We all know that what we put in our bodies has a direct effect on how we look (did you really think that huge pimple you woke up with had NOTHING to do with the Cheetos and chocolate binge the night before?), but did you know that you can custom tailor your diet to maximize your beauty and combat your problem areas? Incorporate the following foods into your diet, and you will find yourself with shinier hair, clearer, radiant skin, strong nails, and a trim mid-section… All without setting foot in the beauty aisle! As always, shoot for organic whenever possible…
So hit your greenmarket and start eating your way to a more beautiful you!
This lovely green powerhouse is loaded with Vitamin E, which is an absolute beauty must. High doses of Vitamin E have been shows to increase cell reproduction and slow the aging process. Stave off premature wrinkles and age spots, keep your skin moist and supple, prevent dandruff and hair loss, and heal scars faster… all with this delicious summer veggie. Try adding grilled asparagus to soups and salads, or just add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt for a super easy side dish!
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, oh my! Not only are these little guys super high in Vitamin C, which regulates sebaceous glands to keep skin, hair, and nails moist and strong, and helps to produce collagen which strengthens the capillaries that feed your skin, but they ALSO have a super high antioxidant capacity, which protects your skin from free radicals and sun damage, and can prevent and reverse aging. Phew! How’s that for multi-tasking! Throw some berries into your cereal or oatmeal every morning to keep them working for you all day long. Or incorporate berries into your desserts, smoothies, and salads. I love adding a handful of blueberries to a spinach salad!
The amazing effects garlic has on cholesterol, immunity, cancer prevention, blood sugar, AND blood pressure have been lauded for decades. What is a lesser known benefit is garlic’s effects on your skin and hair. Garlic contains high levels of sulfur, which has long been used topically to treat acne. Eating sulfur-rich garlic can have similar effects on your skin from within, clearing up acne and skin infections. The high sulfur levels are also great for preventing hair loss, and keeping hair strong and shiny. Basically, garlic is the single best thing for your body, inside and out! Add garlic to everything you cook, from pastas and stews, to salads and stir fries.
A super potent antioxidant, green tea can stave off signs of aging, curb hunger, and keep you skinny. But a lesser known benefit is its anti-inflammatory qualities, which protect your cell membranes, reduce sun damage, prevent all kinds of cancer, and keeps bacteria at bay. And contrary to some (mis)information out there, a good quality green tea will not dehydrate you, and the caffeine levels are not so high that you can’t enjoy a few cups a day. In the summer, I like to make a big pitcher of iced Genmaicha, which is green tea with roasted brown rice, which also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels!
With all the coverage its been getting in the media, we all know that Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for our overall health, keeping our hearts strong, combating depression, and staving off a slew of diseases and ailments. But the Omega-3’s and potent levels of Vitamin D in salmon are also imperative for keeping our skin, hair, and nails strong, moist, supple, and young. Vitamin D is also great for your pearly whites, and prevents dental decay. As if all this weren’t enough to evidence to give salmon a permanent slot on your shopping list, it also contains astaxanthin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that fight wrinkles and premature aging. Eat a 3 ounce portion of salmon at least once a week, but make sure it is wild-caught Alaskan salmon, which has the lowest concentrations of mercury. I like to prepare salmon en papillote, by tucking it into two pieces of parchment paper, garnished with slices of onion, parsley, olive oil and lemon, and baking it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. So yummy!
Check out my recipe for Total Beauty Salad, that incorporates all of these powerhouse ingredients!