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Eat your way to better hair, skin and nails

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Eat your way to beauty

Summer is a great time to get up and enjoy the outdoors, but it can be damaging to your hair, skin and nails. From the sun's penetrating rays to moisture-sucking salt water, the harm done to your body by summertime activities can be irreparable. Unless, of course, you learn to offset the damage with a diet full of hair, skin and nail salvaging foods. As you head into fall, reach for the following beauty foods and eat your way to better hair, skin and nails.

Woman eating rasberries

Berries

Why they're good for you: Loaded with potent antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, berries, especially blueberries and raspberries, are some of the best foods to eat if you're trying to heal summertime damage to your hair, skin and nails. Not only do these nutritious little orbs slow free radical damage (caused by sun, pollution and stress), they also work hard to boost your body's immune system (so skin infections are less likely).

How to eat them: Berry Shortcake

Fish

Why it's good for you: Fresh fish, like salmon and sole, are loaded with essential fatty acids, such as the highly revered omega-3s, that our hair, skin and nails rely on to heal themselves. Additionally, the fatty acids and protein in fish help to fight inflammation (key if you're suffering from a sunburn) and protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays. Fatty acids have also been shown to speed up how quickly your skin can repair itself.

How to eat it: Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

Green Tea

Why it's good for you: A great substitute for coffee, green tea is one of the best liquid ways to not only hydrate your body, but also to heal sun-damaged hair, skin and nails. Loaded with polyphenols (a nutrient that has anti-inflammatory and healing properties), green tea can also boost your immune system and rev your metabolism.

How to drink it: Hot and steamy or in these Iced Tea Cocktails (go easy on the alcohol)

Yogurt

Why it's good for you: Low-fat dairy products, especially ones like yogurt, are full of vitamin A and calcium, two ingredients your nails rely on to stay strong, supple and healthy. If you're deficient in either, your nails will be more susceptible to peeling and cracking. What's more, some yogurts contain selenium, a nutrient known for boosting skin's suppleness and elasticity.

How to eat it: Yogurt Honey Poppyseed Dressing

Water

Why it's good for you: Dehydration is one of the key reasons your body start to whittle under the pressures of summertime fun. Skipping your recommended daily dose of the clear stuff (about eight glasses a day) will cause your skin to sag, dry out your hair, and make you feel sluggish. Rehydration is key to repairing the ravages of the sun and heat.

How to drink it: Flavored water

Nuts

Why they're good for you: Loaded with complex B vitamins and essential oils, nuts are a healthy snack you can pop to keep your skin glowing and to regenerate skin cells. As an added bonus, nuts are loaded with antioxidants that work to reduce swelling and inflammation of the skin and minimize damage to nails and hair.

How to eat them: Spanish Almond Chicken 

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