Natural Foods and a Healthy Natural Foods Diet
A Healthy Natural Foods Diet is the Beauty from Within Secret
Often, we become obsessed with the idea of artificial beauty. Encouraged by what we see on social media, television and in magazines, we begin to place all importance on topical products that promise to make our hair, skin and body look healthier. Because of this, it’s no surprise that we somehow forget that nothing determines how we look more than the foods we eat. What we put into our bodies is the number one deciding factor as to how healthy our hair, skin and body really look. For instance, you can buy as many hair conditioners and moisturizers as you desire, but if you don’t eat the right foods to promote hair growth and shine from within, you may have a hard time seeing results.
Simply put, consuming healthy foods truly does create beauty from the inside out, and it’s up to us to eat the right things to get the right results.
The basic importance of eating right:
When it comes to the foods we eat, almost everything has some sort of nutritional value – from rice and bread to potatoes and lettuce. However, all foods are definitely not created equal, and though staples like rice, bread and potatoes do contain important carbs that our body needs for energy, they are high-calorie and can easily be ‘over-eaten.’
Take this into consideration: the serving size on a bag of rice reads as 1 cup. This 1 cup of rice contains 55 mg of potassium and 4.3 g of protein when cooked, but it also contains 206 calories. When we usually eat rice, do we use a cup to measure out exactly how much we are eating? For most of us, this is a no. We usually use a large spoon to dish out around2-3 spoonfuls of rice, bringing our total calories up to around 600. When added to whatever potatoes, beans or other foods we use to accompany the rice, our total calories may be around 1000 – and that’s only for one meal! If you are not a very active person or are already overweight, eating like this continuously can cause you to gain more weight, if not become obese.
For this exact reason, it’s generally better to choose low to medium-calorie foods that not only contain fewer calories, but are higher in macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), essential vitamins and minerals. Foods higher in protein and other nutrients tend to keep you feeling satiated for longer periods of time, so you won’t feel the need to include foods like rice and pasta in your meals to help you feel full or satisfied. What’s more, these nutrient-dense foods truly outshine rice, breads and pasta when it comes to true beauty from within.
Which macro and micronutrients are best for a healthy appearance?
Whereas carbs are important for energy levels and don’t do much in terms of external beauty, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals play an extremely large role in the health and beauty of our body, skin, and hair.
Two words: processed foods.
Globally, styles of eating have changed with the rise in artificial and processed foods. For example, Western diets for elementary, middle and high school students often contain sandwiches made with processed cheeses and meats as well as chips, soft drinks and sugary snacks. Even in households where family lunches and dinners are prepared, it is extremely easy to make the mistake of choosing to prepare only pasta and a form of protein without placing any focus on vegetables, fruits or legumes. The more processed foods and the less healthy fats, vitamins and minerals we consume, the more lethargic we may feel. This lethargy and carb addiction in turn leads to the cravings for more processed food and more empty carbs, thus creating a cycle of unhealthy eating that affects our skin, hair and body negatively. Some common signs of an unhealthy diet are dull skin and hair and excess fat on the body.
How can we change our diet to reap the best results for our appearance?
Luckily, every day brings a new opportunity to adjust the way that we eat and to strive for a healthier way of life. Switching out a portion of rice for a portion of steamed vegetables is a minor change, but brings great results for skin/hair health and weight loss over time. Here are 15 of the best foods to eat for the best-looking skin, hair and body.
Fatty fish are high in essential omega-3 acids. These promote healthy, glowing skin and hair by keeping skin and hair strands hydrated, moisturized and shiny. Salmon is the most popular choice when it comes to getting your omega-3’s from fish, but sardines, anchovies and mackerel can be a better choice since they do not accumulate many toxins such as mercury. These fatty fish are best eaten lightly sautéed, baked or steamed – stay away from frying or sautéing with butter and other high calorie sauces that can add additional unhealthy fats or unnecessary calories to your body.
Not to be confused with milk or white chocolate, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is extremely nutritious, and unlike sugary chocolates, it can be eaten every single day! 100 grams of dark chocolate contains around 11 grams of fiber, 58% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, 67% of the recommended daily amount of iron and 89% of the recommended daily amount of copper. Dark chocolate also contains a large amount of potassium, zinc and phosphorous. All of these nutrients contribute to radiant, clear skin and hair growth, so spend less on hair conditioners and stock up on dark chocolate instead. 100 grams is equal to 3.5 ounces, and may therefore be too much to eat every single day, so 1 ounce every other day may be best for you.
