Let’s face it: we all want beautiful hair, radiant skin, and a bright smile. Everywhere you turn, there’s another lotion, potion, or cream promising a youthful glow. But real beauty comes from what you feed your body, not what you put “on” it. So we’ve come up with our “Sexy Six” Beauty Foods: the “must-have” foods to give your body a beauty boost.
Kale is one of the best “superfoods” that the planet has to offer. And when it comes to enhancing your skin, kale is truly “super”. This is because it is loaded with many of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy skin. Kale contains potent antioxidants like vitamins A and C to help combat the stress of sun exposure and other toxins that can leave skin wrinkled and sallow. Kale is also rich in iron and B6, which can keep hair looking full and shiny. Just 1 cup of kale has 180% of vitamin A and 200% of vitamin C. All this in just 36 calories!
In addition to their heart health benefits, the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon are important for keeping skin smooth and healthy. While the research is still early, one recent study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found older people who consumed more fish over their life had fewer wrinkles than those who ate more meat.
Salmon and other fish rich in omega-3s are easy to fit into a “beautiful” diet.
Tea not only hydrates your skin, it also contains compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties and, according to some studies, may help prevent sun-related skin cancers and improve immune functioning. Topical polyphenols may also help increase collagen production. Green tea is especially rich in a compound known as EGCG which may keep skin looking youthful by reactivating dying skin cells. Potential beauty benefits aside, unsweetened tea is always a good hydration choice.
Vitamin C, plentiful in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, is vital for the production and formation of collagen, skin’s support structure. A strong support layer helps smooth what’s on top and prevent wrinkles. Vitamin C also helps fight against oxidative damage from sun, pollution, and stress.
Berries are delicious on their own, fresh or frozen. Or you can try them in desserts or smoothies.
A beautiful smile can result from good genetics, a good dentist, and good hygene of of course. But to keep your smile looking it’s best, calcium and vitamin D, found in yogurt and other dairy products, are essential. Calcium and vitamin D work together to keep our bones strong. Teeth are embedded in the jaw bone, so if you don’t have healthy bone density, your teeth will feel the effects. Aim for 3 servings of fat-free or low fat yogurt or other dairy foods that are rich in both vitamin D and calcium.
Like salmon, walnuts also contain omega-3 fats that strengthen skin cell membranes, locking in moisture and nutrients. Studies indicate that these healthy fats may also reduce skin inflammation (read: fewer breakouts and irritations!) and play a role in protecting the skin against harmful UV rays.
Walnuts are perfect as a topping for cereal, yogurt, and salads.
Julie Upton, MS, RD
Appetite for Health