The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. Saint Jerome (church father & saint). Indeed… But not only the mirror of mind, face is a mirror of our nutritional status also. Our skin, hair, nails show the correct picture of our internal body. So to keep this picture beautiful it is important to take good overall care of ourselves. This care includes taking a well balanced diet (for beauty from within) along with a regular skin and hair care regime.
There are certain nutrients which can be rightly termed as beauty nutrients and are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.
Helps in preventing acne and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin A along with adequate protein intake is helpful in keeping the hair healthy. Look for yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (carrot, papaya, tomato, bell peppers, mango, apricots, etc.), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, fenugreek), liver, eggs, dairy products and fish liver oil for food sources of vitamin A.
Fights wrinkles and helps the body produce and maintain collagen which in turn maintains elasticity of skin and prevents sagging. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits (lemon, orange), guava, grapefruit, melons, cherries, kiwi, strawberries, gooseberries (amla), red and green peppers, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes to name a few.
Works with vitamin C to make collagen and supports the action of vitamin A. Also nails and hair contain zinc. Zinc is found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, oat flour, oysters (shellfish), lean red meat, brewer’s yeast, Eggs, Legumes, Mushrooms, Spinach.
Helps the body in retaining moisture and can prevent damage due to sun and thus prevents premature aging. Sources: Cold-pressed wheat germ oil and safflower oil, Whole grains, Wheat germ, Milk, Asparagus, Broccoli, Egg yolk, Leafy greens, Liver, Olives, Soybeans, Sunflower seeds, Nuts, Vegetable oils.
This mineral helps with dry skin of scalp (which we commonly know as dandruff) and enhances vitamin E absorption. Selenium is found in garlic, onions, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, Asparagus, Bran, Broccoli, Chicken, Egg yolk, Milk, Seafood, Tomato, Whole grains.
Hair, nails and skin are made up of protein. If you have brittle nails, poor skin and hair that breaks easily, it may be because you don’t include enough protein in your diet. Protein-rich foods are an excellent source of biotin, which is a B-complex vitamin and is essential for healthy nails. Some other dietary sources of biotin include egg yolk, soy bean flour, milk and peanut butter. Sources of protein: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, oilseeds, pulses, legumes and wheat germ.
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in keeping the skin hydrated, nails glossier and more flexible, and help hair retain moisture. Flaxseeds, salmon are the best sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
A deficiency of these vitamins can result in various skin problems and hair loss. B complex vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods like whole grain cereals, pulses, fruits like bananas, green vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and meats including turkey and liver.
Drinking plenty of water transports nutrients to skin cells, and keeps them nourished. Having lime water, coconut water, fresh fruit juices, soups, buttermilk or green tea also provides necessary liquid content to the body. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and other fizzy drinks as a fluid source.
Include all these beauty nutrients in your daily diet and observe the transformation unfold before your eyes.
Image Courtesy: Stuart Miles