Though we all know that greens are generally amazing for health, collard greens are often underrated. They contain extremely high amounts of vitamin C, which not only promotes healthy hair growth, but is an antioxidant that helps to fight the toxins in our skin and hair and keeps us looking beautiful and healthy. One cup of collard greens provides almost the entire recommended daily amount of vitamin C, (70%) so you don’t have to eat handfuls in order to reap these impressive benefits.
These little seeds pack a solid punch of protein and fatty acids that are essential for healthy skin and hair. Hemp seeds are versatile, so you can eat them almost any way in any meal to get their nutrients. These may include in salads, smoothies and even in healthy dips.
Walnuts are another food very high in fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6. As mentioned, these fatty acids help to keep hair and skin moisturized and shiny, which in turn helps hair to grow longer without breaking and prevent skin dryness and dullness. Walnuts also contain protein, which is essential for strong hair growth to make hair full and able to withstand potential damage.
Blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant-containing foods. These incredible little berries have the power to eliminate free radicals, which often inhibit the healthy growth of hair and can cause skin to appear lackluster and unhealthy. Eating blueberries alone or in a fruit salad or smoothie can bring you all of their benefits in a delicious way.
Spinach isn’t only great for giving Popeye his impressive strength! The vitamin A in spinach is also perfect for keeping skin looking young. Vitamin A aids in cell turnover, which means that it helps skin to shed dead skin cells and create new ones more quickly and more efficiently. This process can help you to avoid premature wrinkling and sagging, and it keeps you looking younger for much longer. To get the most out of the vitamin A in spinach, you can pair it with a source of vitamin C, such as mangoes or orange juice in a green smoothie or a squeeze of lemon juice over a spinach salad.
Oysters are often eaten simply as a delicacy when out at a restaurant or wanting to try something new at home, but they contain huge amounts of zinc, which works wonders in the healthy growth and development of skin cells, hair and nails. Simply eating six oysters can give you as much as 500% of your daily requirement for zinc – amazing!
If you already love yogurt, you’re doing it right. Yogurt not only contains calcium, vitamin B2 and potassium, but also contains probiotics, a live culture that aids the body’s digestive system to work and feel better. Digestive issues often impact on weight gain and bloating, so by ensuring your digestive health, you ensure your body not only feels its best, but looks its best as well.
Oats aren’t just for weight loss! The high levels of zinc, potassium, biotin and magnesium in oats can increase hair strength, growth and appearance, and prevent breakage. You can eat oats mixed with water if you’re not a fan of milk, but if you are, creating a variety of sumptuous breakfast bowls with fruit, seeds and even yogurt is a delicious way to consume oats while getting all of their valuable nutrients.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense superfood. They contain everything from vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, vitamin C, and minerals such as potassium, copper and phosphorus. These nutrients all contribute to healthy, beautiful skin and hair by fighting free radicals, increasing skin’s ability to regenerate new cells and keeping hair follicles strong and nourished. Using sweet potatoes as an alternative to white potatoes, pasta or rice is the perfect way to get your complex carbs while consuming fewer calories and more nutrients. Sweet potatoes also help you to feel satisfied for a longer period of time, so you won’t feel the need to eat more or as often.
Tomatoes are extremely common in homes all over the world, but did you know that they are fantastic for hair and skin health? Tomatoes contain a high level of antioxidants, and when eaten regularly, they keep skin looking healthy by increasing its ability to protect itself from sun and UV damage. Who knew?
Chia seeds are tiny, but their benefits definitely are not! These seeds are packed with protein, fiber and a large dose of omega-3’s, along with other essential vitamins and minerals. Omega-3’s ability to help skin and hair retain moisture will have you feeling and looking radiant. Like hemp seeds, they can be eaten in a myriad of ways, such as in salads, puddings, healthy cakes or in breakfast/snack smoothies.
Avocados have a high fat content, but unlike fried and processed foods, these are healthy fats that actually benefit your hair and skin. They also contain considerable amounts of vitamins A, D and E, which all promote skin health and hair growth to keep you looking your best. Swapping out butter and other unhealthy oils for avocadoes not only helps your hair and skin, but can also improve your energy and result in weight loss. Avocados can be eaten in salads, spread on toast or even by themselves! The possibilities are endless.
Almonds contain vitamin E, manganese and selenium to keep your hair soft, shiny and supple, as well as protein for hair strength. They also help to fight free radicals to keep your hair and skin toxin-free. As mentioned, this leads to an ultimately healthier and more radiant-looking body.
By incorporating one, several or all of these foods into your regular diet, you will aid in the necessary bodily functions needed to keep your skin, hair and body looking their best. By increasing your food consciousness and feeding your body only the most nourishing and beneficial foods, you improve your appearance without spending hundreds on cosmetic products, thus confirming what you knew all along: beauty from within comes first.