Focusing on particular foods can help you tackle your beauty concerns, but you should also make sure that you eat healthy to balance your diet. A diet that encompasses all the major food groups and includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will help your body to function healthily as a whole as well as promoting glowing skin and strong, healthy-looking hair and nails.
- Stay Hydrated
Your body is made up of nearly two-thirds water, so fluids are a vital component of a balanced diet, and help to hydrate skin and reduce the signs of premature ageing, such as fine lines. Healthy fluids can come from water, green tea, herbal teas, or tisanes, and also from foods with high water content. Avoid caffeinated teas, coffee, and alcohol, as these work as a diuretic and can cause dehydration.
2. Balance your Plate
A simple way to make sure that your meals are well balanced is to check the ratios of each food on your plate. Half of a medium-sized plate (27cm in diameter) should be filled with vegetables or salad. A quarter of the plate should be whole grains, such as brown rice, wheat-free pasta, quinoa, millet, or buckwheat. The final quarter should be made up of a healthy protein: a piece of oily fish, eggs, hummus, legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans, or a portion of lean meat
3. Add Healthy Proteins
Include protein-containing food, such as nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, lean meat, or fish in each meal. Protein is a vital nutrient because it is the basic building material for cells, so helps your body form and maintain healthy muscles, bones, hair, skin, and nails. Protein also helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, ensuring a gradual release of energy and nutrients.
4. Eat Plenty of Fiber
Include fibre-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, in your meals during the day. Fibre speeds the passage of waste through your digestive tract, preventing constipation and is also prebiotic, helping to feed good gut bacteria. A healthy digestive system effectively rids your body of toxins, helping protect your skin from break-outs and promote a more radiant complexion.
5. Eat Good Carbs
Choose good-quality, slow-release carbohydrates, and make these the basis of your meals and snacks. Refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour, cause a fast rise in insulin levels, which causes inflammation, so these should be avoided. Good carbohydrates, on the other hand, provide nutrients and slow-release energy – these include whole grains and beans, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit.
6. Include Healthy Fats
Your body needs a small amount of certain healthy fats. Healthy fats contain essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6. It’s important to balance both types of fat in order to maintain healthy skin. Most western diets are deficient in omega-3 fats, which can lead to inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and rosacea. Eat omega3-rich foods such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, avocado, flaxseeds, chia, and hemp seeds.
7. Eat Colorful Foods
Naturally colourful fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that help combat free-radical damage. The B vitamin biotin may help protect skin against acne, fungal infections, rashes, and dryness. Other B vitamins help your body access the energy in foods. Vitamin D works as an anti-inflammatory agent, while vitamin K helps to keep your blood healthy, in turn ensuring nourishing nutrients reach the skin.
8. Snack Healthily
Avoid processed, sugary, or fatty snacks. Instead, opt for nutritionally balanced snacks that combine carbohydrates and protein. Oatcakes spread with nut butter, rice cakes with hummus, or a handful of mixed nuts and raisins are all good choices. A simple fruit smoothie can help maintain your blood sugar levels – try blending quinoa milk with fresh berries, nuts, and seeds for a nutritious skin-toning smoothie snack.
9. Include Minerals
Minerals are vital for your health and beauty, they help build and maintain strong bones and teeth, keep your skin healthy, and help your body transform food into the energy it needs to function. Key minerals include zinc, Sulphur, manganese, selenium, potassium, iron, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and copper. Grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and watercress), seaweeds, and microalgae are rich sources of these essential minerals.
10. Eat Regularly
It’s important to maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day by eating regular, healthy meals. Meals that contain unprocessed, slow-release carbohydrates will keep your physical and mental energy levels stable throughout the day, avoiding insulin spikes that can cause inflammation and stopping you from reaching for a sugar-laden unhealthy snack that will feed bad bacteria in the gut.