One of the most effective ways to keep your skin looking healthy and glowing is by eating plenty of the right of fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants (like beta-carotene) and vitamins A, C, and E can slow down, prevent, and sometimes reverse the damage caused by free radicals, the cause of premature aging. Therefore it not only is it important to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables (2 servings of fruit per day and 3 servings of vegetables), it is also important to eat a wide variety in terms of colors.
It is recommended that you try to include at least three colors of fruits and vegetables with every meal. Fruits and vegetables can appear in 6 main colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple and white. Each color has different benefits to promote beautiful skin.
Red Food- contains phytochemicals which help improve your memory, decrease your risk of cancer, and improve the health of your circulatory system, which affects your skin. Below are a list of red foods and their beneficial properties
- Cherries – contain a high amount of antioxidants that help shield your skin from free radicals. They also help you protect your body against diabetes, arthritis, inflammation, and heart disease.
- Red bell peppers – contain more vitamin C than oranges and are also low fat and low calorie. Red bell pepper will help with the appearance of brighter skin. They also help boost the immune system, improve the body’s digestion, and decrease the risk of developing colon cancer.
- Tomatoes – high in lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps reduce cell damage. Tomatoes help with the production of your skin’s natural SPF. They are also helpful in decreasing the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
- Other nutritious red foods: cranberries, raspberries, beets, pink grapefruit, watermelon, strawberries, red kidney beans, red grapes, radishes, red apples, and red onions.
Orange Food – high in antioxidants such as carotenoids, bioflavonoids, and vitamin C. Orange foods play a major role in skin and eye health. They also improve your immune system, promote a healthy heart, and decrease the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers.
- Carrots – high in vitamin A which is necessary for maintaining the overall skin health. Carrots also contain beta-carotene, which protects against dry skin and helps boost the immune system.
- Sweet potatoes – high in vitamins A and C, fiber, and iron. They are also full of antioxidants. Sweet potatoes reduce skin swelling, facilitate the healing of cuts, and decrease the risk of skin cancer.
- Peaches – contain vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as fiber. Peaches help prevent and reverse skin cell damage. They also aid digestion and reduce inflammation.
- Other nutritious orange foods: oranges, apricots, nectarines, mangoes, tangerines, cantaloupe, and butternut squash.
Yellow Food – high in beta carotenes and alpha carotenes. Yellow foods promote brighter and clearer skin. They also improve acne.
- Pineapples – contain bromelain, which has been found to soften skin and synthesize collagen. The vitamin C also helps in reducing the risks cancer, stroke, heart disease, and cataracts.
- Yellow peppers – high in vitamins A and C, they improve the skin’s overall well-being and help prevent wrinkles and premature aging. Yellow peppers also contain carotenoids, which reduces the risk cardiovascular diseases.
- Other nutritious yellow foods: lemons, yellow squash, yellow tomatoes, yellow figs, yellow pears, and grapefruit.
Green Foods – contain phytochemicals such as indoles and lutein. These foods are responsible for the rejuvenation of the body and the skin. Other benefits of green foods include healthy eyes, rejuvenated muscles, stronger teeth and bones, and the reduced risk of certain cancers including cervical, colon, and breast cancer.
- Avocados – full of ‘good’ fats and biotin, which aids in quenching dry skin and brittle hair and nails.
- Spinach – full of antioxidants and vitamins C and K which have anti-aging properties and help promote strong bones.
- Kiwi – high in vitamin E and C, glutathione, and folate which help skin to remain strong and moisturized, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease in the future.
- Other nutritious green foods: broccoli, green apples, honeydew melon, limes, green grapes, avocados, pears, asparagus, green beans, green cabbage, cucumbers, peas, green peppers, lettuce.
Purple and Blue Foods – contain a high amount of anthocyanins which are essential for anti-aging and skin care. These foods also improve your bone and teeth health, reduce the risk of developing cancer, improve urinary tract health, and improve memory. They are also known to improve your body’s circulation and microcirculation that will also affect the overall quality of your skin.
- Blueberries – contain fiber, multiple antioxidants, and vitamins C and E. Blueberries help with acne and liver spots. They also cholesterol levels and brain activity.
- Blackberries – full of antioxidants that promote anti-aging and overall skin health. They are packed with fiber and vitamin K which helps with calcium absorption and promotes strong bones and teeth.
- Eggplant – high in fiber, vitamin C and phosphorus which helps improve the quality of your skin, teeth, bones, nails, and hair.
- Other nutritious purple and blue foods: plums, purple figs, purple cabbage, purple grapes, and purple carrots.
White Foods – improve the brightness of eyes, assist in weight loss, lower cholesterol, and can decrease the risk of developing heart disease. They also help with the skin’s cellular recovery and improve the overall quality and health of your skin.
- Garlic – contains antioxidants that help prevent breakouts and maintain clear skin. It may also decrease the risk of certain cancers and protect against infections.
- Onions – help fight external skin problems and improve cardiovascular health by decreasing cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They also contain flavonoid quercetin, which helps protect and rejuvenate skin cells.
- Cauliflower – high in vitamin C and manganese. Cauliflower helps rejuvenate skin cell growth, improve the whiteness of eyes, and help boost the body’s immune system.
- Other nutritious white foods: turnips, white corn, shallots, ginger, white nectarines, white potatoes, parsnips, and mushrooms.
In addition, these foods enhance the overall quality of your skin and improve your complexion:
- Beans and pulses help repair skin cells, damaged by free radicals and contain amino acids that speed up skin repair and rejuvenation. Kidney beans, for example, are high in zinc which helps fight acne.
- Eggs contain proteins that help repair skin cells damaged by toxins and free radicals. They also contain biotin, which helps prevent dry skin and promote healthy hair.
- Green tea is full of polyphenols that help keep the skin clear and healthy looking. The vitamin K is great for dark under-eye circles when used topically.
- Walnuts contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids and promote healthy skin, improve skin smoothness, and improve your hair’s natural shine.
These foods, on the other hand, have been known to work wonders for your hair:
- Whey Protein contains the proteins necessary to produce keratin which promotes strong hair. When the hair does not receive its essential protein, it goes into a ‘resting phase’ which causes hair loss over time.
- Almonds contain protein, magnesium, and vitamin E which helps maintain healthy looking hair and nails. It is also good at reducing stress and a sign a person is under a lot of stress is hair loss.
- Beer is rich in silicon which is a mineral that promotes blood circulation to the scalp, resulting in hair growth and healthier hair follicles. As I am not a big fan of beer, I’ve tried this as a hair rinse and in conditioning masks.
- Skim milk is full of calcium which promotes strong nails and hair.
So let’s plan our meals (try it for a week), make a date to go to your local grocery store or farmer’s market, and let’s start glowing!
What are some of your favorite meals that do good for your hair, skin, and/or nails?