Want glossy hair and glowing skin? Skip the expensive conditioning masks and detoxifying facials and, instead, make yourself a salmon omelette with steamed broccoli on the side. Why? Because what you put inside your body directly impacts how it looks outside. “Skin, hair and nails are powerful indicators of healthy eating,” says Crystal Di Domizio, a holistic nutritionist in Vancouver. Tweaking key parts of your diet can lead to a boost in the look of your skin, hair and nails. But don’t expect to see a difference by dinnertime. “It will take at least 30 days of consistent effort to see results,” she says.
Here’s where to start:
“The number one way to improve skin, hair and nails is to eat quality fats,” says Di Domizio. Fats help your body absorb vitamins A and E, which give you pretty skin, soft, shiny hair and strong nails. “Lower quality or refined fats, such as those in canola or vegetable oils, actually contain a lot of free radicals, which are known to cause wrinkles,” she says. And it’s as easy as drizzling two tablespoons of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil on your daily salad, or stir-frying with unrefined virgin coconut oil. And don’t forget fish. It’s swimming in healthy oils and omega-3 fatty acids, which leave you with firmer skin. Salmon sandwich, anyone?
The rainbow connection
Fruits and vegetables are bursting with the vitamins and minerals that your skin, hair and nails rely on to be fabulous. Five servings (one serving is only ½ cup/125 millilitres) of veggies and three servings of fruit daily will do the trick. “And eat colourfully to get as many nutrients as possible,” advises Di Domizio.
Orange foods (carrots and oranges) contain beta-carotene to fight wrinkle-causing free radicals and vitamin C to strengthen collagen fibers in the skin and hair.
Red choices (tomatoes and cherries) are a source of lycopene, which may protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Greens (broccoli and kale) are rich in multiple vitamins like A and C.
Blue/purple foods (eggplant and blueberries) contain flavonoids that make skin glow and hair shine thanks to improved blood flow.
Make it meat
Protein is a powerhouse for your skin, hair and nails because it’s what your body relies on to replace old or dying cells, says Di Domizio. But many women skip the suggested two servings of meat or alternatives per day. One serving is totally doable: Think two eggs or a piece of meat or fish about the size of a deck of cards. So start your Sunday with eggs and finish with steak. You’ll get a protein boost and an extra dose of vitamin A from the eggs. Or sear a piece of halibut for dinner. It’s high in protein and quality fats, making it a two-for-one deal for better skin, hair and nails.