Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hillary Swank, Naomi Campbell. Oscar winners and supermodels have long flocked to wellness expert and nutrition guru Dr. Oz Garcia to help them look gorgeous. And now you can, too, since he’s officially signed on as nutrition consultant for the South Beach’s James Royal Palm Hotel, where he’ll be offering one-on-one consultations and wellness weekends through this winter. Not only are some of his signature vitamin-enhanced products available at the hotel’s spa, Dr. Garcia also helped create healthy dining options at its restaurant, Florida Cookery. In fact, he says a healthy diet is key to helping create that star-like “timeless look,” pointing to certain ingredients that are particularly powerful.
Here, Dr. Garcia shares five specific food groups that, when combined with other good habits (like lowering stress, exercising and getting enough sleep), can help turn back the hands of time. “If you eat these foods, you are going to look better,” he explained, because they’re not only loaded with antioxidants (molecules that help neutralize the effects of damaging free radicals in your body), they also help fight glycation, a physiological process by which certain sugar molecules in your body glom onto certain fats and proteins, particularly the ones responsible for making skin look youthful and plump, weakening and discoloring them. (And who wants that?) Follow his advice for just two months, Dr. Garcia said, “and the difference will be remarkable. It doesn’t take that long for a change like this to make a huge difference.”
SEAFOOD Just about anything that comes from the ocean–salmon, bass, snapper, mahi mahi–is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are what Dr. Garcia calls “nutritional gold.” They’re good for the skin, hair and heart, and for preventing disease and improving the immune system. “The longest living people on earth are Japanese women. They have a lifespan of 84 to 85 years. They have low rates of heart disease and osteoporosis. And they look terrific! What they eat a lot of is seafood,” said Dr. Garcia, who suggests eating seafood four to five times a week. “Fatty acids are remarkable for building you up internally, and for keeping veins and capillaries healthy, which are components that build healthy-looking skin.”
WHOLE GRAINS “When you want to build collagen and slow down wrinkling,” Dr. Garcia said, “it all starts with whole grains.” Filled with nutrients, minerals and loaded with fiber, whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, barley and millet are great replacements for enriched white rice or flour products that can cause “inflammation in the gut,” Dr. Garcia said. He adds: “When you eat natural fiber, it helps to maintain your overall better health. And good health is reflected in your skin and quality of hair.”
BERRIES Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries–they’re all like “tiny packages of super-antioxidants,” says Dr. Garcia. “Oxidants are molecules that make you rust organically. It’s like if you leave your bicycle outdoors and you let the elements play on it,” he said. “Eventually the metal rusts. That rusting process occurs in us, and what you want to do is slow it down. It causes premature wrinkling and accelerates aging.” Antioxidant-rich berries fight that, making the skin look better as well as improving your overall immunity. He suggests incorporating one serving of berries every day.
BEANS AND LEGUMES The humble bean–red, pinto, black, you name it–is another antioxidant powerhouse. Dr. Garcia points out that just about all beans are rich in flavonoids, which are one of the biggest classes of antioxidants and therefore key to “helping the body repair itself, and very good for repairing tissue.” One more piece of advice: When preparing beans, start with the dried kind as opposed to the canned. “Avoiding processed foods,” Garcia said, “is also important.”
OLIVE OIL (AND NUTS) “Olive oil is one of the best foods on earth for all the nutrients found in it,” Dr. Garcia said. “It’s good for your heart and great for your skin.” Use it instead of other less healthy oils (like corn or others that are partially hydrogenated) for stir-frying, or drizzling onto salads, veggies or even bread in place of butter. “It reduces a lot of oxidative damage as well as inflammation in the body, helping with joint problems.” —Andrea Billups