Beauty Food Secrets: What you need to be eating for healthy skin & hair!
By Rebecca Gawthorne – Dietitian & Nutritionist
What you eat directly affects the health of your skin, hair and nails. Why? Because the food you eat actually breaks down to form the very cells of your skin and hair. We need to nourish our skin from the inside out. If you want glowing, radiant skin, shiny, strong hair and nails – you need to look at your diet!
Here is my list of top beauty foods for hair, skin and nails:
Think blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, acai berries, goji berries & boysenberries. Berries are a power house of super food skin nutrition. They are brightly coloured, sweet balls of juicy goodness that help maintain radiant, beautiful skin. The natural plant pigments (scientifically called polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins and tannins) which give berries their vibrant colours, actually make your skin look vibrant too! Berries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which fight off free radicals that can damage the cells in our hair, skin and nails. The antioxidants in berries also help neutralise the free radicals that consume collagen and elastin which are the fibres that support skin structure. So berries can prevent wrinkles and other signs of premature ageing.
How to Eat: Try adding berries to your smoothies, with yoghurt, in fruit salads, on muesli, in desserts or just as a snack on their own.
Flaxseed, Chia seeds & Walnuts
Your skin, hair & nails are built from nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and minerals. Chia, flaxseeds and walnuts are bursting with these healthy beauty nutrients, particularly omega-3s. These healthy fats form the cellular structure of your skin and hair and support skin suppleness. If your skin is dull and flaky, and your hair is dry and lifeless, you may be lacking Omega-3s. Try adding some flax, chia and walnuts into your daily eating to enhance moisture retention and hydrate your skin and hair. Omega-3s are also anti-inflammatory, aiding to reduce skin irritations & redness.
How to Eat: Add a few tsps of chia seeds and flaxseeds to smoothies, porridge and muesli. Try a handful of walnuts as a snack. Enjoy a delicious bliss ball made with nuts and seeds (see recipe Nourish Naturally’s Beauty Bliss Balls).
Pumpkin & Pumpkin Seeds
Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are a beauty food secret. Loaded with protein like chia and flaxseeds, they are essential for skin, hair and nail growth. Protein is used by our bodies to build and repair tissues and is integral to the structure of all cells, including our skin, hair and nails. Pumpkin seeds are also high in nutrients like vitamin E, zinc, iron and magnesium that contribute to skin cell regeneration, tissue repair and the formulation of collagen and elastin. Thus they support skin structure and reduce visible wrinkles and other signs of premature ageing. These beauty nutrients also strengthen brittle nails and reduce nail breaking and splitting.
The antioxidant carotenoids, which give pumpkin it’s orange colour, also helps protect your cells from free radical damage and aids your skin and hair to grow, maintain and heal, especially from flaking or redness.
How to Eat: Roasted pumpkin and pepitas are great additions to salads or made into a dessert for a tasty dessert. Check out my Instagram @nourish_naturally for my healthy Pumpkin “Cheese Cake” recipe.
Think rocket, kale, spinach, cucumber, radicchio, bok choy, lettuce, broccoli, celery, watercress and wheatgrass. Fresh leafy greens are our number one food for providing the minerals we need for superior beauty, while simultaneously giving us the vitamins we need to build healthy skin, nails and hair. Eating an abundance of greens gives us that ‘healthy glow’ we all want. The most nutritious way to eat your greens in in their fresh, less cooked state. Overcooking, like boiling, can destroy certain nutrients in green veggies, especially the water soluble vitamins.
How to Eat: Kick-start your morning with a green smoothie or juice (try my recipe Nourish Naturally’s Super Skin Green Smoothie below). Add a mix of leafy greens to your salads, include greens like broccoli and bok choy in stir-fry’s & dip celery to healthy homemade dips like avocado and hummus. You can even try baking chopped kale with a sprinkle of chilli flavour and a squeeze of lemon juice to make ‘kale chips’.
Other Beauty Food Do’s & Don’ts:
- Do drink water – your body is more than 65% water. You need to drink to flush out the toxins, which can otherwise build up in the skin.
- Don’t consumer too much refined sugar, alcohol, trans fats, processed foods – these are all toxic to your skin, hair and nails and don’t provide you with the nutrients for healthy skin.
- Get fresh air, sunshine, adequate sleep (aim for 8 hours) and find ways to relax
Nourish Naturally’s Beauty Bliss Balls
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup deseeded medjool dates, chopped
- 1tbs coconut oil
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 3tbs chia seeds or flaxseeds
- Place all ingredients into blender excluding coconut & blend until combined.
- Roll into balls with hands and coat with coconut.
Nourish Naturally’s Super Skin Green Smoothie
- Bunch of fresh kale/spinach (keep refrigerated)
- 1 banana; pre-sliced & frozen
- Fresh mint leaves
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 cup milk of choice
- Blend all ingredients together & enjoy!