Want a shortcut to improving your appearance? (Is there anyone out there who doesn’t?) Ever consider the role what you eat plays on how you look? It’s a very basic principle, yet one that we don’t pay enough attention to.

We might watch what we eat in terms of not wanting to gain weight. But the cold, hard truth is that eating the right kinds of foods go much farther than keeping off the pounds. Proper nutrition does the type of repair work on a cellular level that no amount of beauty products alone can achieve.

If you want to have beautiful skin, beautiful hair, and—yes—a beautiful brain, check out the following for nutrition-packed foods that belong in your daily diet.

Avocado

The nutrients found in avocado read like a list of all the essentials you want in a well-rounded diet. It has protein, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamins B6 and C, fiber, potassium, iron, folate, magnesium, and copper. It also contains our good friend, omega-3. These vitamins and nutrients all play their own roles in improving the health of your skin.

Avocados are so packed with nutrients that many beauty experts suggest mashing the pulp and using it as a mask for premium haircare or topically on your face for a feast for your skin. But, honestly, avocado is so delicious that I find it much more satisfying to eat it on toast or add it to a salad than to put it on my face. But that’s up to you.

Want to go for simple? Eat them seasoned with salt, pepper, and lime juice. For the advanced avocado eater, you can explore avocado ice cream, avocado fries, and avocado sushi rolls.  

Nuts and seeds

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help keep your skin looking its best because omega-3s reduce skin inflammation and balance out your skin’s pH levels. Additionally, studies have consistently shown that this type of fat aids one’s mental health, reducing depression and anxiety. So not only do you look beautiful on the outside, sans makeup, but you also feel at peace on the inside.

Omega-3s are found in various nuts and seeds. But for the superstars of the nut-and-seed show, beauty tips from nutrition experts suggest going for walnuts and chia seeds for the most bang for your buck. Add to your morning granola and you’ll be set for an all-day boost!

Vitamin C

Who doesn’t like a fantastic fruit salad? Yet, here’s another reason to go all fruity: Vitamin C is responsible for helping your body produce collagen, which is what strengthens your blood vessels and gives your skin elasticity, aka a firm, tight appearance. Aside from doing wonders for your skin, it also helps with maintaining nail and hair health.

Need a refresher on what fruit contains the highest amounts of this vital nutrient? If you guessed oranges, you guessed right. But aside from citrus fruits, you can also find high concentrations of vitamin C in cantaloupe, kiwi, papaya, and mango. In the veg family, turn to broccoli or cauliflower for great vitamin C sources.

Dark leafy greens

Looking to keep your youthful glow even as the years pass? (#beautygoals!) Ask yourself how often you eat dark leafy greens (DLG). These are the real players of the veg world. The magic they work: renewing and repairing skin. Plus, they’re chock full of fiber, keeping your digestive system regular—which improves your skin’s appearance. Then there’s folate, a nutrient present in dark leafy greens, which helps your skin repair itself from the inside out. Think of eating those DLG as a part of your daily skincare routine.

Experiment with how you eat it until you hit on a winner. My favorite DLG recipe: Chop up spinach and toss it with strawberries and almond slivers, dress it with balsamic vinegar, and ta daaa! You have a gourmet salad that’s not only light on the calories but will also pull its weight in skin repair.

—Eun-Ha Park



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