So you think beauty is only skin deep? It actually goes much deeper; beauty has a lot to do with your diet, too. Although topical creams and oils can help your skin and hair look more radiant, the best way to glow is from within and that means eating right. So think twice about filling up that beauty drawer with ever more cosmetics and spend the money on these delicious foods instead.
Requirements for Radiant Skin
- Antioxidants. These protect your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation and may help prevent skin cancer. Foods high in antioxidants include green tea, citrus fruits, cacao, blueberries, prunes, and leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach.
- Hydration. If you’re thirsty, so is your skin! It’s essential to drink plenty of water (filtered or spring water) every day, but juicy fruits and vegetables (like apples, strawberries, watermelons and celery) help with your hydration needs.
- Selenium. This mineral is used by your body to create a protein with antioxidant properties. The absolute best source for selenium is a handful of Brazil nuts. If you can’t find those, other nuts will do. Fish, turkey, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice will also help, but nothing compares to nuts!
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3’s maintain healthy cell membranes to keep your cells hydrated and free of toxins. Hemp, flax, and Chia seeds are excellent sources of Omega-3’s. Wild salmon, walnuts, and sardines can also give your skin cells a boost.
Handbook for Healthy Hair
- Vitamins A and C. These vitamins help your body produce sebum, the oil secreted by hair follicles that serves as a natural conditioner. (Beware shampoos that strip away too much oil and leave your hair dry!) Spinach, broccoli, kale, and Swiss chard are great sources for both of these vitamins.
- Protein. Your hair needs plenty of protein to grow. Beans, lentils, and other legumes are great sources of protein, iron, and zinc.
Snacks for a Super Smile
- Avoid Processed and Refined Carbs. Chewy carbohydrates like bread and crackers tend to get stuck under the gums and promote bacterial growth. Drink plenty of water with meals and snacks to wash all those little food particles away.
- Polyphenols. Found in black and green teas, polyphenols prevent plaque and reduce the chance of developing cavities.
- Cranberries. These tart berries have a compound that prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth and gums, but make sure your cranberry juice isn’t loaded with extra sugar or else, what’s the point?
It makes sense that balance in your body shows up as beauty on the outside, and whole, healthy foods will keep you looking and feeling fantastic. The emphasis here is on whole foods, not supplements. Although supplements can be good for people who have a particular deficiency, it’s always better to get your nutrition from the best foods you can find. Eat well and be beautiful!