A Few Simple Changes to Your Eating Habits Can Make a World of Difference

From the desk of: Amanda

I recently found myself in the passenger seat on a three hour car ride. I wasn’t too sure what to do with myself, since there were three teenage boys in the back, making a TON of noise. Looking out the window and contemplating life wasn’t about to happen. So I cracked open a copy of the DC, Maryland and Virginia edition of The Knot magazine. What better way to spend three hours in the car than to read about bridal trends? Who am I kidding? It allowed me to ignore the punching, hollering and shrieking coming from the back of the van, and that’s what is REALLY important here, people. Three. Teenage. Boys.

While reading, I came across an awesome article that I think is beneficial to everyone, not just brides. It gives you some very simple diet changes that you can make to help smooth out your beauty concerns. I tried desperately to find the article online since there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, but I was out of luck. So, here is my recap of the article “Eat to Be Pretty”.

Issue: Acne
Beauty Food: Cold-water Fish

Eating cold-water fish like mackerel, tuna, trout, sardines, or anchovies at least twice a week will help banish blemishes. Recent research shows that people who eat fish at least once a day have less acne than those who don’t. Dr. Jessica Wu says that she’s seen results in 2-3 months. Why does this help with acne? Fish is high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which can clear up broken-out skin. If you happen to be allergic to fish, or just don’t like the taste, don’t worry. You can just snack on walnuts or take an algae-oil supplement. Both of these contain the omega-3 fatty acids, so you should be all set. As always, remember to speak with your doctor if you’re taking any prescription medications.

Issue: Under-eye Circles
Beauty Food: Cut the salt

Any stress, including wedding stress, can keep you up at night and leave you with raccoon-like eyes. These annoying circles are caused by two things: the thinning of the under-eye skin; the puffiness that comes with not sleeping creates darkness under your eyes. Avoiding salt can help minimize these circles. If you’re eating out, ask for light salt, since restaurants tend to over-salt everything. Read labels, and try to use herbs in place of salt when cooking. Try to limit your salt intake to no more than 1,800mg per day.

Issue: Sunburn
Beauty Food: Tomatoes (or any other red fruit/veggies)

Red foods, such as tomatoes, watermelon, or pink grapefruit, are high in lycopene which helps reduce free radicals and are very effective in blocking the effects of UV rays. It’s much easier for your body to absorb lycopene from tomatoes that have been cooked or processed, so tomato paste, marinara sauce, tomato juice and sundried tomatoes are awesome ways to add lycopene to your system. Throw in some healthy fat like an avocado, and your body will absorb it even faster. That salsa and guacamole on low-salt chips? Perfect!!

Issue: Fine lines or wrinkles
Beauty Food: A mix of green and yellow vegetables

Those who eat more yellow and green veggies have been shown to have fewer wrinkles, especially crow’s feet, than those who don’t. Super foods like peppers, leafy greens, squash and green beans fight the free radicals that break down collagen, and I don’t know about you, but I adore those little peppers, they make the perfect snack!

Issue: Thinning hair
Beauty Food: Beef

Low iron levels (anemia) have been linked to hair thinning, especially in women. Eating iron-rich food like lean beef as often as twice a week will lead to lush, thick locks. Plus.. it’s the perfect excuse for a date night at your favorite steakhouse! If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, opt for lentils, kidney beans, or spinach to build up your iron supply.

Issue: Dry, damaged or over-processed hair
Beauty Food: Avocado

Because the hair is already dead, your diet alone won’t actually repair it. But using avocado or mayonnaise as an all-natural hair mask (leave it on your hair for 15 minutes) will help to seal split ends, and reduce the frizzy appearance. New hair growth, however, will be affected by your diet, so try eating foods rich in cysteine (egg yolks, pork, poultry, red peppers, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, oats, wheat germ, and broccoli), silicon (green beans, whole grains and cereals, spinach and lentils), and iron and zinc (beef, lamb, kidney beans, raw oysters and spinach).

Issue: Dandruff
Beauty Food: Yogurt

Dandruff and dry or itchy scalp are actually caused by an overgrowth of yeast, which feeds on your skin’s oils. It’s not caused by dry skin, which is typically what people assume. Eating low-fat, low-sugar yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) will help reduce your dandruff in as little as four weeks. If you’re not a fan of the taste, you can easily take an oral probiotic once a day. But I’d prefer to mix the yogurt with some of the foods mentioned in other sections and make a yummy breakfast smoothie, and knock out several of these items in one shot.

Issue: Weak or brittle nails
Beauty Food: Swiss Chard

Include foods that are rich in biotin, a B vitamin that’s been shown to strengthen and heal nails. Swiss chard is a top choice, but salmon, kidney or liver, egg yolks, whole grains, cabbage or broccoli are also helpful. Foods high in silicon (see the list in the hair section) have also been linked to higher bone density and sturdier hair and nails.

Issue: Dry skin or eczema
Beauty Food: Salmon

Eating fish, especially salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids will help to heal eczema and heal dehydrated skin. Fresh fish is typically higher than canned in omega-3, but canned certainly won’t hurt. If you’re a vegetarian or have a fish allergy, you can always take a supplement.

A big beauty no-no is the pre-wedding crash diet. Instead, a few months (6-8 for best results) beforehand, start implementing these diet changes, and by the big day, not only will you fit into your gown, but your skin will glow and hair will be glossy. A bonus? A lot of these issues are resolved by eating the same foods. Changing a few simple diet habits can make a world of difference, and it will save you a LOT of time and money compared to all of the gimmicks you see on TV and in magazines. Always try to do it the natural way.. and chances are, you’ll become accustomed to your new eating habits, and continue them long after the wedding.

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