Summer feels like a good time to freshen things up, so we asked Australian nutritionist, Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, for some healthy eating advice. As the founder of Food Coach, she's spent the past 18 years studying the relationship between food, metabolic issues, and emotions, which is the dynamic she tackles in her new book, The Archetype Diet.
We can't give away all her trade secrets (check out the book to find out which archetype you are, advice on what to eat to lose, and how to truly find balance). But we did ask this triple-certified pro for a few suggestions on what we could all incorporate into our diets today for better overall health (and potentially a glow!) tomorrow. While all fruits and vegetables offer unique phytonutrients that support the physical body, these three items topped her list—and here's why.
Heirloom tomatoes: "Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which helps protect the skin from UVA and UVB damage," says James. "Tomato juice also brings back life to dull skin. Lycopene has also been shown to decrease the risk of brittle bones. Think of tomatoes as keeping your cheekbones nice and strong and your skin glowing. Add heirloom tomatoes to your favorite salad."
Related Recipe: Try our Heirloom Tomato Salad
Papaya: "This fruit contains two days' worth of vitamin C, which helps to brighten and tighten skin," according to James. "It also bolsters the immune system by keeping the mucous membranes in the mouth and nose moist. Papaya also contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which helps decrease bloating and redness in the skin by combating inflammation. Think of papaya as a beauty food. Snack on fresh papaya with lime."
Related Recipe: Try our Roasted Brown-Sugar Papaya
Sesame seeds: "These seeds are packed with omega 3’s and omega 6’s, oleic acid, amino acids, potassium, and fiber, all which help support a woman’s sex hormones. Think of sesame seeds as the mood, bloating, and menstrual cycle regulator. Try sesame seeds sprinkled on avocado."
Related Recipe: Try our Grilled Bok Choy with Sesame Vinaigrette
So there you have it! Tomatoes, papayas, sesame seeds, check.
Want to learn more about James' four eating archetypes? You're in luck. Take this 20-question quiz, and then check out the below tips on eating for your best body based on your archetype. Full meal plans are available in The Archetype Diet.
If you're a Nurturer...
Eat cruciferous vegetables daily to help regulate your insulin and estrogen levels. Cruciferous vegetables include kale, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, dandelion greens, bok choy, and collard greens. This could be 1/2 cup of frozen cauliflower in a berry smoothie (it makes it extra creamy!), red and green ‘slaw served with fish tacos, or an omelet with sautéed dandelion greens.
If you're a Wonder Woman...
Skip the gluten and dairy as you are more likely than the other archetypes to be sensitive to these foods due to your high-stress levels. Don't replace these with gluten-free and dairy substitutes. Instead, eat food to enhance your cognition and support your thyroid function. Rather than grabbing a handful of M&M’s on the way to a co-workers desk, sit down to a small bunch of pretty Concord grapes. The anthocyanins (purple pigments) in the grapes help to boost brain function. Similarly, skip the crackers and have nori with avocado, grated carrots, and snow-peas shoots. The nori is rich in iodine, which boosts the metabolism.
If you're a Femme Fatale...
Eat orange fruits and vegetables like butternut squash, carrots, orange bell peppers, mango, papaya, apricots, tangerines, and cantaloupe. Just no more than two servings per day, otherwise the carotenoids can turn the skin orange. The orange color spectrum helps to rebalance a Femme Fatale's emotional state. This could be snacking on fresh apricots, drinking a small mango smoothie, or adding a carrot ribbon salad to grilled fish.
If you're Ethereal...
Eat to feel grounded. Don't shy away from grains and legumes, despite the Whole30 and Paleo trend. You are the archetype that responds better with some grains and legumes because your estrogen levels tend to be low and starchy carbohydrates can increase the amount of available estrogen in your body. The starchy carbs also help you feel centered and calm as they activate serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter.