It’s a tale as old as time, but the thing is it’s not just a tale. We are what we eat. What we put into our bodies is extremely important in determining how healthy we are, how we act and even what we look like. Just think: would you pour anything other than water into your pot plants? Our bodies are of course more resilient than pot plants, but we still need our share of nutrients.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and it’s still kind of hard for me to stick to a healthy diet. When I was younger, the only thing I would eat were chicken nuggets and Nutella sandwiches. I remember my parents warning me over and over again: “If you keep eating Nutella and chicken nuggets, you’ll turn into them.” This obviously never happened, but I’m not ashamed to admit I was biding my time until the big transformation. My young mind wondered: would I turn into a nugget with Nutella coloured hair, or something else entirely? That was life’s biggest mystery. On a side note: be careful what you tell your kids because they’ll believe anything.
The thing is though – were my parents really that far off the bat? As soon as I hit the dreaded teen years, my metabolism slowed down, my skin got oily and to this day, it breaks out at even the mention of chocolate. Cue the water, salads and sugar elimination. It’s not the best thing for junk food addicts, but it’s manageable and it makes me feel and look so much better. Besides, you don’t have to completely get rid of the things you love. The key to a good pantry is moderation, balance and planning.
Here are some of the most desired beauty traits and the foods you need to achieve them.
For youthful looking skin
Did you know berries are not only good for the skin, but they’re also full of natural antioxidants that help fight disease? Some super berries, such as blueberries also have the ability to offset free radical damage, which slows down the ageing process. Blueberries are the leaders of berries when it comes to youthful looking skin, as they attract water and moisturise the skin from the inside out. The bonus thing is that blueberries are absolutely delicious, so eating them isn’t a chore.
I adore avocados. They go with basically everything: chips, bread, chicken and even vegemite. Better yet, they contain plenty of Vitamin E that experts say we all need. Vitamin E moisturises and eases dry skin, provides sun protection and helps our skin look more youthful. What more could we possibly ask for?
To get rid of the bags under your eyes
We all know how important water is, but did you know it helps eliminate the bags under our eyes? Because this particular area of skin is more delicate than any other body part, it’s prone to showing the changes in our water balance. When we don’t get enough water, blood vessels or dark circles under our eyes become more obvious and the dehydration makes our skin look thinner. The secret is to drink a lot of water, but to also eat fruits high in water balance. I’m prone to having ugly bags under my eyes, and I can attest that water and fruits are a godsend when it comes to getting rid of them.
Having a 92% water concentration, watermelons prevent dehydration and contain antioxidants that contribute to eye health. Luckily, watermelons also tastes like joy and happiness, so there’s that.
The good thing about cucumber is that it can beautify in two highly effective ways. On more than one occasion, I have both eaten cucumber and strategically placed it under my eyes, as both methods are believed to have similar results. Like watermelon, cucumber’s full of water and it’s great for rehydration. On the other hand, a cucumber’s caffeic and ascorbic acid brings down the water retention in our eyes, so skin contact is also extremely beneficial.
For stronger hair
Experts recommend foods high in protein for tougher hair, as protein’s been classified as the “building block of hair.” Because insufficient protein can lead to slow hair growth, we need plenty of it. I’ve always had thick hair, but it used to have a mind of its own before I started balancing my diet with various nutrients, especially protein. Some great sources of protein include:
Eggs have a hell of a lot of protein, and they can be consumed with many different things. I love eggs and have absolutely no trouble incorporating them into my diet, but even if you don’t like them on their own, just throw them into a yummy cake recipe (probably best to go low fat, though!)
Steak, ground beef, pork, chicken breast, salmon and tuna are all extremely high in protein. I’m a really big fan of chicken (especially nuggets), but I’ve never really been into red meat. Apparently this is very common, and there are many other ways to satisfy our protein needs without having to eat things that make us gag.
I’m not a vegetarian, but some of my friends swear by certain foods that are both animal friendly and high in protein. Plus, my friends have really great hair, so they can’t be lying. Some foods include miso, green beans, microalgae, lentils, peanuts, grains, corn or even hemp seeds. They’re all an awesome alternative to meat and other animal products, such as milk and yoghurt.