The Sexy Six: Get Gorgeous, Naturally!

By Katherine Brooking MS, RD

Let’s face it: We all want beautiful hair and a bright smile. Everywhere you turn, there’s another lotion, potion or cream promising a youthful glow. But real beauty comes from what you feed your body, not what you put on it. So, we’ve come up with our “Sexy Six Beauty Foods,” the must-have foods to give your body a beauty boost.

Foods to Enhance Your Health and Beauty

Kale
Kale is one of the best “superfoods” the planet has to offer. When it comes to enhancing your skin, kale is truly super. This is because it is loaded with many of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy skin. Kale contains potent antioxidants, like vitamin A and C, which help combat damage from sun exposure and other toxins that can leave skin wrinkled and sallow. Kale is also rich in iron and B6, which can keep hair looking full and shiny. Just one cup of kale has 180% of vitamin A and 200% of vitamin C – and all this in just 36 calories!

Wild salmon
In addition to their heart health benefits, the omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like salmon, are important for keeping skin smooth and healthy. While the research is still early, one recent study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that older people who consumed more fish throughout their lifetime had fewer wrinkles than those who ate more meat. Salmon and other fish rich in omega-3 are easy to fit into a “beauty” diet. Try one of these tasty meals: Grilled Gingered Salmon and Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

Tea
Tea not only hydrates your skin, it also contains compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties and, according to some studies, may help prevent sun-related skin cancers and improve immune functions. Topical polyphenols may also help increase collagen production. Green tea is especially rich in a compound known as EGCG, which may keep skin looking youthful by reactivating dying skin cells. Potential beauty benefits aside, unsweetened tea is always a good hydration choice.

Berries
Vitamin C, plentiful in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, is vital for the production and formation of collagen, the skin’s support structure. A strong support layer helps to smooth the skin’s surface and prevents wrinkles. Vitamin C also helps fighting oxidative damage from the sun, pollution and stress. Berries are delicious on their own, fresh or frozen, or in desserts and smoothies. Check out some of these great recipes! Berry Banana Smoothie and Sixty Berry Desserts

Yogurt
A beautiful smile can result from good genetics, a good dentist and good hygiene, of course. To keep your smile looking its best, calcium and vitamin D, which are found in yogurt and other dairy products, are essential. Calcium and vitamin D work together to keep the bones strong. Teeth are embedded in the jaw bone; so if you don’t have healthy bone density, your teeth will be affected as well. Aim for 3 servings of fat-free or low-fat yogurt or other dairy foods rich in both vitamin D and calcium.

Walnuts
Like salmon, walnuts contain omega-3 fats that strengthen skin cell membranes by locking in moisture and nutrients. Studies indicate that these healthy fats may also reduce skin inflammation (fewer breakouts and irritations) and play a role in protecting the skin against harmful UV rays. Walnuts are perfect as toppings for cereals, yogurt and salads.

Katherine Brooking, MS, RD
Katherine is a registered dietitian, expert contributor to numerous television programs and writer. She has appeared on The TODAY Show, Live with Regis & Kelly, The Early Show on CBS, Good Morning America Health and many others. She covers health and wellness topics in SELF Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times and New York Daily News. For more information go to www.AppForHealth.com

The articles written by guest contributors are the sole responsibility of the individual writers in terms of factual accuracy and opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of this blog.

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