Smooth nails, shiny hair, glowing skin. For many people, these are signs of beauty—but what do your skin, hair and nails say about your health? Are they clear, vibrant and strong? These outward features can say just as much about what’s happening inside your body. Try adding the following power foods to your diet to help keep your skin, hair and nails at their best—and keep your body in beautiful health along the way.
Eating salmon, halibut and other fatty fish is an excellent way to boost the health of your hair and skin. You’ll get tons of protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids, iron and vitamin B12 in one tidy package. Omega-3 fatty acids can help protect the skin from sun damage and support scalp health. Getting plenty of protein also helps ward off hair loss. And for the ultimate one-two punch, iron and vitamin B12 can make hair color more vibrant.
All those little bunnies are on to something. Foods rich in beta-carotene, like carrots, turn into the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin A. This golden nugget has remarkable anti-aging properties, promotes healthy hair and nail growth, and has been shown to combat diabetes-related symptoms. You can also find beta-carotene in spinach, broccoli, peas and romaine lettuce.
Tomatoes aren’t just another powerful antioxidant--they’re also fantastic for your skin. They’re loaded with vitamin C, along with carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene. Translation? The same properties that make tomatoes red will keep you from getting red. Eating foods rich in carotenoids increases your skin’s protection from sunburn, especially when combined with Vitamin E. A nice way to get a dose of both is with a caprese salad: sliced tomatoes, basil and mozzarella drizzled with olive oil. Yum!
Want strong and healthy nails? Crack open an egg. This tasty item is packed with a protein punch that is very easily digested; your body will use every little bit of it. Along with protein, eggs also bring vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, vitamin B7 and vitamin B12 to the table. Whip up an omelet, a frittata or boil a couple of eggs for snacking throughout the day.
Sprinkle these juicy little balls of goodness on your morning oatmeal or grab a handful as a midday snack. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits and vegetables. They tell free radicals and other aging influences on your body to take a hike. They’ve been touted as the greatest health food of all time and, even better, they’re delicious! In addition to their anti-aging capabilities, blueberries also combat acne.
Got milk? If not, grab some. Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, a combination that helps strengthen nails and promote hair growth. Low-fat yogurt and cheeses will also give you a nice calcium boost. That’s not all: These dairy products are also packed with protein, which is beneficial since that’s what our hair and nails are made of. If cow milk isn’t your bag, soy milk is a good alternative.
There’s nothing like a toasty bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Not only does it fill you up and give you energy, it’s also chock full of copper, zinc and B vitamins. These nutrients all work together to keep your nails looking healthy. Zinc in particular is a powerful tool in the fight against acne. It reduces inflammation and kills acne-borne bacteria. Try regular oats versus instant and give them a good soak before cooking to reap the most nutritional benefit.
Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat…the stronger your nails. They’ve got protein, zinc and biotin, which can help make your nails thicker and less prone to splitting. Beans are also thought to be an enhancer for your hair by combating biotin deficiencies. Most legumes are high in fiber, protein, zinc and antioxidants, which can boost collagen production and give your skin a healthy glow and elasticity. Not bad for something that comes in such a tiny package.