As it turns out, we really are what we eat. The glowing skin and healthy hair that we highly covet can largely depend on what we put into our bodies.
Inner health, outer glow - your skin can most definitely be an outer reflection of your inner health. We look just like the food we buy - shopping baskets filled with white bread, soft drinks and crisps are most likely carried by people with poor completions and lifeless hair.
In contrast, the person with a basket loaded with fresh spinach and strawberries, fat-free milk, whole-wheat bread, fresh salmon and beans most likely has a rosy glow and healthy, shiny hair.
Beauty Diet Tips
Some of the worst things we can eat when it comes to appearance include fatty foods (especially when the fats are from meat), full-fat dairy, processed foods, refined grains, excessive added sugar, alcohol and salty foods. Bye-bye beer, extra cheese pizza and ice cream sundaes!
The good news is that the foods needed for a healthy glow also revitalize your whole body, so making diet changes to benefit your skin and hair will have an even larger positive effect. So what should we be eating every day?
Aim for five colourful fruits and vegetables a day
Three or more servings of 100% whole grains
Three servings of calcium-rich foods
Two servings of iron/zinc-rich foods, such as extra-lean red meat, chicken breast, seafood or legumes
At least eight glasses of water
The Brighter, the Better
When shopping for fruit and vegetables remember that in general the brighter the colour, the more antioxidants in them, peppers for example come in four colors: green, red, orange and yellow. The yellow bell pepper has 30% more antioxidants than the green bell pepper. Other sources of antioxidants are berries (think blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries).
The Most Important Beauty Foods
Insufficiency in nutrients may cause changes in skin, hair and nails, as well as in blood circulation, which supplies nutrients and removes waste products from the body. Here are the most important things we need and what happens when we don't get enough:
Antioxidants: help to fight 'free radicals' (which can cause premature aging of cells). Free radicals can be caused by frequent sun exposure, smoke, pollution and other factors. Since your body cannot synthesize many antioxidants by itself, load up on colourful fruits and vegetables every day
Zinc: this trace mineral contributes to skin, hair and nail health1
B-vitamins: adequate intakes of certain B vitamins are important for healthy skin. Biotin (B7) in particular supports hair and skin health1
Vitamin A: this fat-soluble vitamin is needed to maintain skin health1
Why Vegetables are so Crucial
According to the Public Health England Eatwell Guide, most of what we eat should be comprised of fruit and vegetables. Veggies are naturally rich in water, so they create moisture within your skin, plumping the cells and filling the crevices. Here's what else they've got:
Vitamin C: this is involved in collagen formation in the skin,1 collagen is a protein which gives skin it's structure and elasticity. Veggies high in vitamin C include: tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli and potatoes
Beta-carotene: supports healthy skin.1 Beta carotene is converted in the body into vitamin A. It helps neutralise free radicals, which can be caused by sun damage. Go for: carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and other orange and green-colored produce
Antioxidants: Fight against premature aging of cells. Eat up: most veggies
Omega-3s: Great source: cabbage (and oily fish like salmon and tuna)
Water: Keeps skin hydrated and restores fluid balance. Indulge in: most veggies
The Beauty Benefits of Biotin
Biotin is a B vitamin that helps to maintain your hair, skin and nails.1 So, how do you ensure that you get your daily dose? One way is to takeNature's Bounty® Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies. Not only do these delicious berry flavoured gummies contain biotin, but they also provide you with other vital nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc, to ensure you're beautiful from the inside out.
Easy Ways to get Skin-Healthy and Hair-Healthy Foods into your Diet
It's not always easy to eat right. Health often takes a backseat to busy schedules, family or work commitments and of course, your social life! But here's some suggestions to help even the busiest women incorporate skin and hair healthy foods into their day:
Aim for two colourful fruits or vegetables at every meal and at least one at every snack
Switch to 100 percent whole-grain bread
Pack a cup of spinach into sandwiches
Grate carrots into spaghetti sauce
Snack on watermelon instead of crisps
Pop frozen blueberries in your mouth instead of ice cream at night
Make a rule that 75 percent of your plate will be filled with unprocessed, real foods
1. Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin. Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal hair and skin. Riboflavin (B2) contributes to the maintenance of normal skin. Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Selenium contributes to the maintenance of normal hair and nails and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, skin and nails and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.