Make what you eat count
Fed up with expensive and disappointing skin creams, hair products and beauty treatments? Then try eating yourself beautiful. Here are 10 nutritious foods that can help with everything from chapped lips to acne
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Weak or thinning hair
WHAT TO EAT: Wholegrains
Wholegrains such as brown rice and oats are rich in essential B vitamins including biotin (B7), which can help alleviate hair loss and brittle hair. They are also a good source of silica, which can help reduce hair breakage, and zinc - an important hair nutrient which, in its deficiency, can lead to hair loss. Try to eat a variety of wholegrains (opting for those that are as close to their natural state as possible) for healthy, strong and shiny hair.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Dark under-eye circles
WHAT TO EAT: Spinach
There are many causes of dark circles under the eyes, including heredity, tiredness and anaemia. However, one of the reasons for dark circles can be poor circulation. To address this and alleviate under-eye shadows, try to up your intake of vitamins K and C, which help to boost circulation and strengthen capillary walls. Dark, leafy greens such as spinach are good sources of these.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Dry skin
WHAT TO EAT: Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E, which can help the skin retain its natural moisture levels and stay soft and hydrated. Opt for flaxseeds or walnuts for maximum skin benefits, as these are also rich in skin-saving omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to keep dry skin at bay.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Stained teeth
WHAT TO EAT: Crunchy fruit and vegetables
The most important steps for getting perfect white teeth are maintaining good oral health standards (brushing, flossing and regularly visiting the dentist) and cutting down on cigarettes and teeth-staining foods and drinks. However, following meals with crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery and carrots can also help whiten teeth. The abrasiveness of these crunchy foods can help give your teeth a post-meal clean, removing bacteria and lifting stains from their surface.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Chapped lips
WHAT TO EAT: Yoghurt and oatmeal smoothie
Cracked, flaky lips can affect us all from time to time, but if you find yourself suffering regularly from chapped lips it could be a sign of a B vitamin deficiency. B vitamin complex helps to nourish the skin and keep it healthy, so try increasing your intake of foods rich in B vitamins - such as yoghurt and oats - to help keep chapped lips hydrated. Oats and yoghurt are also good sources of zinc, which can help sore, cracked lips to heal more quickly.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Bags under the eyes
WHAT TO EAT: Avocado
If you're suffering from a puffy face or under-eye bags, it could be that you're experiencing fluid retention. Luckily, this can be overcome through your diet by redressing your balance of sodium and potassium. Try cutting back on salt and increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods such as avocado. Avocado is also rich in healthy fatty acids which will help keep skin soft and supple and reduce inflammation.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Wrinkles
WHAT TO EAT: Oily fish
To help keep skin supple and wrinkle-free, make sure you are getting a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These help to keep skin nourished from within, preventing dehydration and dryness, and boosting the skin's collagen production, helping prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. If you are not a fan of oily fish, other good sources of omega-3 include flaxseeds and walnuts.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Acne
WHAT TO EAT: Garlic
Garlic is not only a great heart-healthy superfood, it is also good for helping keep skin clear and acne-free. With its natural antibiotic, blood cleansing, immune boosting and antibacterial properties, garlic can help to fight against the bacteria responsible for acne, while its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce swelling and inflammation.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Pale complexion
WHAT TO EAT: Shellfish
If you are suffering from pale, sallow skin, it could be that you are suffering from anaemia, which is caused by deficiencies in iron or vitamin B12. To alleviate this, try upping your intake of these nutrients by eating more seafood - in particular oysters - which contain high levels of both.
BEAUTY PROBLEM: Weak, brittle nails
WHAT TO EAT: Egg yolk
Research has suggested that upping your intake of biotin (vitamin B7) can help improve the firmness and strength of nails and reduce brittleness. Studies have also suggested that deficiencies in iron and zinc can lead to nail abnormalities. To strengthen your nails, try eating more egg yolk-rich foods such as omelettes and pancakes, which are packed with these nutrients. Eggs are also a great source of protein, which is essential for healthy nail growth.
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