We all want to look our best, but what many of us don’t realize is it’s not what we put ON our bodies (think expensive lotions and creams) but what we put IN them that really matters! If you are interested in aging well and looking your best, there are three simple steps: don’t smoke, avoid over-exposure to the sun and eat well. Not only will you look your best, you’ll feel even better!
Our skin needs nutrients with anti-oxidants, to protect the cells from damage, and anti-inflammatory agents, to fight chronic low-grade inflammation in the body. There are four important micronutrients and one fat that must be included when eating for optimal beauty benefits: vitamins A, C and E, selenium and omega-3 fat. A diet rich in a variety of foods from the lists below will help you look and feel great.
Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen (which helps skin stay firm). The best sources are citrus fruits, berries, dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, watercress), red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and tomato juice, pineapple, cantaloupe, mangos, papaya and guava.
Vitamin E helps protect cell membranes from damage (particularly from UV radiation). It is safest to obtain vitamin E from dietary sources rather than supplements. The best sources are extra virgin olive oil, nuts and nut butters, seeds, whole grains, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, soybeans, sweet potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and dark leafy green vegetables.
Beta Carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and is involved in the growth and repair of cells. Best sources are from a variety of dark orange, red, yellow and green vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupe and mangos.
Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that is thought to protect skin from sun damage as well as help maintain firmness and elasticity. It is most safely obtaine d through food sources, not supplements. The best sources are fish, shellfish, Brazil nuts, grains, whole wheat bread, wheat germ, eggs, garlic and most vegetables.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential fats that possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they help maintain cell membranes and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Almost all of us could benefit from a greater intake of omega-3 fats. Common food sources are cold water fish (such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines), ground flax seeds and walnuts.
All of these beauty foods can be found at your local Harris Teeter. Fill up your shopping cart and start eating to look your best today!