Beauty is about more than makeup and hair. Read on for the best beauty foods, and how to eat healthy to be hot!
Some of you may know that I recently made a big life change and moved onto a sailboat in San Diego. For this clothes horse and accessory junkie, getting rid of all my designer duds- from Dior stilettos to Betsey Johnson dresses- was a painful process, wrought with anxiety and maybe even a few tears. Shallow as it is, I relied on those clothes and shoes to make me feel amazing when I wanted to dress up and go out. One evening, over a glass of red wine, i was sharing my difficulties with my friend Liz, and she gave me some valuable words of wisdom. She said this:
“It’s nice to have expensive things, but your real accessories are with you all the time. Take care of your skin, take care of your hair, and take care of your teeth. When you have radiant skin, shining hair, and pearly teeth, no one is even looking at your outfit. It could be from Forever 21, it could be from Gucci, but when YOU look good inside the clothes, the clothes don’t matter.”
Wow! What true words. I thought about what Liz said, and the next day I was at the consignment shop with arms full of dresses, shoes, and purses. I walked out of the shop lighter, more free, and a thousand dollars richer! It’s good to let go of excess baggage. Doing so got me thinking about the advice I’d been given. I eat a pretty healthy diet, and practice yoga regularly. I lift weights, surf, and jog a few times a week. I wear sunscreen (most of the time) and hats when I’m in the sun for an extended period of time. But thinking over the times in my life when I’ve felt the MOST stunning…
The most beautiful I’ve ever felt was when I was eating a plant-based diet, with the occasional piece of fish, and juicing daily. During that time, my skin was glowing, I lost weight naturally and easily, and I had boundless energy!
What is it about plant foods that make us feel so beautiful, inside and out?
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and fats, all of which we require in large amounts to maintain a healthy body. Micronutrients are commonly referred to as “vitamins and minerals.” Micronutrients include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins. Though we need them only in minute quantities (hence the name), micronutrient deficiencies can cause serious health problems, as well as make us look older, tired, and dull.
So what should we eat to stay beautiful, radiant, and happy? Following is a list of some beneficial beauty foods, and how they boost your radiance:
10 Beauty Foods
Strawberries: Vitamin C in strawberries is the building block of Collagen, which is responsible for keeping skin smooth. One cup of strawberries has over 100% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C.
Romaine lettuce: Vitamin A in romaine lettuce is important for regeneration and revitalization of skin cells. Eat six leaves of romaine lettuce to get 100% of the recommended daily value.
Almonds*: Vitamin E in almonds is an antioxidant that neutralizes the oxidant effect of free radicals, which are molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. Eat raw almonds, almond butter, or apply almond oil directly to skin. *If you don’t care for almonds, try sunflower seeds- sunbuttter is super tasty and good gor you!
Green or Black Tea: Tea also contains antioxidants such as EGCG that helps protect you from skin cancer, as well as prevents the breakdown of collagen. Drink a cup anytime you want a bit of energy, but remember that green tea contains caffeine, so avoid if you’re on a cleanse.
Dark Leafy Greens: There are so many benefits to eating dark leafy greens, I hardly know where to start! Most have a lot of water, which hydrates the body and improves appearance of skin and hair. The high fiber content is beneficial for appetite management, because eating them keeps you full longer than other greens. Collard and kale are two greens that are rich in calcium, which helps to keep your teeth strong. Dark greens also contain phytochemicals, which are amazing disease-fighting agents.
Blueberries: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants… blueberries are a powerhouse when it comes to their nutritional benefits. Ripe, juicy organic blueberries are also amazingly delicious, like natures candy! I eat them by the handful, but if you want to make a meal of it, combine 1/2 cup greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, almonds, and a drizzle of honey, and you’ve got a delicious sweet treat that’s healthy as well.
Tomatoes: These beauty boosters contain lycopene, which is a carotenoid that fights free radicals in the body. This means that tomatoes are cancer-fighters! Tomato juice can be used to reduce skin oiliness, lighten skin tone, cleanse skin, tighten pores, remove blackheads, and reduce acne. Who knew?! For details on how to incorporate tomato juice into your beauty routine, visit Dr. Granny’s site and read more.
