We know we need the right foods to make our insides work beautifully, and it seems there is a miraculous superfood with new health benefits in the news every day.
A healthy diet keeps our organs and muscles working like new. In addition to a healthy gut and immune system, the right foods can have cosmetic benefits as well. From glowing skin to an improved mood, the right foods can take our appearance to the next level. So throw out that new wrinkle cream and fill up your plate with some of these delicious and antioxidant-packed treats!
Plain Greek yogurt
Because Greek yogurt is packed with protein, it will keep you feeling fuller longer. This means you will be less tempted when those not-so-healthy foods appear in the work break room or at a birthday party. It also contains amino acids, which can repair skin and even reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.
Yogurt helps when used on the outside, too. It contains lactic acid, which naturally sloughs away dead skin cells. Try spreading a thick layer over your face and letting it sit for 10 minutes.
To slow down those inevitable signs of aging, try adding in more strawberries to your diet. These juicy little snacks are high in vitamin C, which can actually prevent fine lines and wrinkles!
Strawberries can even brighten your smile. They contain alpha hydroxyl oil, which is gentle on teeth enamel, but removes stains. Try mashing a small amount of strawberry into your teeth a few times a day, then brush away the seeds.
Next time you’re whipping up that yogurt parfait or fruit salad, toss in a few blueberries to really make your skin shine. Blueberries are high in both vitamins C and E. These antioxidants work together to not only brighten tired-looking skin, but also even out redness and uneven skin tones.
If you’ve been feeling low on energy, try peeling open a banana. They are rich in vitamin B6, potassium, and folic acid. These nutrients improve blood flow to your brain, so not only will you be quick-witted, you’ll feel happier.
Bananas can also give you softer, smoother skin. Try rubbing a mashed banana on your face or legs before shaving to soften the hair follicles and give you a smoother appearance.
Next time you hit the beach, be sure to pack the carrots. Carrots contain cartenoids, which reduce your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. Still pack the sunscreen, but your afternoon snack can add a little more protection for your skin. Try pairing raw carrots with hummus or guacamole for an easy snack on the go.
Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are high in antioxidants, which repair skin and hair cells, giving you a more youthful appearance. Try tossing some chopped red bell pepper in your next salad or egg scramble. The crisp, sweet flavor pairs well with almost anything!
The list of kale’s benefits keeps growing. Kale provides our bodies with vitamin K, which improves blood clotting. This not only helps our bodies heal, but makes sure those little blood vessels around the eyes don’t leak fluid and leave us looking like we were up all night. It also provides a healthy dose of iron. Low iron levels leave us looking pale and worn out, so toss some kale into your scrambled eggs before a big meeting or night out.
These little green trees are loaded with vitamin C, which improves blood circulation. Improved circulation means glowing skin. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increasing the vitamin C in your diet leads to improved skin aging. Not to mention you’ll be making your mother very happy.
As if you need another reason to adore avocado! We all know it’s insanely delicious, but it can also keep your skin looking young. Avocados contain the fatty acid oleic, which helps skin retain moisture, giving it a softer, younger look.
There’s a good reason so many celebs start their days with a big glass of lemon water. Lemons act as a natural detoxifier and help our blood move impurities out of the body. They also freshen breath, so be sure to start with lemon water on your next date.
After squeezing the juice into your water, don’t toss that lemon slice just yet. Brushing lemon juice on dull finger and toe nails will remove stains and kill bacteria. Just be sure to massage your hands and feet with lotion or olive oil afterwards to prevent drying out.
Like salmon, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids repair split ends and give hair a natural sheen. Walnuts are high in copper, which give skin a naturally warm color and may even prevent premature graying. In addition to giving you glowing skin, omega-3s affect your brain chemistry and can actually make you feel happier. Nothing is more beautiful than being the happiest one at the party!
It’s hard to think of an area of the body that doesn’t benefit from green tea. Because it’s loaded with antioxidants, it fights those free radicals floating around our bodies. Free radicals are damaged cells and are responsible for everything from annoying wrinkles to life-threatening cancer.
Even used green tea bags are useful. Once they have cooled off, place 1 on each eye for a quick spa treatment. Its antioxidants actually correct skin color and reduce swelling under the eyes.
If you’re on a budget, think twice before skipping that daily latte. Coffee not only makes you and everyone at the office much happier on a Monday morning, it can actually protect against cancer. It contains natural compounds that protect your skin against melanoma (skin cancer). According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, daily coffee drinkers have a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma than non-coffee drinkers.
If you’ve been feeling stressed lately, it’s time to up the flax oil in your diet. Flax oil is full of healthy fats like omega-3s and essential fatty acids. These compounds naturally moisturize your skin and hair and may even prevent stress-related hair loss. Try mixing some flax oil into your morning oatmeal or smoothie.
Not a fan of the taste? Try massaging it directly into your hair and skin. Flax oil strengthens your locks while minimizing wrinkles. Win win!
Cinnamon not only makes all your desserts tastier, it can actually burn fat while adding flavor. Studies show that eating cinnamon can cause lower blood sugar and cholesterol. It also increases your metabolism, so sprinkle away!
Cinnamon can also make you more kissable. Mix a small amount with a few drops of honey and massage into your lips to deepen your natural color and exfoliate dead skin cells away. Just be sure to moisturize afterwards.