As it turns out, we really are what we eat. Diet has profound effects on appearance, and not just at the waistline. The glowing skin and healthy hair we covet depends on what we put into our bodies, so we turned to Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness for some diet tips on how to eat for healthy skin and hair.
Inner health, outer glow
"Your skin is an outer reflection of your inner health," Somer says. Somer, a registered dietician suggests peeking in other people's grocery carts as you shop. "We look just like the food we buy. Carts filled with white bread, doughnuts, soft drinks and potato chips are most likely pushed by people with pasty completions and lifeless hair," she says.
In contrast, the person pushing a cart loaded with fresh spinach and strawberries, fat-free milk, whole-wheat bread, fresh salmon and beans most likely has a rosy glow and healthy, shiny hair. "What you eat affects how you look, both today and down the road," she explains.
Beauty diet tips
Some of the worst things we can eat when it comes to appearance include fatty foods (especially when the fats are from meat), full-fat dairy, processed foods, refined grains, excessive added sugar, alcohol and salty foods. Bye-bye beer and extra-cheese pizza! The good news is that the nutrients needed for a healthy glow also revitalize your whole body, so making diet changes to improve your skin and hair will have an even larger positive effect. Somer suggests following these guidelines on what we should be eating every day:
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The most important beauty foods
Deficiency in any nutrient will cause changes in the skin, hair and nails, as well as in blood circulation, which supplies nutrients to the skin and removes toxic waste products, Somer explains. Here are the most important things we need and what happens when we don't get enough:
Easy ways to get skin-healthy and hair-healthy foods into your diet
It's not always easy to eat right. Health often takes a back seat to busy schedules, family commitments and social obligations. But Somer has some suggestions for how even the busiest women can incorporate skin- and hair-healthy foods into their day:
More ways to eat for beauty