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6 Foods for Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails

May 1, 2013

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The appearance of our skin, hair, and nails is one of the best indicators of our overall health. But many of us spend a ton of time and money attempting to enhance our beauty from the outside in. Sure, some products can help treat some of your beauty concerns such as frizzy hair, brittle nails, or skin blemishes, but it’s not a permanent fix. According to Integrative Nutrition’s guest speaker, and integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. the root of healthy skin, hair, and nail health is proper nutrition.

Research shows that a balanced, whole foods diet, rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals such as, zinc, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and B can help improve the health and appearance of your skin, hair, and nails.

Here are 6 rejuvenating foods that will enhance beauty from the inside out:

1. Salmon: Try to eat salmon (preferably wild, not farmed raised) two or three times a week. Not only will the omega-3 fatty acids in this fish help improve the shine and strength of your hair and hydrate skin, but it also contains vitamin B-12 to aid in nail strength.

2. Dark leafy greens: Greens like spinach, kale, chard, and collard greens are high sources of zinc and vitamins A, C, and B that your body needs to restore and maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.

3. Beans: Loaded with biotin, iron, and protein, beans such as kidney beans and lentils are essential for strengthening hair and nails. Plus, biotin also helps nails and hair grow faster.

4. Whole grains: Oats, buckwheat, brown rice, and other sprouted grains contain potent antioxidants that fight free radicals from damaging your skin and hair. They also contain silica, another important mineral for hair strength and growth.

5. Nuts: Brazil nuts are among the best sources of selenium, a trace mineral the helps boost hair and scalp health. Selenium is also an antioxidant that stimulates the immune system to protect against skin cancer. Walnuts are also a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids that aid in healthy, shiny hair.

6.  Fruit: High sources of vitamin C in berries, oranges, cherries and other fruits, help your body increase iron absorption from the foods you eat. Eating vitamin C rich foods helps improve blood circulation and strengthens the collagen in your skin to keep skin glowing and prevent wrinkles. A deficiency in this vitamin can contribute to ingrown toenails and hangnails, so make sure you get your daily dose!

Have you ever noticed a connection between what you eat the appearance of your skin, hair, or nails?

About the author

Alexis D’Alba is as a contributing writer to Wellness Today and a 2012 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She enjoys spinning and kick-boxing classes, and loves experimenting with different smoothie recipes in her Vitamix blender.