Holistic health coach Lee Holmes knows edible beauty is the key to a healthy life…

We’ve all wished upon a star that eating delicious foods will lead to beauty, but like most dreams it’s quickly squished by reality and we’re left sadly nursing a bowl of greens in our quest for body perfection.

Enter Lee Holmes, the woman who has eaten her way to beauty and good health one tasty dish at a time.

Holmes’ career as a food writer, holistic health coach, yoga teacher and wholefoods chef came to a screeching halt in 2006 after she was diagnosed with the crippling autoimmune disease fibromyalgia.

Determined to heal herself, Holmes used nutrient-rich food as medicine and penned the book Eat Yourself Beautiful to share the secrets of supercharged food.

Here are her tips on the foods to keep you looking and feeling good…

It’s not about the money:

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia all the views I previously held on what constitutes beauty went out the window. Barely able to get out of bed in the mornings, with hair falling out and hives covering my body, I set out on a quest to heal myself through diet.

I succeeded, and in doing so I discovered that beauty – ageless, radiant, ethereal beauty – is affected more by what we feed our bodies and how we feel inside than any cream we put on our skin.

You don’t have to pay squillions of dollars for a daily supply of collagen drinks to have beautiful skin and look ageless.

An inexpensive bunch of organic spinach is packed with enough collagen to boost new skin cells, plump up lips, keep skin firm and provide lustrous shiny hair, bright eyes and strong nails.

Seven foods for longevity:

Berries: High in protective plant antioxidants and containing phytochemicals and colour pigments called anthocyanins, berries get a big thumbs up as a beauty-booster.
Wild salmon: A source of omega-3 oils and healthy fats which can fend off heart disease, improve your skin and reverse sun damage.
Nuts: The best nuts for ageing gracefully are almonds and brazil nuts. Eat 15 to 20 a day.
Dark leafy greens: Bursting with health benefits, spinach and leafy greens are a musthave food – the darker the better. They deliver a huge amount of vitamin A which supports the turnover and production of new cells.
Sardines: These are my go-to meal and they are sky-high in omega-3 fatty acids. They contain almost no mercury and are mineral-loaded.
Flaxseeds: A nifty little longevity secret and an abundant natural source of alphalinoleic acid.
Garlic: Not only does it have strong life extension properties, it’s also a powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent.

The key to ageless beauty:

It’s not about being Peter Pan and looking for eternal youth.

The key to ageing gracefully and beautifully is to find ways to lower inflammation in the body; throw fad diets out for good; and adopt a healthy way of eating following the 80/20 rule – eating well 80 per cent of the time and giving yourself some wriggle room, indulging 20 per cent of the time.

More tips and recipes are available in Eat Yourself Beautiful.