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6 Beauty-Boosting Foods for Your Skin and Hair

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Katherine Brooking, RD - Blogs
By Katherine Brooking, MS, RDRegistered dietitianJanuary 4, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

According to a recent survey, if you’re a woman, you’ll spend nearly $ 4,000 per year, or $ 250,000 over the course of your life, on beauty products like hair care, makeup, lotions and creams. Research shows that beautiful skin and hair is more about what you put in your body not on it. A less expensive — and more effective — way to get gorgeous is with adequate sleep, daily sun protection, and a healthy, balanced diet.

Here are six beauty foods that provide key vitamins, minerals and other compounds to help keep your hair and complexion radiant for a lifetime.

For Skin:

Salmon. In addition to their heart health benefits, the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon are important for your skin’s health. One study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that older people who enjoyed more fish over their life had fewer wrinkles compared to those who ate more meat.

In another study, researchers found that people who ate diets rich in fish oils and other omega-3 fats had a 29 percent lower risk of squamous cell skin cancer than those who ate very little omega-3 fats. For a beautifying meal, try one of my favorite salmon dishes: Alaska Salmon with Asian Glaze

Kale. As one of the most nutrient-rich produce picks, it’s not surprising that kale can also help your skin look its best. Kale is loaded with potent antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and carotenoids to help combat the stress of sun exposure and other environmental pollutants that can leave skin wrinkled and sallow. Studies indicate that lower levels of vitamin A may lead to more prominent wrinkles. As a beauty bonus kale is also rich in iron and B6, which can keep hair looking full and shiny. Just 1 cup of kale meets 180% of your vitamin A and 200% of your vitamin C daily requirement. All this in just 36 calories! Not sure how to fit kale into your beauty routine? Check out this raw kale salad with oranges.

Tea. Tea contains compounds known as polyphenols that have potent antioxidant properties. According to some studies, polyphenols may help prevent sun-related skin cancers. Plus green tea is especially rich in a compound known as EGCG that may keep skin looking youthful. Potential beauty benefits aside, unsweetened tea is always a good, calorie-free hydration choice.

For Hair:

Eggs. Eggs are important for hair because they’re loaded with biotin, a B-vitamin essential for hair growth and scalp health. While there are many supplements containing biotin, deficiency is rare, so look to food to meet your needs. In addition to eggs, you’ll also find this nutrient in nuts and nut butters, wheat bran, wild salmon and avocados. Make eggs a part of your beauty routine with this delicious Broccoli Cheddar Frittata.

Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which is necessary for all cell growth, including hair. Vitamin A can protect your hair from looking dull and lifeless, and keep your scalp from getting flaky. Sweet potatoes also considered one of nature’s superfoods. One cup of cooked sweet potato has a whopping 4 grams of fiber, and more than 3x the amount of beta-carotene that you need in a day. Due to the fiber and complex carbohydrates in the potato, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than regular white potatoes. For a fabulous side dish, don’t miss this Sweet Potato Casserole.

Bell Peppers. Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which is essential for hair health. Vitamin C is an important component of collagen, which helps make hair (and skin) stay strong.  Vitamin C deficiencies can lead to hair breakage. Not a big fan of peppers? You’ll also find vitamin C in many fruits and veggies, including strawberries, mangos, pineapple, oranges, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. For an easy and tasty meal with bell peppers, try this Spaghetti with Zucchini and Roasted Bell Peppers dish.

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About the Author
Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

Katherine Brooking is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition education from Columbia University. She is dedicated to helping people have better health and live richer lives through sound nutrition and good lifestyle choices.

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