Perfect skin, perfect nails, perfect hair; all women desire these features, but how can we obtain them? While many women look to expensive shampoos, serums and salon trips for the answer, it can simply be found within our daily meals. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best solution when looking to improve beauty attributes. You can even use natural food sources as beauty treatments themselves without consuming them! That cream you spent a small fortune on which claims to smooth your skin and rid you of wrinkles may temporarily work, however, the backbone to long-lasting beauty is your health.
Do you know the largest organ in the body? Most may assume the liver. Guess again! It’s your skin! Skin is rightfully considered an organ because it acts to maintain body temperature and protect your body from bacteria and other external invaders . Being the largest organ, the skin is very important to protect and preserve.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are known to aid in lowering cholesterol and maintain skin cell regrowth. Rich in omega-3, flaxseed, olive oil, walnuts and salmon will aid in keeping the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin, firm and unbreakable by foreign toxins . Adding these healthy fat sources to your daily diet will help smoothen and soften your skin naturally as healthy, new skin cells replace old ones .
- Vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, and lycopene are all consideredantioxidants which discharge the highly reactive, DNA damaging atoms called free radicals that form between oxygen and other molecules in our body . Free radicals damage our skin cells, causing increased wrinkles, dry skin, tissue damage and signs of aging . Antioxidants restrain free radicals from damaging our cells and tissue, but since the body cannot produce the vitamins we know as antioxidants, we must include them in our diet to protect our skin . You can find an abundance of antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, other leafy greens, berries, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
- Natural Remedies: You can find great natural remedies for glowing, smooth, even skin from “The Doctors” plastic surgeon, Andrew Ordon MD,on Reader’s Digest. These skin recipes are easy to make and include food from your fridge and spice and oils from your cupboards. One notable, amazing beauty trick is using coconut oil as makeup remover! Rubbing coconut oil on your finger, downward on your eye and then rubbing it with a cotton ball will break up waterproof chemicals found in eye shadow and mascara  and leave your skin softer, fresher and younger looking.
With the numerous chemical hair dyes, a shampoo, sprays, gels and other products, it is complicated to understand if we are actually hurting or helping our hair. The many products we put into or spray on our hair can damage it right down to the root of each follicle. Along with toxic chemicals, our hair growth and health is affected by smoking, hormone imbalances, and lack of sleep . Along with skin, the best way to maintain strong and healthy hair is to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Nutrients consumed from a variety of fruits, vegetables and proteins help strengthen and protect hair follicles resulting in a healthier scalp and ultimately healthier hair .
- Low levels Iron and Zinc in the body can lead to a dry, flaky scalp as well as hair loss. Zinc and iron deliver oxygen to hair follicles, which is why anemia (depleted iron levels) causes hair loss . Eating a diet rich in iron and zinc will support hair follicle growth and regulate scalp oil circulation. You can find sources of iron and zinc in a variety of foods such as: nuts, eggs, fortified cereals and whole grain breads, chicken, fish, dark leafy greens, and soybeans! These minerals are found additionally in red meats, however, if you are a red meat lover, consume lean cuts only once or twice a week as red meat can contain unsafe hormones, antibiotics and overconsumption can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s .
- Composed of amino acids and promoting cell growth and repair, proteinis considered the building block of life . This applies to your hair too! Without enough protein, your hair will grow in dry and weak because it cannot healthily replace your naturally shed hair. Hair is 97% made up of protein, which is why eating a diet high in protein will promote hair growth and thickness . For optimal hair health, feed your body with at least one protein source at each meal in order to feed your hair. Healthy protein sources include: eggs, chicken, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, lean beef, salmon, and oysters.
- Natural Remedies: Mashing ripe avocados with an egg and applying it to wet hair is a great home remedy to strengthen brittle, damaged hair. The minerals and fatty acids in the avocados and eggs help to restore natural shine and texture to your locks. You can find more natural remedies on listed here on Reader’s Digest.
Paying attention to your nails is extremely important because fingernail color and texture can inform you if your body is experiencing specific medical conditions . Certain colors, lines, and rippling of your nails can means internal dysfunctions such as red nail beds indicate heart disease and dark lines beneath then nails indicate melanoma . Just like your skin and hair, your nails require nutrition for optimal growth and function. Observing your nails and feeding your body with a plethora of appropriate nutrients will support beautiful, strong, and healthy nails.
- Vitamin B (Biotin) found in egg yolk, cereals, legumes, milk, nuts, sweet potatoes and salmon reduces nail breakage. Vitamin B, especially Biotin, has been shown to increase the thickness of the nail plate, which strengthens brittle nails . To keep the thickness of your nail plates and avoid cracking and splitting, be sure to eat vitamin B in your daily diet or take a biotin supplement.
- Protein, Zinc and Iron work as a power threesome when it comes to nail health. Insufficient intake of iron, protein and zinc is linked to poor, slow nail growth as well as dry, brittle nails . Nails are composed of a protein called keratin that gives them their tough, tenacious surface. Protein deficiency decreases keratin production and zinc and iron deficiency decrease protein synthesis necessary for growth . Nails rely on protein to synthesize and produce keratin that depends on the abundance of zinc and iron for use. It is vital that you keep intake levels of these three nutrients elevated to repair and replenish your nails. Iron, zinc and Protein can be found in eggs, nuts, salmon, poultry, red meat, and some leafy greens.
- Natural Remedies: You can use many natural products found in grocery stores to help strengthen and renew your nails. If you are suffering from toenail fungus, acid in apple cider vinegar has been found to be aid in destroying the environment in which the fungus thrives .
Health lies within all beauty. One of the most beautiful aspects of life is health. Healthiness is happiness and healthiness is alluring. The key to all beauty, whether it is radiant skin, hair, or nails, is nutrition. Consume a diet rich in color and nutrients and you will notice graceful changes to your body and your mood. You can find beauty anywhere if you look deep enough. However, true beauty lies within our character and health.