They say that youth is often wasted on the young -- that we can't appreciate great skin and a fast metabolism until we get older and both start going in a direction we wish they hadn't. I have devoted my career to helping people live longer through good nutrition by focusing on inner health.
But in the wide world of nutritional benefits, it doesn't hurt to add some foods to enhance our beauty as well, right? In addition to the expensive skin creams, treatments and potions, food can make a huge difference on your complexion, hair and even nails! In this article, I'll share 5 foods that you should include in your "eating pretty" diet!
You may already been spending lots of cash to put enough vitamin C on your body but what about putting it IN your body as well? In 2007, a study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher dietary intake of Vitamin C was associated with a decreased likelihood of a wrinkled appearance. To get more Vitamin C in your daily menu, think beyond your morning glass of orange juice and go for some additional (yet excellent) sources of Vitamin C such as papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts and bell peppers. In fact, you could throw all of that in a stir fry for a beautiful meal! Buy some fresh to throw in a salad or purchase frozen to make tropical smoothies!
Oysters are a fabulous source of the trace mineral zinc. While zinc is important for proper growth and development, as well as wound healing, it may also play a key role in helping to promote great skin by boosting collagen production. Additionally, studies have found that zinc may help prevent or improve acne by controlling excess oil production as well. During the summer months, oysters can be grilled for a different yet satisfying BBQ treat.
This tasty green is highly versatile in recipes and may have a beautifying effect on both hair and skin as it contains high amount of biotin, a b-complex vitamin that has been associated with positive beauty attributes. Swiss chard is also high in vitamins A, K and C, which all happen to be vitamins associated with overall anti-aging.
If you're a fan of edamame, you're in luck! While most of us correlate omega 3 fatty acids with fish, you could get plenty of plant-based omega 3 in walnuts, flax seed and even soybeans! It has been well documented that soybeans can help in lowering cholesterol, waist size and risk for high blood pressure, but did you know that they can also provide radiant, glowing skin, as well? The omega 3s in soybeans have been shown to help fight against inflammation in the body (a real beauty bummer) and help skin look younger as well by avoiding dryness.
Brazil nuts are a goldmine of Selenium, a trace mineral essential to good health -- and great skin -- but don't eat gobs of them! One of the most important things you should know about selenium is that only a small amount provides powerful antioxidants shown to help prevent the formation of free radicals (free radicals can make us not too pretty, by the way). Too much selenium can cause hair loss, discoloration of skin or blotchy fingernail beds. You only need small amounts of selenium to prevent a deficiency, and most Americans are getting plenty in their diets. A couple Brazil nuts or a serving of salmon should be all your need to reap the benefits.
For more beautiful foods to help promote inner and outer beauty, check out my new column on the You Beauty website.
Follow Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KRISTINKIRKPAT