My Favorite Foods for Beauty Nutrition
Yesterday I had the pleasure of being a vendor at the Richmond Weddings Winter Expo. This of course got me thinking how we can use nutrition and holistic health to achieve that feeling we are going for on the big day.
When we think about getting "wedding ready," too often it is about losing weight or fitting into a dress; crash dieting only to resort to previous patterns and behaviors as soon as the bouquet is tossed and the pictures are taken. I don't know about you, but "hanger" is not an emotion I want anyone to experience during one of the most important times of her life. Thankfully, there is another way, and having gone through the process myself, I'm fully aware that it is more about feeling confident, comfortable, calm. Fortunately nature provides us with a bounty of beauty foods! So whether you are a bride-to-be or simply want another reason why to eat more real, here is a list of my favorite beauty and "feel good" foods.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Although one may consider it acidic to the taste, ACV is alkalizing in the body when consumed, meaning it works to balance our internal pH. I start my day by adding it in to a tall glass of warm water, which jumpstarts metabolism and digestion while detoxifying the liver. Make sure you get the raw, organic version "with the mother." I loveBragg's brand.
Avocado: An amazing source of healthy fat, vitamins and minerals that work to nourish your hair and skin from the inside out. The antioxidants specifically ward off free radicals to protect your skin from fine-lines, wrinkles, and other age-related issues.
Bee Pollen: Tiny but mighty, bee pollen is packed with nutrients to support healthy skin, hair, nails, mood and energy. Not only is bee pollen a complete source of protein, but it's chock full of B vitamins, which are necessary for brain function.
Blueberries: The deep blue coloring can be attributed to anthocyanin, an antioxidant compound that protects your skin from free radical damage. This, in combination with their vitamin C content (another powerful antioxidant), increase collagen production, keeping your skin looking young and firm.
Chia Seeds: I used to work for Health Warrior, a natural foods company that sells products made from chia. My sales spiel went something like this: ounce for ounce, chia seeds contain more calcium than milk, iron than spinach, fiber than flax, omega-3's than salmon, magnesium than broccoli, protein than an egg. It is one of the world's healthiest foods. Boom. The omega-3's specifically strengthen your cells and reduce inflammation, while studies have shown that zinc (also found in chia) kills off acne causing bacteria for clear skin.
Coconut Oil: Chemically speaking, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride, meaning it bypasses the liver and immediately gets converted to energy in the body. It also contains lauric acid, an antimicrobial that kills off viruses, yeast and bacteria. Healthy fats (and this type of saturated fat in particular) are essential for healthy cells and skin.
Hemp: Similar to the nutritional profiles of chia and flax, I love hemp for its nutty taste and texture. The high content of essential fatty acids works to boost immunity, fight aging skin, and reduce inflammation. Additionally, studies have shown that the linolenic acid found in hemp helps heal psoriasis and eczema.
Nut/Seed Milk: There is a whole world beyond your unsweetened almond milk, especially if you have the ability to make your own. I recommend trying milk made from cashews (which contain copper to promote healthy hair and eyes), pumpkin seeds (a good source of zinc for clear skin), and brazil nuts (an excellent source of selenium, an anti-aging compound and natural mood booster).
Spirulina: This blue-green algae is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Among its many benefits, spirulina promotes healthy digestion, boosts immunity, and increases energy. The combination of tyrosine, tocopherol, and selenium makes this one helluva superfood for healthy skin (increases cell metabolism and turnover).
Tahini: Contains a whole host of B vitamins, which are not only necessary for good mood and memory, but also contribute to a healthy nervous system. The omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and calcium content helps to keep skin clean, hair healthy, and nails strong.