Many individuals are willing to pay a high price tag for the latest serums, creams, and cosmetics all in hopes to improve our appearance.
But did you know that what you eat also can transform what you see in the mirror? Proper nutrition supports the health of your hair, skin, and nails to make you glow from the inside out. Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, has the top nutrients to focus on in order to boost your beauty.
Healthy Fats for Radiant Skin
Oftentimes, individuals try to cut out as much fat as possible from their diet in hopes to keep any unwanted pounds off. But this can be one of the biggest mistakes made for our most radiant skin. Too little fat in our diet can cause skin to be more wrinkled and dry. Enough healthy fats provide skin with a natural “glow” and help keep skin moist, firm, and flexible. Focus on heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and from fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, and trout.). Omega-3 fatty acids also block a chemical that lets skin cancer grow and spread, while also lowering inflammation to decrease redness or acne.
Protein for Strong Hair and Nails
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which the body uses to make other proteins, including collagen and keratin which form the structure of skin, hair, and nails. Aim to consume 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound body weight to ensure you have the amino acids from food for strong hair and nails and smooth skin. Nutritious protein sources include lean meats and poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, edamame, tempeh, tofu, protein powder, collagen, and bone broth.
Vitamin C to Lower Skin Cancer Risk
This vitamin helps collagen protein hold its shape to make strong hair, skin and nails. It’s also a powerful antioxidant to protect skin from free radicals and possibly lower the chance of skin cancer. Some of the foods highest in vitamin C include bell pepper, kiwi, strawberries, citrus, papaya, broccoli, tomato, and leafy greens.
Vitamin E to Protect Against Wrinkles
This antioxidant can absorb energy from UV light to prevent damage to skin which can cause wrinkles and skin cancer. It works also with vitamin C to strengthen cell walls and prevent sagging. High vitamin E foods include nuts and seeds, avocado, leafy greens, butternut squash, kiwi, olive oil, trout, and shrimp.
Vitamin A for Healthy Hair
Both the upper and lower layers of skin need vitamin A to prevent sun damage by interrupting the process that breaks down collagen. Vitamin A also helps the oil glands around hair follicles work to keep hair nourished. Our skin also benefits from adequate vitamin A in the way it helps our skin heal from any scrapes or other injuries. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, leafy greens, red pepper, grapefruit, egg yolks, tuna, and dairy.
Zinc to Protect from Sun Damage
Zinc can be very helpful for individuals who experience bacterial acne because this mineral has antimicrobial effects. It also keeps skin vibrant by protecting against sun damage. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, so proper intake is needed to keep full and thick hair. Foods highest in zinc include oysters, meat and poultry, tofu, beans and lentils, oats, nuts and seeds, mushrooms, and cocoa powder.
BEAUTY BOOSTING RECIPES
Sparkling Collagen Strawberry Mint Limeade
- 4 sprigs mint
- 2 limes, juiced
- 4 strawberries
- Stevia to taste
- 4 scoop collagen peptides
- 32 oz. sparkling water
Puree the strawberries, mint leaves, lime juice, collagen, stevia and 1 cup of the sparkling water in a blender on low speed until smooth, at least 30 seconds. Pour puree into a pitcher and add remaining sparkling water. Serve chilled over ice in tall beverage glasses. Optional: garnish each with a sprig of fresh mint, slice of strawberry, or lime wedge.
Nutrition (¼ of recipe): 50 calories, 0 g fat, 9 g protein, 4.5 g carbs
Smoked Salmon Avocado Hand Roll
- 1 sheet nori seaweed paper, cut in half
- 3 oz smoked salmon or cooked salmon
- ½ cup red pepper, cut into strips
- ½ cup cucumber, cut into strips
- ½ avocado, sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- ½ tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
- Optional: sriracha
Using a sharp knife, cut a piece of nori in half. Place the nori sheets, horizontally in front of you with the rough side facing up. Divide the smoked salmon, red pepper, cucumber and avocado and lay diagonally, with the ends pointing towards the upper left corner. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, add a few dashes of coconut aminos or soy sauce, and optional sriracha to taste. To fold, start with the left bottom corner first, and fold up over the ingredients, then wrap the right side over and around to form a cone, about the size of an ice cream sugar cone. It will seal itself. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
Spicy Roasted Nuts
- 3 cups assorted unsalted, raw mixed nuts such as almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Place nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add remaining ingredients and mix with your hands to evenly coat. Spread out nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until nuts are lightly browned and toasted, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet, transfer to a bowl, and serve. Store leftover nuts in an airtight container at room temperature.
Grilled Chicken Breast with Olive & Sundried Tomato Tapenade
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup dijon mustard
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Avocado oil, for grilling
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (7 ounce jar)
- 1 4-ounce jar green olives, drained and pitted
- 1 6-ounce jar 1 6-ounce jar mixed Greek olives, drained and pitted
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
In a gallon sized freezer bag, add chicken and marinade ingredients. Seal the plastic bag and mix with hands to combine. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to 24 hours. To make the olive tapenade, add garlic and olive oil to the bowl of a food processor and process on high until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula then add the sun-dried tomatoes and process until the tomatoes are chopped. Add the green olives and the Greek olive mix and pulse two times so the olives are just coarsely chopped. Stir in the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, pepper, and parsley. When ready to grill the chicken, bring one side of an outdoor grill to high heat with the other side cooler. Oil the grill grates well then place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear, then flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler grates of the grill, cover, and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 160F. Time will depend on thickness of the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with olive tapenade.