Salmon: This tasty fish is a skin superhero due to the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids it contains. These healthy fats nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and averting fine lines and wrinkles. My favorite way to cook salmon is simple: Lemon juice, lemon pepper, dash of sea salt, and pinch of garlic. Wrap it up in foil, skin down, toss it in the oven for twenty minutes at 350, and you’re all set for dinner.
Sweet Potatoes: Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes is what gives them their rich reddish-orange pigment. It’s also an antioxidant which helps protect your skin against damage from sun exposure. Dice them into small cubes, toss in olive oil until coated, sprinkle with turmeric, a pinch of nutmeg, and a few dashes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and bake in a casserole dish for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. So delicious- when I make these, there are never leftovers! Even my die-hard fast-food loving friends compliment me on these potatoes, and it’s the simplest recipe ever!
Kiwi: This furry little fruit is packed with Vitamin C, which supports collagen and elastin production, keeping your skin supple and smooth. Unlike some other fruits, whose vitamin C evaporates out soon after being picked, the furry skin on kiwi keeps the vitamin C locked in until you eat it. Try kiwis in a tropical fruit salad with mango, papaya, starfruit or dragon fruit. Kiwis are also super scrumptious juiced. I like kiwi-apple-strawberry-lime juice. It’s so sweet, you can add a cup of spinach, and you won’t even taste it! So tasty over ice on a hot summer day.
So, now you know some foods which will help you stay radiant and keep your skin looking younger than it’s years. There are also a few nasty skin-harming foods that you should try to avoid at all cost. The first is a toxic substance that is, according to some studies, as addictive as crack cocaine. You know the one I’m talking about… SUGAR. Oh, how it pains me to write this! I love sugar. I love it in all it’s glorious forms. In the past year, I’ve made an effort to choose sugar sources that are not refined, such as turbinado, honey, and agave. Though being mindful of what we consume is always a good idea, sadly, even my “natural” sugars still have negative effects on the skin. Glycation is the breakdown of sugars by the body. This process damages collagen, which keeps skin smooth and firm. So what’s a girl with a sweet tooth to do?
Skip the Sugar
Skip the sugar, sister, and go for a closer to the earth option like honey, maple syrup, agave, stevia, or coconut sugar. It’s great for baking, or for sweetening coffee or tea. If it’s chocolate you’re after (which is cocoa with milk and refined sugar), choose raw cacao (a superfood!) first, or allow me to introduce you to my new friend, Carob! Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. When dried and ground, the result is a powder that looks very much like cocoa powder. I recently tasted oatmeal cookies made with sucanat (raw unrefined sugar) and carob, and they were the BEST oatmeal cookies I’ve ever had. I’ll round up the recipe and post it here soon.
Quality Whole Foods
Also, when eating for beautiful skin, be very wary of conventionally produced animal products, including meat, dairy, and poultry. They are often chock full of hormones, which can lead to acne breakouts, as well as more serious risks like increased cancer rate. If meat and poultry are part of your diet, carefully check the packaging of your meat and try to choose organic, grass-fed, free-range animal products. The closer you get to the source, the better the meat will be for you. Our bodies produce hormones and carefully regulate them. Unfortunately, a conventional American diet is saturated with excess hormones and steroids from animal products. Ovarian cysts, breast cancer, and many other types of cancer have been linked to hormones and steroids in food. Read this article, published by researchers at Cornell University, and see what you think.
Don’t Count Calories
Many women think that cutting calories is the best way to quickly lose weight. Warning!: Deprivation and restriction may work to lose weight quickly, but you risk starving your body of micronutrients which are vital to cell regeneration and healthy cell divison. Fatty acids are essential to having glowy, dewy skin. A strict low fat diet may result in acne, dry hair, dry skin, broken fingernails, and mental confusion. So if you want to be beautiful, EAT! Just choose wisely, and eat well.
Choosing foods which are “whole,” meaning closest to their natural state (like freshly picked fruits and vegetables) will ensure that you’re getting the most available enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients from your food. So treat yourself right today, eat healthy, and be hot!
Tags: aging, beauty, cancer, change, dermatology, diet, eating, eating well, food, fruits, get skinny, health, healthy eating, make up, makeover, sex appeal, skin, skin care, sugar, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian, weight loss, wellness, whole foods, yoga