Lauren Rabaino

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” Just as certain foods can affect how we feel, what we eat can also influence how we look. Anyone who has looked into a mirror with horror after a night of binge drinking and greasy food knows this to be true. A sufficient intake of nutrients from our diet affects our internal health, which in turn reflects on the outside through clear skin, strong nails, and glossy hair. Tired of spending a fortune on beauty products to get your skin glowing? Well, look no further than your grocery store for delicious foods that will make you radiant inside and out. So if you want to achieve supermodel skin and hair, a balanced diet is an essential starting point. Take a look at the following overview of what you need to keep you looking young and beautiful.

Vitamin A / Beta Carotene

Vitamin A is essential for healthy hair and eyes. Vitamin A counteracts dry skin, dandruff and wrinkle formation. It is needed for healthy blood circulation, which gives a glow to the skin. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry, coarse and wrinkled skin, dull and dry hair or dandruff, peeling fingernails, pimples or acne. Natural sources of vitamin A include dairy products, eggs and carrots.

Vitamin B Complex vitamins

B vitamins are vital for clear, luminous skin, youthful looks and for delaying graying of the hair. They are essential for healthy skin, hair and eyes. B vitamins also counteract stress, which has adverse effects on one’s appearance. Good sources of vitamin B complex include whole grain cereals, green and leafy vegetables, and nuts.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, in conjunction with protein, is necessary for the production of collagen, the glue that holds our skin together and helps prevent wrinkles. It also strengthens capillaries to avoid easy bruising and spider veins. Natural sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, oranges and strawberries.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps prevent wrinkles and premature aging of the skin. It can prevent dry and dull skin, age spots, hair loss and dandruff. It improves circulation and healing of scars. Natural sources of vitamin E include whole grains, nuts and seeds, and olives.

Water

Water should be taken in large quantities, from six to eight glasses a day. It gives the skin necessary moisture and a dewy look. Water clears the system of all toxins and keeps the blood free of impurities.

Calcium

Calcium is vital for healthy teeth, hair, nails and bones. Calcium helps clear blemished skin and revitalizes lifeless, tired-looking skin. Chief dietary sources of calcium include milk products, shellfish and soybeans.

Zinc

Zinc promotes blemish healing and aids in the formation of collagen, which helps prevent wrinkles, dry skin and stretch marks. It also prevents hair loss and brittle or spotted nails. For good sources of zinc, try eggs, spinach and red meat.

Nuts: Loaded with vitamin E and B vitamins, snacking on a handful of nuts will give your skin some of the necessary components to keep clear and luminous. For your afternoon snack, try a handful of unsalted, natural almonds.

Avocado: This is full of the monounsaturated fats you need for clear, soft and smooth skin. Put a few slices on your sandwich or salad.

Fruits: All fruits are packed with vitamin C. Lemons are considered the detox fruit, which helps flush toxins out of the body. Try drinking your ice water with a few lemon wedges for an extra healthy kick!

Asparagus: The dark green stalks are a natural source of vitamin E, which will help give your skin a healthy glow.

Salmon and tuna: These are the two powerhouse fish, loaded with vitamin E omega-3 fatty acids that do wonders for the skin.

It’s always best to choose food sources of nutrients over supplements because they are more effectively absorbed by the body. By incorporating more healthy foods into your diet, you not only improve your health but also improve the look and feel of your skin and give yourself a healthy glow. Natural, whole foods like fruits and vegetables provide the foundation of a well-balanced diet.

So instead of trying to read all the chemicals on the labels of beauty products, try eating healthy first!

Sarah Bailey is a nutrition senior, a Mustang Daily nutrition columnist and a member of PULSE. E-mail her your questions at slbailey@calpoly.edu.

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