Healthy Skin Hair and Nails

Clear skin, shiny locks and strong nails are something we all want but as well as looking after them topically with good quality products, their health depends on them being fed from the inside. Certain foods and drinks definitely have the X Factor when it comes to offering an extra boost so here are the top ten in each category with an example ‘day in your diet’ which includes all the essential nutrients to give you the edge. Here are tips to get and maintain healthy Skin Hair and Nails.

Skin

Natural ‘Live’ Yoghurt. One the most important components of a healthy skin is vitamin A. One of the best places to find it is low fat yoghurt which is not only rich in vitamin A but also ‘friendly’ bacteria which crowds out the ‘unfriendly’ lot and promotes good digestion. Poor digestive health is invariably reflected in skin condition.

Blueberries, Strawberries, Plums. The common link between these foods is their high antioxidant content. These help protect skin cells from damage and guard against premature ageing.

Healthy Skin Hair and Nails

Mackerel, Flaxseed Oil. These deliver essential fatty acids which are key elements for a healthy skin. They are responsible for healthy cell membranes (protective outer coatings) which not only act as barriers to harmful toxins but also allow nutrients in and waste out of body cells. Healthy, well-fed cell membranes also hold water in the cell resulting in plumper, younger looking skin.

Turkey, Brazil Nuts. The mineral selenium is the ingredient that makes these foods important. It plays a key role in the health of skin cells. Some studies show that even skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium levels are high.

Green Tea. This drink deserves a category all of its own. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is protective of cell membranes. It may even help prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer. Polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that are also beneficial to skin health overall.

Water. While the exact amount you should drink each day varies, no one disputes the role good hydration plays in a healthy skin diet. When that hydration comes from pure, clean water – not fizzy drinks, other than sparkling water – skin cells are happy. My recommendation is 5-8 glasses every day. In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which automatically leaves skin looking better and when we’re properly hydrated, we also sweat more efficiently which helps keep skin clean and clear.

Hair

Salmon. When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it’s hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also rich in vitamin B12 and iron. Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health. A deficiency can result in a dry scalp, giving hair a dull look.

Spinach. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which the body needs to produce sebum. This oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body’s natural hair conditioner.

Beans and Lentils. Beans and lentils should be an important part of a hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. Biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.

Almonds. A palmful of almonds provide nearly 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium, an essential mineral for growing healthy strands. A deficiency of magnesium within the body has been linked to hair loss.

Chicken/Turkey. Skinless, free-range chicken and turkey provide high quality protein which is essential for the building and repair of the entire body. Without adequate protein or with low quality protein, we can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair colour.

Healthy Skin Hair and Nails

Eggs. Eggs are one of the best protein sources available to us (see above for importance of protein). Egg yolks are also a rich source of biotin, a deficiency of which can lead to hair loss.

Whole Grain Muesli Mix. For a healthy dose of B vitamins, these ‘energy’ nutrients work synergistically to promote overall health and prevent disease. Nothing in the body grows effectively and efficiently without energy!

Oysters. Oysters may be better known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, but they can also lead to healthy hair. The key to their libido and hair-boosting properties is zinc, a powerful antioxidant. If you can’t stomach oysters you can also get good levels of zinc from lean beef and lamb.

Cottage Cheese. Low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese and yoghurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also offer high-quality protein.

Carrots. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision. A healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair.

Nails

Eggs, Onions. Both are rich in the mineral sulphur which promotes nail flexibility and makes nails less vulnerable to breakage.

Brown Rice, Hard Cheese. Great foods for biotin which has been shown to increase nail hardness and thickness.

Oats, Peppers. Silicon promotes nail strength and firmness and both of these foods have good levels.

Oranges, Asparagus. Another important nutrient for nails is folic acid which helps maintain nail flexibility and strength.

Walnuts, Avocado. As well as their importance in promoting and maintaining great skin and hair, essential fatty acids are vital for glossier and more flexible nails.

A SKIN, HAIR and NAIL-ENRICHING DAY

Breakfast: Large glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice diluted 50:50 with still or sparkling water.

Bowl of low sugar wholegrain muesli mix with a couple of dollops of natural ‘live’ yoghurt, topped with fresh berries and mixed raw nuts (make sure walnuts and Brazil nuts are included).

Cup of green tea or freshly brewed coffee.

Mid Morning: 3 Bean or Mixed Rice Salad from the deli.

Large glass of still or sparkling water.

Lunchtime: Bowl of beef, lamb or lentil and vegetable soup.

Small mixed green leaf salad (make sure baby spinach leaves are included) with a dollop of natural cottage cheese, a drizzle of lemon and a glug of flaxseed/olive oil.

Cup of green/red bush tea or freshly brewed coffee.

Large glass of water

Mid Afternoon: Half an avocado filled with red pepper salsa and a Scotch egg.

Healthy Skin Hair and Nails

Handful of raw whole or flaked almonds.

Large glass of sparkling water with ice, lemon, cucumber slices and a few fresh strawberries.

Evening: Couple of smoked mackerel fillets, grilled.

Roasted Vegetables (go for lots of variety and include baby onions, peppers and asparagus). Coat with olive oil before roasting and top with mixed seeds before serving.

Large glass of red wine and the same of water.

Bedtime: At least 30 minutes before you go to bed (only if you find you struggle to get to sleep or wake up in the wee small hours and can’t  get back to sleep)

Couple of baby oatcakes with a couple of slices of skinless turkey breast.

And remember to keep a large glass/bottle of water by the bed.

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