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Edible Beauty

We all want glowing skin, strong nails, and glossy hair. What we don’t want is expensive beauty treatments or products that are full of harsh chemicals! The groceries you buy each week could be your best beauty secret. Plus, these delicious and beautifying foods are an inexpensive and all natural way to keep yourself feeling healthy and looking good!

There are two ways to use edible ingredients to give your body a natural and healthy glow. Eating certain foods will give you stronger skin, hair, and nails and make you beautiful from the inside. There are other foods you can apply to your skin, hair, and nails that will heal damage and help you look vibrant.

What to Eat:

Seafood

Salmon, tuna, and sardines are full of the omega-3 fatty acids your body needs for protection from the sun’s harsh rays. Omega-3s keep your skin firm by maintaining its healthy levels of collagen. These fatty acids also protect your cell walls from damage caused by free-radicals. 

A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that participants who ate two servings of fatty fish each week (like salmon, tuna, and sardines) had a 30% decrease in precancerous skin lesions. Plus, omega-3 fatty acids are also great for your heart!

Get the two servings of seafood you need each week from one of these dishes: Asian Glazed SalmonPerciatelli with Fresh Sardines, or Tuna Steak Sandwiches.

Soy Products

Soy milk and tofu are both made from soybeans. The isoflavones in products made from soybeans can reduce wrinkles and give you smoother skin. 

The Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported a study that looked at hairless mice and soy products. Some of the mice were given isoflavones from soy before being exposed to ultraviolet radiation, while others were not given isoflavones. The mice who ate the isoflavones had smoother skin and fewer wrinkles overall. 

Replace dairy milk with soy milk in your favourite recipes, add tofu to casseroles, top salads with edamame (soy beans), or try soybean  products in these recipes: Banana Soy Milk Pancakes with Maple-AlmondsMorning Cocoa, Banana, and Soy SmoothieAsian Slaw with Tofu & ,  Mushrooms, and Edamame Veggie Burger

Spinach

This leafy green is full of iron to give you strong muscles and lutein to protect your skin from sun-related damage. Your body also uses lutein to prevent macular degeneration, cataract growth, and ultra-sensitivity to light. Use fresh spinach greens to make a salad, saute spinach with garlic and olive oil for a delicious side dish, or try spinach in these recipes: Greek Spinach PieAsiago Spinach PestoSpicy-Soy Spinach Salad, and Light Spinach Quiche.

Pumpkin

A classic fall favourite, pumpkin is great for your skin too! Pumpkin is packed with beta carotene to shield your skin from sun damage and prevent wrinkles. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids to give you healthy hair and scalp. The omega-3 fatty acids in pumpkin seeds keep your hair and scalp hydrated with natural oils and encourage your hair to grow long and strong. Enjoy a thick slice of pumpkin bread, serve classic pumpkin pie for dessert, warm up with a bowl of pumpkin soup, or try these pumpkin recipes: Quick Roasted Pumpkin SeedsWhole Wheat Pumpkin PancakesWhole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip MuffinsPolenta with Pumpkin and Kale, and Pumpkin Cranberry Bars.

Carrots

This root vegetable is full of carotenoids to protect your skin from cancer and sun-related damage. Your body turns the antioxidant beta-carotene in carrots into vitamin A. Vitamin A is then used to help the skin heal itself from damage and stay hydrated. Add carrots to a crisp green salad, candy them in brown sugar and butter, or add them to these recipes: Carrot CakeCarrot Slaw with Cashews, and Carrot Raisin Muffins.

Pink Grapefruit

The lycopene in pink grapefruit gives you a clear complexion with fewer breakouts. Vitamin C in grapefruit encourages your body to make collagen, keeping your skin firm and elastic. Retinol from pink grapefruit helps your skin heal quickly, gives you an even skin tone, and makes your skin smooth and soft. Start your day with segments of fresh pink grapefruit or add pink grapefruit to these recipes: Avocado and Grapefruit SaladStrawberry-Grapefruit Drink, or Citrus Salad with Watercress and Shaved Parmesan.

Strawberries

Vitamin C from strawberries keeps your skin hydrated and prevents wrinkles. It protects your skin from the damage of free radicals, which can lead to a breakdown in collagen. Once your skin loses collagen, you are more likely to have wrinkles and deep lines. Strawberries contain more vitamin C per serving than an orange. Enjoy strawberries whole, sliced on a salad, in a dessert of strawberry shortcake, or in these recipes: Arugula and Strawberry SaladUltimate Fresh Strawberry Pie, and Strawberry Shake

What to Put on Your Skin:

Basil

Strengthen and repair your hair with basil. The oil in basil leaves moisturizes your scalp and hair and restores its natural shine. Make a puree of basil and water in your food processor. Place a few handfuls of basil leaves in a food processor with enough water to create a thick puree. Pulse until smooth. Apply the puree to your scalp. After 20 minutes, wash your hair, making sure to remove all of the basil puree.

Egg Whites

Make a mask of egg whites to give your skin firmness and prevent sagging. Separate two eggs and whisk the whites until frothy. Carefully apply the egg white mask to your face and leave it on for 20-30 minutes. Wash off the mask and apply a light moisturizer. Egg white masks are also great for removing excess oil.

Brown Sugar

Exfoliate your skin with brown sugar scrub. Brown sugar granules are gritty enough to remove dead skin cells, while gentle enough to not damage your skin. Mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and 1 tablespoon of water. Use the scrub immediately on your skin or store it in a glass jar for up to one week. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and apply a light moisturizer after using the scrub.

Apple Juice

Use the natural fruit acids in apple juice to remove excess oil, control acne, and give your skin a healthy glow. Apple juice can also reduce the appearance of inflammation and redness. Simply use a cotton ball to apply apple juice to your skin instead of a harsher skin toner.

Almond Oil

If you have a dry scalp or dandruff, the natural fats in almond oil will restore your scalp’s moisture and stop flakes. Almond oil also has vitamin E to heal and hydrate your scalp. Mix together ¼ cup of almond oil, 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of mashed banana. Apply this mixture to your scalp and massage for a few minutes. Leave the almond oil mixture on your hair for five to ten minutes and then wash your hair and scalp. The lactic acid in sour cream will take away dead skin cells and dirt, while the banana provides a base to make the mixture stay on your scalp as it soaks in the goodness.

Olive Oil

Rub a small amount of olive oil into your nails and cuticles to heal cracks and tears. The fats in olive oil hydrate your nails and nail beds making them strong and moisturized. Be careful, a little olive oil goes a long way! If you apply too much, your hands will be left greasy and slippery.

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/homemade-cures-dry-skin-rough-heels_n_4136308.html;

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/healthy_aging/foods_for_beautiful_skin;

http://www.stylelist.com/view/skin-food-which-beauty-products-are-hiding-your-kitchen/;

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html;

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-grapefruits-for-skin-and-health/;

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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