As the old adage goes, true beauty comes from within – and a good place to find beauty foods is in your fridge. Glossy hair, glowing skin and healthy nails are all things you can glean from cuisine.
Pack your diet with vitamin and mineral-rich goodness to reap the beauty benefits. “There’s a growing body of evidence that shows the look and feel of our skin may be influenced by what we eat,” says nutritionist Amanda Ursell. “Specific nutrients found in your diet have a major part to play in ensuring clear skin, bright eyes and glossy hair.”
Sadly, there’s no quick-fix – it can take at least three weeks of steady healthy eating before you notice any subtle improvements. Here are the beauty foods experts recommend:
Kickstart your day with a cup of green tea to rev up your metabolism and get your skin glowing. “Drinking green tea has many beauty benefits,” says nutritionist Fiona Hunter. “A natural antioxidant, green tea comes from the same plant as other teas but it is not fermented, so retains more nutrients and has been shown to have twice as much antioxidant power as vitamin E. Green tea can help when it comes to skincare, protecting it from external environmental influences and therefore helping fight signs of premature ageing.”
Eggs are the breakfast food to indulge in for gorgeous, glossy locks. They work wonders for hair inside and out; rich in biotin, which is essential for cell growth, and vitamin B-12 for strengthening locks and maintaining a healthy scalp.
Finish with a glass of fresh orange juice. It’s packed with vitamin C which is crucial for producing collagen – the protein that helps keep skin looking fresh and youthful.
Whip up a skin-friendly super-salad for your midday meal. Ingredients rich in lutein are particularly good if you have overindulged in sun exposure this summer.
“Lutein belongs to the carotenoid family of antioxidants and has been linked to reducing sun-induced skin damage and improving the elasticity of the skin,” says Amanda Ursell. Spinach (12mg in 100g) and red peppers (7mg in 100g) are both good sources. Add some hearty chunks of sweet potato for an extra fix of vitamin E.
Forget ice cream and try a small scoop of coconut oil for dessert. Jennifer Aniston was spotted toting the ingredient in her shopping basket. The plant oil promotes supple, deeply hydrated skin, especially when applied to the skin as well.
You can’t beat oily fish for enviable skin and hair. The fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel and sardines can help give you a post-facial-like glow, keeping your skin plump and moisturised.
And turkey isn’t just for Christmas, it’s a healthy dinner alternative all year. “A 100g serving contains nearly 75 per cent of an adult’s Recommend Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein. It’s also low in fat and rich in zinc and selenium – an antioxidant that benefits the skin and immune system,” says Hunter.
She also says carrots are hard to beat as a side dish. “They are rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A, which is essential for the manufacture of new skin cells.”
Nibbling on nuts will help conquer hunger pangs between meals – and top-up your beauty regime too. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and chewing a few a day can help improve skin texture and lessen after-meal surges in blood sugar levels. Hazelnuts are another good source.
Fruit also makes great beautifying snacks. Tangerines are a good source of lutein, while blueberries, strawberries and kiwi fruit are packed with vitamin C to aid collagen production and keep capillaries healthy. And munching a few dried apricots, high in iron, will help improve skin tone.