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eat yourself beautiful: foods to make your skin and hair bloom
We often think about eating for good health, that is to say making sure we include the right foods in our diet so that we lessen our risks of getting illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer. Sometimes we forget that food can help us to look our best too and that certain vitamins and minerals we consume within our meals may have a great anti-aging effect or make our locks more lustrous and shiny.
The best vitamins to boost your skin and hair
Many over the counter and dermatologist prescribed skin preparations contain high levels of Vitamin A, otherwise known as Retinol. It is a super vitamin for protecting the skin, stopping conditions like acne and breakouts and making sure the hair grows long and strong. It is found within foods such as:
Cod Liver Oil
Spinach and other leafy green vegetables
A mineral which probably isn’t hugely recognized by many, but is actually one of the B Vitamin family. It is responsible for strengthening the membranes of cells within our bodies, but also has the effect of making thinning hair come through thicker if it is taken over a period of time, either through food or correct supplementation. Inositol is found in:
Citrus fruits and melon
Wholegrain wholemeal breads
Beans and legumes
Again, this is another one of the B Vitamin family and can actively help to stop hair fall occurring. It is useful for people who find their hair thinning over time, because it helps the body to produce more Keratin, one of the main constituents of the hair shaft itself. It can help with hair and skin elasticity and overall plumpness. It is found in:
Oats and oatmeal
This is the vitamin that more people associate with good skin than they do hair, but it is equally good for both. It is known as a vitamin that can help to stimulate and protect the immune system – which will aid in making both your skin and hair look its best. You can quite easily take this in tablet form, either internally or used as a moisturizer on the skin straight from the capsule itself. It can also be found in the following foods:
All leafy green vegetables
Soy and soy based products
Zinc is such an important skin and hair booster. It promotes healing, it promotes healthy growth and it encourages relaxation, which is so important for anyone with thinning hair or poor skin quality as the blood will be better able to circulate, flow freely and transport the nutrients from your food round the body properly. Zinc is found in:
Oysters and shellfish
Lean red meat
Leafy green vegetables
Dried fruits and seeds
Food, skin and hair
What you eat has a great effect on how you look. This article from the Wall Street Journal shows the positive effects Vitamin D can have on hair loss and skin health. We all know that if we suddenly start to live off convenience meals or takeaways we feel bloated and sluggish and perhaps look tired. Our skin and hair will also suffer over time without the proper nutrients they both need. In order that we maintain hair growth safely and effectively and keep our skin in the best possible condition we need to not only think about what we’re using in terms of anti-ageing products and good hair care, but also making sure we get the right levels of the vitamins and minerals we’ve talked about above. There are lots of ways you can turn your foods into ‘beauty boosters’ and knowing the right ingredients to add to your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks can effortlessly help you look your best. The recipe that follows is one such example of a good beauty bite, that not only tastes good, but also contains foods from each of the vitamin and mineral groups listed above:
Beauty Snack Bar
This is an anytime of day snack, perfect for breakfast on the go, or as a sweet afternoon treat to perk you up. It also makes a very nice after dinner dessert that is healthy and feels positively virtuous.
You will need:
1 cup of Porridge oats
¼ cup of Oatmeal
¼ cup of Wheatgerm
¼ cup each of Sunflower seeds, dates, dried apricots (or any other dried fruit of your choice, you could substitute any of these for figs, cranberries, blueberries, papaya etc. You could also use pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds or add in Walnuts in place of both)
½ cup of Raisins or Sultanas
2 tablespoons of either linseeds or flax seeds
2 tablespoons of flax seed oil
1 tablespoon of Manuka Honey
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (or you can use the same of orange, lime or even grapefruit)
The method could not be easier. You will firstly need to lightly grease a baking dish or tin with flax seed oil.
Then all you need to do is to place all the ingredients into a food processor or mixer and blitz them together until you have a pliable ball of dough. If for any reason the mixture is too dry, add a little more fruit juice or a spot more flax oil. If it is too wet, add a little more oatmeal.
When the ingredients are in a workable dough, simply turn this out into your greased tin and press down thoroughly so you have an even layer of mixture spread out. This must now go into the fridge for around two to three hours until it is thoroughly chilled and set.
When your mixture is chilled you can then cut it into bars or whatever shapes you choose and cling wrap them to enjoy as and when you wish. Keep refrigerated.
Image Credit: National Cancer Institute