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Eating for Beauty

by Amie Valpone

Top foods, along with food ingredients in natural beauty products, will result in glowing skin, healthy hair and strong nails.

We’ve all heard the age-old adage, “You are what you eat,” and it’s particularly true when it comes to beauty. Eating a healthy diet rich in organic foods that are loaded with powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients will yield countless beauty benefits. And now it’s easy to find a vast array of clean, pure beauty products on the market with healthy anti-inflammatory food ingredients that lead to glowing skin, healthy hair and strong nails. Here are top foods to feed your beauty, as well as beauty products for you to try when you don’t have time to fit them all on your plate.

What it is: Turmeric

What it Does: Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory food that can also help with your blood sugar levels as well as many other benefits. Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, is effective for treating inflammation, which can prevent the growth of new hair follicles.

Tip: Instead of focusing on just eating turmeric (you would need to eat a lot!), it’s a good idea to purchase a high-quality curcumin supplement. If you do choose to eat fresh turmeric, you can peel it, chop it and toss it into a smoothie for an earthy flavor, or steep it in a tea.

What it is: Walnuts

What it Does: Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which work wonders for the quality of the skin and hair. They provide B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium and more. The free radicals in walnut oil can help protect your skin from the effects of aging.

Tip: Eat raw walnuts to make sure you’re not eating walnuts coated in sugar, refined inflammatory oils and table salt, which are sold in many stores.

What it is: Spinach

What it does: Spinach is a well-known powerhouse of nutrients such as beta-carotene, to fend off damage to skin and hair by free radicals, which bombard us on a daily basis.

Tip: Spinach is a great base ingredient for smoothies. Toss in a handful of baby spinach to any smoothie recipe along with almond butter, a ripe banana, unsweetened almond milk and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

What it is: Avocados

What it Does: Avocados are loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C and a wide range of phytonutrients. They’re filled with healthy fats that are needed to support your hormones and contribute to the quality and texture of your hair and your skin.

Tip: Dice or slice the avocado and serve it in an afternoon salad, scrambled with your morning eggs or add it to a smoothie for a dose of healthy fat.

What it is: Blueberries

What it Does: Blueberries contain the phytonutrient known as resveratrol, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helps with the suppleness of our skin and hair. Blueberries (and all berries) are loaded with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports our skin and helps grow and strengthen the hair and build collagen.

Tip: Toss fresh blueberries into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes with a spritz of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for a flavorful and satisfying snack.

What it is: Almonds

What it Does: Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same health-promoting fats that you find in olive oil. They’re a source of biotin, which is needed for healthy skin and hair and they’re a great source of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.

Tip: Almonds are a great source of protein and they’re easy to snack on throughout the day. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips in the vending machine, grab a handful of raw almonds to hold you over until your next meal.

What it is: Tomatoes

What it Does: Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and biotin, which are both needed for healthy skin and hair. They’re also a great source of phytonutrients such as lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein, which do wonders for the skin.

Tip: Cook tomatoes on the stovetop with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, or until tender. Add a pinch of sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and oregano. Serve over whole grain pasta or roasted vegetables.

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