It might be a cliché, but beauty really does come from the inside—especially when you consider the foods you need for gorgeous skin, hair and nails. Although women around the world spend millions of dollars each year on beauty products, incorporating the right nutrients into your diet can have as much (or more!) of an impact.
Here are some of the best beauty foods to start eating now:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in: Salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, cooked soybeans, squash, shrimp and eggs (look for added omega-3 on the carton).
What they are: A class of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
What they do: Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can improve the look of your skin. These nutrients boost circulation and reduce inflammation in cells, which in turn reduces wrinkles, redness and skin sagging. They can also reduce the risk of obesity, along with other diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease and. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be absorbed better through food than supplements.
Found in: Coffee, blueberries, tomatoes, tea, red wine, cinnamon, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, kiwi and oregano.
What they are: Nutrients that can prevent or slow down oxidative damage.
What they do: Foods that are considered antioxidants are amazing beauty foods because they can help prevent premature aging. When our bodies use oxygen, they naturally produce byproducts called free radicals—and exposure to them can speed up aging. Antioxidants act as free radical “scavengers,” protecting our cells against free radicals’ effects. (And did we really need an excuse to eat more chocolate?)
Found in: Oysters, red meat, poultry, whole grains, nuts, beans, crab, lobster and dairy products.
What it is: An essential mineral that helps the body manufacture proteins and perform enzymatic functions.
What it does: Zinc helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. It enhances our sense of smell and taste and also reduces the risk of vision problems.
Found in: Sweet potatoes, pasta, orange vegetables, apricots, broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, oatmeal, peaches, mango and tomato juice.
What it is: The main dietary source of vitamin A.
What it does: Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays is the fastest route to sun damage and premature aging. But if you eat foods rich in beta-carotene, you can actually get some natural sun protection. It’s also been shown to repair sun damage and brown spots.