As children, many of us were often told that we would turn into the foods we ate, most probably in an attempt to steer us away from junk food and sweets, and although we very quickly realised that there was no truth in that statement, what we eat is undeniably and intrinsically linked to how we look. At a very basic level, food is fuel for our bodies and what we put in determines what we get out, but what should you be eating if you want to look your best? Here are a few ideas to help you gain healthier skin, hair and nails.
For healthy skin
When it comes to healthy skin, what we eat is just as important as the creams and lotions we so feverishly apply and there’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that diet is the key to a clear complexion. So here are 5 foods to eat for healthier skin.
- Olive oil
Oil is not the enemy of skin and in fact, in one study, an above-average consumption of extra virgin olive oil resulted in 31% fewer signs of ageing. The age busting properties of olive oil can be attributed to the fact that 75% of the fat in this golden liquid is mono-unsaturated which is much better for you.
- Green tea
Drinking green tea daily can help to result in smoother and more elastic skin due to catechins like EGCG which boost blood flow and oxygen to the skin surface. If drinking green tea isn’t your cup of tea, then you can also take green tea supplements, however, you will lack the additional rehydration benefits of the brew.
Herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil are packed with antioxidants that feed on free radicals and as such have been associated with up to a 60% reduction in the risk of melanoma.
When we think of vitamin C, most of us reach for an orange or a lemon, but the tasty kiwi is another great source of vitamin C with one medium-sized fruit meeting 120% of your daily requirement. Vitamin C has been proven to promote collagen synthesis which is responsible for a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Grass-fed beef
Grass-fed beef has a much higher ration of omega-3 to omeha-6 fatty acids which can help to reduce skin inflammation. It is also a great source of protein packing almost 30g of protein per 100g serving which is responsible for building collagen and elastin tissue. To avoid saturated-fats, ops for leaner cuts.
For healthy hair
The drug Finasteride is used in male pattern baldness and people spend thousands on hair treatments to keep their locks lustrous and shiny, with many people overlooking the impact that diet can have on keeping their hair luscious, thick and long. Here are 5 foods to eat for healthier hair.
In some cases, hair loss can be caused by a dietary deficiency and spinach could be the answer. Spinach contains a large amount of iron and is also rich in sebum which acts as a natural conditioner for the hair leaving it shinier. Spinach also contains omega-3 acids, potassium, calcium and magnesium which all contribute to hair health.
- Red pepper
Red bell peppers are often overlooked but are an excellent source of vitamin C, with just half of an average red bell pepper packing 158% of a person’s recommended daily intake. Vitamin C helps to strengthen hair, making it less brittle and stopping it from breaking.
These slippery molluscs are a great source of zinc which, if you lack, can cause hair loss. Hair cells use zinc to carry out their daily functions and without it will be unable to promote hair growth, leading to hair loss.
50-100 hairs fall out of a person’s head a day – this is completely normal, but if these hairs are not replaced then baldness or thinning can occur. Without sufficient dietary protein, hair stops growing and this can lead to insufficient hair production. Chicken is just one of the many dietary sources of protein, alongside, beef, tofu, beans and lentils.
- Greek yoghurt
Iodine is another mineral associated with hair growth and 1 cup of plain greek yoghurt can provide 50% of a person’s recommended intake. Alongside being a great source of iodine, Greek yoghurt is also packed with protein. See iodine supplements here.
For healthy nails
Our hands and feet take a battering on a daily basis, resulting in tired and broken nails. Aside from being more careful with the activities we undertake, there are also a few things that we can eat to improve the condition of our nails. Here are 5 foods to eat for healthier nails.
Salmon is a great source of B-12, which if you are deficient in, can cause flakey and darkened nails. This oily fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and help to control the negative effects of omega-6 fatty acids which are prevalent in Western diets.
Green peas are a good source of plant protein which helps to promote nail strength and growth. These delicious sweet pearls are also full of vitamin K and B complex and also contain omega-3 as found in salmon.
- Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great source of magnesium which is vital for bone and nail growth. These crunchy and satiating seeds are also jam-packed with tons of other vitamins and minerals that helo to promote strong, smooth nails.
Oats contain the essential micronutrients zinc and copper which are essential for nail maintenance. Some people are concerned with the phytic acid content of oats when cooked in oatmeal, but this can be reduced by simply soaking them in water overnight.
Beans are rich in biotin, which is also referred to as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, and it helps to increase nail thickness and strength. Biotin can also be taken in capsule form but is found naturally in legumes, egg yolk and liver.