“Beauty” Foods to Dine For

By Terrie Collymore, F!L!W! Corresponent

Eating well keeps you healthy (no news there), but the right foods can also give you supple skin, shiny hair, and head-to-toe radiance. (For you guys, let’s just say it can help your skin.) “The vitamins and nutrients found in many fruits and vegetables really do deliver great beauty benefits,” says Kimberly Snyder, celebrity nutritionist (Drew Barrymore, Channing Tatum, and Fergie are fans) and author of The Beauty Detox Solution. To set you on the path to bon appétit beauty, here are Snyder’s dietary picks:

Cucumber:  Considered the ultimate eye depuffer, this fruit is full of hydrating enzyme-enriched water—and hydration is key for youthful, smooth skin. It also contains B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium, “which give it anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Snyder.  “This is why cucumbers are often put over your eyes during a spa treatment.”

Seaweed: A multi-tasking beauty food, this kelp veggie is a skin saver and scalp strengthener. A potent mix of B vitamins, iron, and iodine is the secret to its effectiveness in fighting acne and nourishing hair follicles. Naturally low in bloat-causing sodium, but high in iodine, count on seaweed to also help your metabolism function at its peak.

Kale: Inside these deep green leaves are nutritional goodies such as calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. “Kale is also an excellent source of the beauty vitamins A, C, and E, which have potent anti-aging properties and help promote healthy new cell growth,” says Snyder. Thanks to high levels of vitamin K, kale can help combat dark circles under your eyes.

Pumpkin Seeds:  Want to improve your posture? Toasted pumpkin seeds can help you stand tall.  They’re packed with a ridiculous amount of magnesium (one ounce contains approx. 74 mg), which strengthens bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in biotin— a known nutrient for hardening nails.

Cabbage:  Poor cabbage—berated for its stinky smell.  But that doesn’t prevent it from working wonders when it comes to fending off fine facial lines.  “Cabbage contains the compound sulforaphane, which promotes anti-aging antioxidant activity,” says Snyder. High in vitamin C content, both the red and white varieties help boost collagen production throughout the body, resulting in supple skin.

Sauerkraut (Raw) “This probiotic-rich food encourages the growth of friendly flora [bacteria] in the gut and helps to manufacture B vitamins, which are critical for energy and overall beauty,” explains Snyder. “Friendly flora keeps your digestive system in check, too, so clogging waste doesn’t build up and there’s better nutrient delivery to the skin and the entire body.”

Papaya: Its gorgeous orange-reddish color is due to a high concentration of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body and is important for ongoing skin repair. “Papaya is also high in the enzyme papain—it has cleansing properties and promotes bright skin and eyes,” says Snyder. The tropical fruit can be used as a topical beauty treatment, too.  Fresh sliced papaya applied on the face works as an exfoliant.

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