Dr. Greger,

    Is there is any evidence that an effective natural skin cream can be made out of dark green vegetables? Or would absorption be an issue?




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  5. Apart from attractiveness, are there any other outcomes associated with higher carotenoid levels in the skin? It would make sense that they should act against UV damage, and therefore reduce skin cancer risk?




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  6. I love juicing with kale. A few handfuls of kale, a little bit of apple sauce (to cut bitterness of kale), half a banana, stalk of celery, flax meal and sometimes some frozen mango pieces. It’s great!




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  7. Michael, The sound on this video is quite understandable. It is a little “thick” and it reminded me of earlier ones more “thickly fuzzy”, and I was just using this opportunity to give you a heads up. Actually, the earlier items were understandable and I managed the information easily by listening two or three times.

    So, I don’t think any video needs to be remade, especially in view of your looming tasks. I turn 80 in a few months and am in very good health but, since singly managing my life with limited resources and energy, I regret that I can contribute only well-wishes to your enterprise. I am a thankful beneficiary, big time.

    NO REPLY DESIRED.

    Darrell




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  8. I’d like to see this topic covered in a more functional way. Example: I take acai and amla in pill form as well as blend smoothies, eat salads etc.
    This study only tested synthetic carotenoids which implies undesirable stereoisomers and no mix of natural phyto chemicals.
    Let’s see what natural, standardized supplements offer compared to the whole-food standard.




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  9. At 0:55 you say “the answer is produce not pills”. Why didn’t you comment on the additive effect of taking supplementation with produce? This seems especially interesting given that supplementation alone was no better than placebo.




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  10. Smile, Say Kale!

    – 1 bunch organic* green/red curly kale, de-stemmed (if large stems) and torn into pieces
    – juice of half a lemon
    – 3 cloves garlic, minced
    – pinch black pepper
    – pinch sea salt
    – 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast

    Remove the bulk of the stems from the kale by holding the thick end of the stem and sliding your hand toward the skinny end. Shred the kale into pieces with your hands and place kale in a large bowl. Top kale with remaining ingredients except yeast and massage everything together until kale turns bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in nutritional yeast. Serve cold.

    *Kale may contain pesticide residues of special concern so choose organic. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan




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  11. Certainly, diet is fundamental to good health. Agreed. When looking at your studies, I noticed that various supplements used in comparison to placebo were, in fact, synthetically produced. Can you provide a link to which supplement brands were chosen for these studies? (I’d certainly want to avoid those ineffective brands! Lol). Have you any studies comparing organic, plant-based nutrients extracted from real food without the use of high temperature, or caustic chemicals that would kill a living thing? In other words, shouldn’t a nutrient be **alive** to improve life?. Is it your understanding that all supplements are created equal? – regardless of manufacturer?




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  12. Will this actually work? Or just theoretically…

    I’m a youngish man with very pale skin. I eat spinach and some brocolli among other veg almost every day and i’ve never noticed a change in my skin colouration.

    How much exactly would be needed to make my skin a yellowish colour, without getting carotenemia?




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  13. I think Dr Greger has the coooooolest voice — a n d – that little … kind of exasperated/humorous lilt to the voice topped up with just a hint of the ironic – yes – I agree with Esther4 – kind of a sexy – helps that the knowledge is so ‘bang-on!’




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  14. Thanks for the video! Very interesting!

    Kale
    supplementation:
    significant rise of 30% (estimated number from looking at the graphic;carotenoids in skin of forehead; one month of intake compared to
    placebo which didn’t change carotenoids concentration in skin)
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/eU9h5VS.png[/img]

    3 carotene pills were tested for increasing carotenoid-concentration in the skin:
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/RFKYMmR.png[/img]
    Now what does that mean?

    ‘Placebo beta carotene’, ‘placebo carotenoids’, ‘placebo luteine’ – obviously
    they are the different placebos compared to real beta carotene, real
    carotenoids and real luteine.

    Ok, you explain by voice:
    placebo beta carotene means: Beta Carotene pill, mixed with a placebo
    sample beta carotene means: Beta carotene pill, mixed with kale supplementation

    Now here it gets interesting:

    There seems to be a big effect of pills + kale (kale I guess can be replaced by
    carrots or tomatoes?)!
    -> more than 50% rise in concentration with carotenoid-pill (compared to the
    30% rise above with kale alone)
    -> more than 75% rise in concentration with beta carotene pill
    -> more than 140% rise in concentration with lutein-pill

    Moral of the story for me: single ingredient stuff does not work alone but it
    very much enhances things when you add real vegetables. (Every health conscious
    person on earth probably eats veggies too..). So more different ingredient
    stuff works probably also better. And especially: greens (supplements that get
    the vitamins out of real food). Also of course take the pills when you eat a
    veggie meal (I give the powder over the whole meal of the day with like 1000
    grams of veggies). Also another study I read showed that fats are very
    important for the absorption, so I take it with a full meal (that of course has
    fat in it ).

    Big question
    to make this more concrete:

    – How much Kale did they use?

    – What were the dosages of the pills?

    – What is the link or title of the study?




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  15. Hi Dr Greger. I love eating my greens and sweet potato and peas and the like, however, I think I have carotenemia! I know leafy greens have lots of beta carotene (especially spinach, broccoli and even peas – which I eat lots of frozen then steamed). I really don’t want to cut down on eating the vegetables as my “daily nutrients” will suffer. Any advice on getting rid of this “problem”?




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