18 Aug Eat your Way to Gorgeous Hair & Nails with these Fab Foods
They say true beauty is on the inside – and by eating the right foods, you can really bring those words to life by nourishing your hair, skin and nails from the inside out. Sometimes the most powerful beauty treatments are found not in the bathroom cabinet, but in the pantry or fridge! Here’s a list of some tasty, filling and versatile foods that should be a part of your regular “inner beauty regime”.
Feeding your Hair
Here’s an interesting fact: While you think of it as an asset, your body considers hair to be non-essential, so while crucial bodily functions get first access to the nutrients you eat, your hair typically only gets the “leftovers”. If there aren’t enough nutrients to go around, your hair will be one of the first things to show the tell-tale signs of a deficiency – becoming brittle, dull and weak. Luckily, you can restore those silky locks by simply increasing your intake of these three nutrients: protein, zinc and iron.
Top 5 Foods for Beautiful Hair
This is arguably the world’s most delicious beautifying food! Raw chocolate is rich in zinc and iron, as well as amino acids which are essential for building protein. That means it’s got all three nutrients needed for lustrous locks.
Any orange-coloured vegetable or fruit is great for your hair. These foods are high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which helps your scalp to produce the naturally conditioning sebum that keeps your hair string and healthy. Carrots, apricots, pumpkins, mangoes and sweet potatoes are all great examples of hair-healthy foods.
Loaded with lignin, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, these humble seeds boast some amazing beautifying properties. Flax nourishes the follicles and helps to promote hair growth, prevent breakage and split ends, and even combat premature greying. Add more flax to your diet for beautiful bouncy hair and glowing skin.
These garden salad staples contain a little-known but amazing nutrient called lycopene. This is a carotenoid that’s present in red-coloured fruit and veg. Lycopene has anti-ageing and antioxidant properties; it nourishes the skin and the scalp, and helps to reduce hair-fall. Note: Cooked tomatoes actually give your body more lycopene than raw tomatoes! The vitamin A and vitamin C in tomatoes also promote healthy hair growth.
This leafy green is high in iron, promoting healthy hair growth and providing vegans and vegetarians with a great plant-based source of energy. Spinach also contains a carotenoid called lutein, which keeps your eyes clear and sparkling – a must-have beauty booster!
Nourishing your Nails
Healthy nails should be firm, strong and slightly shiny. Chipping, peeling, ridges and discolouration are all signs that your nails aren’t getting enough nourishment. Your nails are made of a hard protein called keratin, which needs vitamins A, B, C, calcium and proteins to stay strong.
Top 5 Foods for Beautiful Nails
Almond nuts and almond butter are rich sources of biotin; a B vitamin that restores thin and brittle nails. Your body doesn’t store biotin, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of this nutrient daily. Almond oil also makes a great topical treatment for strong shiny nails and soft cuticles.
Embrace your inner mermaid and snack on some seaweed. Kombu, wakame and nori all work wonders for strong nails and healthy skin. Sea vegetables are rich in calcium, which strengthens weak or brittle nails, as well as magnesium, iodine and potassium for overall health. Seaweed is delicious with rice and a little soy sauce, or mixed into stews and soups.
Vitamin C strengthens skin and connective tissue; a lack of vitamin C often causes painful “hangnails”; dry, tearing skin around the fingernails. Oranges, grapefruit and lemons are all loaded with vitamin C, and are great for keeping your nails healthy and beautiful. Plus, soaking your nails in a little natural lemon juice will leave them looking whiter and brighter!
Zinc deficiency causes slow growth, discolouration and white spots in the nails. Pumpkin seeds are a great nail-boosting snack, because they’re remarkably high in zinc, and also pack the power of omega-3.
These little beauties contain all essential amino acids, in a form that your body can easily absorb. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which you need to strengthen your nails. Hemp seeds are also a great source of nail-nourishing vitamin B and vitamin E.
Tell us about your favourite beauty-boosting foods!