Some things are out simply of our control. Changes in weather, extensive travel and stress can lead to dull, tired skin and hair. The good news is research shows that it’s possible to influence your looks by choosing specific foods. Skin regeneration, hair growth and hormone balance are all tied to what you eat.
Here are your must-eat foods to improve your skin and hair health.
This sweet fruit is jam packed with vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain, which is an effective skin softener. Drinking pineapple juice and snacking on a pineapple slice helps your body produce collagen, which strengthens your skin, and the Vitamin C and amino acids help with tissue repair.
Get fit tip: Add pineapple to your morning smoothie as a natural sweetener!
Collard greens are one of the most underappreciated vegetables in your grocery aisle. Their Vitamin C content is through the roof, which fights toxins in the body that can impact our skin and hair health. Just one cup of collard greens meets your recommended daily dose!
Get fit tip: Roll your favorite sandwich ingredients into a wrap using collard greens. Skip the bread to reduce your carb intake and get your Vitamin C fix in one go!
Tomatoes are a skincare dream! They help protect your skin from sun damage thanks for their high antioxidant levels. Increasing your tomato intake can significantly help your skin repel the suns rays, and recover from a nasty burn faster.
Get fit tip: Tomato season is in the summer months when the sun is high. Make a caprese salad with your favorite fresh cheese like mozzarella or burrata. Garnish with mint or basil, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Garlic might not be your first choice when it comes to noshing, thanks to the smell it leaves behind. Before you dismiss it completely, know that it has been used for centuries to help maintain clear, bright skin and produce health, shiny hair.
Get fit tip: To make the most of garlic’s natural antibiotic compounds, crush it or chop it and leave it on the cutting board for a few minutes before cooking.
Avocado is widely known for its health benefits, but it’s avocado oil that is having a moment. Avocados contain high concentrations of vitamins A, D and E and omega-9 fatty acids, all of which provide healthy skin benefits. The oil is even more concentrated than the fruit, helping to even out skin tone over time if added to your diet.
Get fit tip: Avocado oil has a high smoke point, so it’s ok to use for sautéing or roasting vegetables. Or drizzle it on your salad or cold summer soup.
Pop-eye was way ahead of the game with this one. Spinach is rich in beta carotene, which converts into the powerful anti-aging vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining moisture in the skin, which is especially important as we age. It helps to prevent wrinkles and increase cell turnover to remove dead skin cells.
Get fit tip: To get the most from this miracle worker, pair spinach with a food high in vitamin C. Try squeezing lemon into your salad dressing as a complement.
Because of its exceptional levels of omega-3 fats, consuming wild-caught salmon may help provide glowing and suppler skin. Also, the carotenoid anti-oxidants of astaxanthin found in salmon can greatly reduce the effects of free radical damage, which causes aging. Eating salmon three times a week can help you achieve more radiant skin.
Get fit tip: Other health benefits from salmon include: better eyesight, healthier heart, bones and joints, and cancer fighting benefits. Not bad!
Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are full of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps with collagen production. Collagen keeps the skin firm and protects the cells from further damage. It increases the skin’s ability to fight against oxidative damage.
Get fit tip: Red bell peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges! Myth busted.
Coconut water is a fantastic natural hydrator that contains potassium, an electrolyte that helps transmit nutrients throughout our cells. Coconut oil, which is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E and vitamin K is hailed as one of the best natural ingredients for hair growth and shine. You can put coconut oil directly on your strands, from root to tip and leave it in as a conditioner. Rub it directly on your skin, especially on dry areas like elbows and knees for maximum moisture and softness.
Get fit tip: Coconut oil has a high smoke point. Swap it out with your vegetable oil and use it for high heat cooking!
Eggs contain sulfur, which is necessary for the production of collagen and keratin. Both collagen and keratin help create and maintain shiny hair, strong nails and glowing skin.
Get fit tip: Eggs also help with liver function and absorption of vitamin B (to help detox after a big night out)!
Walnuts are packed full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which help your body retain moisture. They’re also full of healthy protein, making hair fuller and longer.
Get fit tip: Sprinkle walnuts on your breakfast oats or salad for added crunch and tons of health benefits.
These little superheroes have high contents of zinc, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which contribute to healthier, shinier hair. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin C, they help protect and repair your skin by helping it produce natural oils.
Get fit tip: You can also purchase pumpkin seed oil from your local health food store if you want higher concentrations of vitamins and nutrients. Massage the oil into your scalp, pull it through to your strands, leave it in overnight and wash it out the following day. You’ll feel and see the difference right away.
Hemp had its moment a few years back, but it is often forgotten in the health food aisle or associated with a more ‘natural’ lifestyle. It’s a great aid for glowing skin because it is rich with amino acids and essential fatty acids. Hemp helps to maintain your skin’s firmness and elasticity.
Get fit tip: Having trouble incorporating hemp into your diet? Sprinkle it on your morning cereal, or on your salad at lunch.
What can’t oysters do? A famous aphrodisiac and delicacy, these saltwater heroes do wonders for your hair, skin and nails. They are a great source of zinc, which helps with hair growth and skin cell turnover.
Get fit tip: One dozen oysters gives you 500% of your recommended daily intake of zinc!
Oats and hair health is a match made in heaven. Oats boast high contents of zinc, magnesium, potassium and biotin, which help to strengthen your hair follicle and prevent breakage.
Get fit tip: Switch out your cereal for oats in the morning for added nutritional benefits. Oats will also keep you full longer than most of the leading cereal brands. Decorate them however you choose with yoghurt, berries, nuts or honey.