Sometimes, when I’m wandering through the grocery store, I find myself thinking, ‘How ’bout I buy some expensive dark craft chocolate because apparently its chock-full of antioxidants’, or ‘Why not eat the whole tub of hummus because chickpeas are kind of like nuts and so hair growth of course’. And then there are the times when I get to the supplement aisle and I end up throwing yet another bottle of biotin into my grocery cart because I decide I want my hair to grow by a foot. By tomorrow.
You see, sometimes we aren’t always the most educated on what food can do for us in terms of what we call “beauty”. If what we (righteously) consume is meant to strengthen and energize us on the inside, you’ve gotta figure there may be some benefits coming through on the outside, too. However, we tend to rely more on drugstore moisturizers and four dollar shampoos loaded with detergent to provide us with lustrous hair and skin than the simple thing that our bodies really, truly need … good food!
And so, I bring to you a very simple, short list of food and beverage items that you can add to your weekly grocery list that will do your hair and skin nothing but favors (not to mention what these items all do for your immune system, nervous system, circulatory system, and beyond).
Fennel or dandelion tea These two herbal teas are particularly wonderful at decreasing bloat and inflammation. Do you find that your eyes are puffier than your croissant in the morning? Try to cut out late-night salt intake (the culprit) and substitute it with a calming cup of herbal tea before bed. Chilled caffeinated tea bags are also wonderful at quickly reducing puffiness by constricting the blood vessels around the eyes, if you find that you’ve eaten one too many Cheetos before hitting the sack.
Wild salmon Three words: omega fatty acids. Not only do such nutrients sustain proper nerve function and provide great defense against heart disease, but omega fatties are responsible for radiant skin and decreasing inflammation. Salmon is a goldmine for omega fatties, and a simple way to up your everyday intake is to switch from cooking with butter to olive oil.
Berries I literally eat berries every single day. A coworker recently told me I probably keep the industry afloat single-handedly. Besides being a great source of fiber, berries are loaded with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for collagen production, which stimulates the growth of healthy, vibrant hair (as opposed to dull hair the breaks easily). Vitamin C also assists the antiaging process through its ability to reduce free radical damage in the skin. Any kind of citrus is also an excellent source of vitamin C.
Spinach and kale As trendy as it is these days to be walking around with a cup full of blended spinach and kale leaves from Whole Foods, I have to say that the regular addition of such an item into one’s regular diet isn’t something to be discouraged. Both leafy greens are powerhouses of vitamin K, an incredibly effective nutrient for combating dark undereye circles. Vitamin K is responsible for strengthening blood vessel walls and is essential for healthy blood circulation. It comes in both pill and cream form, but the extra dietary benefits of consuming it through leafy greens can’t be beat.
Lean meats and poultry These are a quick and powerful source of iron, the mineral responsible for carrying oxygen into your bloodstream and throughout your entire body to places like your hair follicles to help stimulate healthy growth. Vitamin C and zinc are two nutrients that aid in the body’s absorption of iron, so I recommend balancing your intake of each. Additionally, lean meats and poultry provide amino acid-packed protein for hair and skin, which serves to replace and turnover dead cells.
Water Oh, you think I’m an idiot for putting this here? Well you’d be surprised to find that I am the champ that has managed to consume about one cup of water a day. One cup. Yeah, you know those eight cups that we’re supposed to guzzle down in twenty four hours? I haven’t exactly been good at it. So, I figured placing the beauty benefits here may motivate me to increase my intake.
Water makes the skin glisten and stay supple thanks to its moisturizing properties. Water, whether in showers or in consumption, can calm nerves, reduce stress and anxiety, and tighten pores as a cold compress or rinse. Going from hot water to a cold rinse is great for opening pores to release and then cleanse the skin of toxins and grime from the day. As for the hair, cold water is incredible for constricting the hair cuticle and leaving it shiny and less frizzy. Water also makes for a great styling product as you can “set” your hair while it’s wet and then reform the hydrogen bond in the hair to change its shape (hence waking up with kinky waves when you go to bed with your hair in wet braids). Hair growth is also very connected to our hydration, and hair may even cease to grow if we’re not properly hydrated. The moisture that water provides also helps to combat dandruff, dermatitis, and other dry skin conditions.
And so, just in time for summer and all those barbecues, let us not forget to grill the salmon, throw some spinach on our burgers, snack on in-season berries, and drink tons and tons and tons of water. Cheers! xo, MR