I decided to write a summary of the general things we should and shouldn’t eat if we want to have flawless skin, hair and nails, in case this isn’t completely clear from the other posts here.
Why does diet matter for beauty?
I wrote a lot about this in another post, but in case you’ve missed it, here’s the short version.
Do you know that the body is constantly under construction? Indeed cells die and get replaced all the time. It’s an ongoing maintenance, guys. The body doesn’t just rest on its laurels. It’s actually very dynamic structure.
Well the main role of the diet is to provides the nutrients for that “renovation”. The nutrients are the building blocks that makes this whole maintenance possible. No building blocks, no building right?
That’s why what we eat on a regular basis shows up in our skin, hair and nails. After all these are the body tissues that we can actually see.
We can’t see what’s going on inside of us (thank god!), but from the appearance of the skin, hair and nails you can often tell if somebody’s taking good care of themselves or not.
“Unfortunately” you can’t cover a lack of self-care with make up.
More on this: 11 Reasons Why Diet Is Important For Beauty
SO WHAT SHOULD WE EAT FOR BEAUTIFUL SKIN, HAIR AND NAILS?
Plus a little extra.
We don’t need to invest in the newest food trends or the most expensive foods. The truth is, all we need to look good are the most basic and simplest foods.
Let’s see which ones.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables should make the biggest part of your diet. They have a low glycemic index, a lot of fiber & antioxidants and almost no calories. Which translated into a non-snob language means: Jackpot.
It just doesn’t get any better than fruits and vegetables. No matter what crazy diet you’re trying right now, if fruits and vegetables are not the main part of it – it will not make you feel or look good long-term.
Fruits and vegetables do three very important things for us humans. 1. They reduce oxidative stress. 2. They get rid of inflammation. 3. They supply essential and non-essential nutrients.
And this, friends, is worth more than diamonds. Diamonds might be your best friend, but they do not reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Those 2 in excess suck. They’re associated with premature aging, a million kinds of diseases and as for skin-related conditions: acne, psoriasis and wrinkles.
See also: 5 anti-inflammatory foods to eat daily
So when you eat more fruits and vegetables you actually prevent all those conditions.
On top you supply your skin with water to moisturize, minerals and essential vitamins. Among others vitamin C, which is needed to build collagen– the protein that holds the whole body together and is essential for skin, hair and nails.
Key here is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. That’s when the magic happens. Don’t just focus on one thing. Sure kale might be great, but you know what’s better? Kale and lemon. For example.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Nuts and seeds come right after fruits and vegetables. They’re very antioxidant-rich, contain vitamin E, which acts synergistically with vitamin C to protect the skin from all evil UV-radiation and a lot of minerals like zinc and iron that are essential for beautiful skin.
Nuts and seeds also rich in polyunsaturated fats that are important for the maintenance of the skin barrier – the thing that keeps your skin cells hydrated and keeps the skin moisturized.
SPICES & HERBS
Spices and herbs are among my very favorite foods. They can do it all – anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and so antioxidant-rich. They’re amazing. In fact herbs and spices are so great that people used to cure a variety of diseases with them long long long before we were even born. My favorites are definitely turmeric and garlic as both of these are shown to help with various dermatological issues. Among others wound healing, hair loss and acne.
PULSES AND WHOLE GRAINS
Now 2 foods avoided by millions are whole grains and pulses. Wonder why. These foods are both low GI, high-fiber and proven to be great for weight loss.
On top many of them are a source of potential prebiotic like lentils and oats. Prebiotics are very important for healthy skin as they help grow good bacteria inside your gut. This then improves the immune system, overall health and the absorption of essential nutrients. The fiber inside whole grains and legumes also helps get rid of potential toxins in food quicker.
Aside from that legumes and whole grains are a great source of protein, iron, folate, magnesium and zinc – all things that the skin needs.
OILS, FATTY FISH AND FERMENTED FOODS
Apart from whole foods and plants there are some foods that can be beneficial for beauty.
- Olive oil and Coconut oil provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E that are needed to maintain the skin barrier function. Also, these nutrients are important for the absorption of carotenoids found in vegetables. Carotenoids are important for healthy complexion and are considered a natural sunscreen.
- Whole grains and legumes might contain prebiotics, but fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut contain probiotics. Both of these improve digestion, your overall health and your skin health. The difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that prebiotics are the food of the bacteria inside the gut, while probiotics are the actual bacteria that you’re trying to bring into your gut. Probiotics are very important whenever you’ve taken antibiotics to bring the microflora back to normal.
- Last but not least, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna. Rich in omega-3’s, protein, vitamin B12 and Selenium, all important for your skin health. However fish also contains a lot of mercury and toxins, so eat that in moderation.
Together these foods provide all the essential nutrients we need for the skin, hair and nails – vitamins and minerals, fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids and protein.
Also take a look at what habits might be causing you wrinkles.
BEAUTY BENEFITS OF THESE BEAUTY FOODS
A diet that consists of beauty foods exclusively can:
- prevent or slow down the development of wrinkles and skin aging in general (although keeping out of the sun is really important for this particular beauty problem – read more about it here)
- prevent skin breakouts
- enhance wound healing
- prevent skin conditions caused by virus or bacteria like herpes or acne
- provide a healthy complexion
- prevent hair loss
- moisturize skin
Aside from giving you healthy skin, hair and nails the foods here are shown to:
- improve immune system
- reduce inflammation
- provide antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress that causes aging and diseases
- enhance detoxification
- protect against heart & cardiovascular diseases
- prevent cancer
- protect against neurodegenerative diseases
They might even improve conditions like allergies, autoimmune diseases and infections. A good thing to remember is that the foods that are healthy for you are always good for your appearance.
NOTE: Some of the beauty foods might not be suitable for you. If you have a certain intolerance or allergy, for example to gluten, fructose or nuts/seeds – it’s still best for you to avoid these foods. If you’re on a special diet like paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free – eat the foods that you love and that make you feel good – that’s always good for the skin.
Just make sure the foods you consume add value to your diet and your life.