Beauty Starts Within: Foods for Your Skin, Hair, and Nails
Who doesn’t want clearer skin, shinier hair, and stronger nails? When we think about how to get them, most people think mainly of cleansers, ointments, and creams. And while these topical products can make a huge difference, nutrition is often a forgotten element when it comes to better skin, hair, and nails.
Beauty starts on the inside, and what you eat has a big effect on your appearance. Here are some of the most important things to include in your diet. If you want to learn even more about how to eat a healthy, delicious diet that fuels your beauty from the inside out, why not join us for our famous Raw Vegan Retreat with Chef Boris Lauser?
Many people tend to neglect hydration, but it’s absolutely critical. In fact, drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to improve your skin. Like any other organ in the body, the skin is made up of cells – and those cells don’t function well without enough water. The result is skin that’s dry, flakey, and more prone to wrinkles. Drinking more water can combat that and help create the appearance of more dewy, glowing skin.
While saturated and trans fats are dangerous, unsaturated fats are an important part of a healthy diet. Like water, these healthy fats are key to keeping skin moisturized, flexible, and supple. Some of the best sources of good fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
The body uses iron to transport oxygen to cells throughout the body, including those in the skin, hair, and nails. Without sufficient iron, those cells won’t get the oxygen they need to function optimally, leading to hair loss, brittle nails, and dull skin. You can get iron from most animal products, as well as from beans, tofu, and leafy greens.
We usually associate beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A, with eyesight, but it also provides protection against the sun. It’s no substitute for sunscreen, but consuming beta-carotene can help prevent sun damage, which is key for healthy-looking skin. To get more beta-carotene, increase your intake of carrots, pumpkin, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. Your vision will benefit, too!
Antioxidants are really a win-win: they’re incredibly beneficial, and the foods they’re found in are delicious. Antioxidants fight against cancer-causing free radicals, which can otherwise develop from exposure to UV rays, smoke, and pollution, as well as from certain processed foods. Good sources of antioxidants include red wine and dark chocolate (yay!), as well as blueberries, green tea, and coffee.
Ultimately, the foods that will enhance your skin, hair, and nails are the same ones that are healthy in general. Eating a varied and balanced diet of mostly whole foods will benefit your health and your body, inside and out. That’s exactly what we serve here at Vikasa, so if you drop in for a meal or join us on a retreat, you can be sure you’ll be getting what you need!
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.