‘You are what you eat’ has been an age-old phrase that really does ring true when it comes to our health. The food choices we make can impact every part of our body, especially our skin, hair, and nails. These areas reflect our regular healthy (or not-so-healthy) habits that we engage in every day. Adult acne? Splitting nails? Dry, lack-luster strands? It’s not about what you eat over one weekend or one vacation, but what you’re doing a majority of the time that impacts these areas most. While improving the quality our skin, hair, and nails can take some time, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get them in tip-top shape—you can do it with super foods! When we focus on 2 main areas (and make sure we are eating at least a serving from each category daily), we can count on glowing skin, strong nails and shinier hair sooner than we think.
Since each skin cell is made up of two layers of fat molecules, having a youthful, plump look to the skin requires enough of this building block. Additionally, hair contains a specialized type of fat call ceramides, which thicken and add shine to each strand. Whether you get your fats from food or supplements, here are a few of my favourites:
With more potassium than a banana, this powerhouse food not only hydrates and smooths skin, but detoxifies and protects against environmental toxin damage too! Try ¼ in your smoothie, on a salad, or mashed as guacamole with veggie sticks. Enough said.
My ultimate go-to snack when I’m travelling and trying to keep cravings in check, a handful will also give you high amounts of biotin and vitamin E, which are especially good for fast-growing, strong nails. Try NOW Real Food Natural Unblanched Almonds!
3. Olive oil
I top this on anything & everything to feel satiated after a meal and work towards building a thicker, stronger mane. It’s anti-inflammatory and nourishing for the skin, but just make sure it’s the pure extra-virgin variety (check out Acropolis Organics Biodynamic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)—quality matters a ton when it comes to this one!
This is a must when it comes to skin, hair and nail health. Antioxidants keep damage from the sun’s rays and environment at bay by protecting each cell’s DNA. In general, fruits and vegetables contain the highest amounts, but some powerful, hard-to-find antioxidants can come from supplements too. Some major superstars in this category are vitamin C, zinc, and EGCG. Here are the best places to get them:
Not only super-high in vitamin C (forget oranges), they are also a great source of fiber and lower in sugar which are must-haves for clear, glowing skin.
5. Pumpkin seeds
These little guys are one of the best sources of zinc, magnesium, and iron around. If you tend to have white marks on your nails, thinning hair or acne-prone skin, this could be your solution. No joke. ¼ cup raw in your trail mix is all you need!
6. Green tea
The best anti-aging beverage available (in my humble opinion). It is most famous for containing the potent antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is fantastic for smooth, even-toned skin as well as helping to stimulate new hair growth. The best part? Green tea is refreshing in the summer and soothing in the winter (with some added fresh ginger, of course). Always buy organic in order to prevent heavy metals from regular tea leaves ending up in your body (and potentially worsening your hair and skin)–check out Numi Organic Gunpowder Green Tea. Don’t like green tea? A supplement works well too–try AOR Active Green Tea High-Dose Green Tea Extract!
In as little as 2 weeks you can start to see a difference in your skin, and in a few months, you can completely transform your hair & nails. Why wait? Start by adding these superfoods to your daily regime today!
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.