5 plant-based foods you can eat to improve your skin, nails and hair

Having healthy skin, hair and nails can be a sign of inner wellness. When our immune system is run down, often our nails can become brittle, our skin can look dry, and our hair can break or even start to fall out. Keeping your stress levels under control and getting adequate sleep and exercise has been shown to improve the quality and appearance of our bodies, but did you know that there are certain natural, plant-based foods you can eat to boost the health of your skin, nails and hair?

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Walnuts

Walnuts are green when picked and are renowned for their hearty “nut meat”. Walnuts are nutrient dense and contain good amounts of protein and essential fatty acids. Fatty acids are critical for human beings as we cannot produce them in our bodies ourselves, so we must ingest them from other sources.

Basically, these fatty acids help our bodies to grow and function at their optimum and if your body is low in them, you may start to feel run down and look tired. When walnuts are harvested fresh they have the best flavor, color and nutrients. Eating a handful of walnuts twice a week has been shown to improve the quality of your skin by enhancing its elasticity due to these fatty acids.

Avocado

Native to Mexico and South America, avocados are also nutrient dense and a great source of monounsaturated fat. Eating avocados has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and improve the health of obese patients when one per day was added to their diet.

About 75% of the avocado’s nutrients are made up of good fats, which can enhance the quality, health and appearance of your hair, skin and nails. Some beauty websites even suggest mashing a couple of over-ripe avocados and putting them in your hair, or using them as a face mask, washing the green paste off after a period of 30 minutes. It’s worth a try when they’re in season, ripe and abundant.

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Spinach

As we age, our skin loses its elasticity. By age 30, fine lines begin to appear on your forehead. By age 40, you see lines around your eyes and the sides of your mouth. By 50, your “marionette lines” become prominent and by 60, you lose fat and elasticity around your eyes and they can appear to have bags or look a bit droopy.

But don’t worry! Spinach is also rich in vitamin C which is essential for the production of collagen, which aids skin elasticity and stops your skin looking scaly, dry and weather beaten. The vitamin A in spinach also contains antioxidants which can help to keep your skin cells healthy.

Kiwi fruit

Kiwis are full of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant essential for healthy hair and skin. Vitamin E gets to the skin and hair via the sebum, an oily, waxy substance that is secreted by people and animals. This coats the outer layer of the skin and gives it its glow and healthy appearance.

Kiwi juice can even be used in your hair. Kiwi juice concentrate is a pressed, natural product which is high in acid. It’s normally amber or brown in color and it can be diluted with water and rinsed through your hair and should leave your tresses looking healthy and shiny.

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Kumara (sweet potato)

With their vibrant orange color, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin, and also contain cancer-preventing carotenoids. These root veggies are a great source of vitamin C which produces collagen and keeps your skin, hair and nails looking healthy.

Keratin is the key structural material that makes up the outer layer of the human skin. It is also the key structural component in our hair and nails. A nutritious, plant-based diet helps to support keratin production and therefore can make your hair look thicker, your nails seem stronger and your skin glow. Make sure you prepare your kumara in a healthy way, and not just in sweet potato fries. Try this vegetable mashed, baked or sliced finely in a kale salad.

How long until my hair, nails and skin start to look better?

When deciding to get healthy, give your body a few weeks to adjust. Limit white carbs, alcohol, caffeine and preservatives as much as you can and blast your body with natural nutrients at every meal.

Be patient and kind with your body, get adequate sleep and try not to succumb to stress. If you slip up on your mission to a healthier you, be kind to yourself and just get back on the healthy eating plan as soon as you can. Whatever your age, you can make small or large improvements to your appearance the natural way – and get back your inner glow.

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