Pretty eats

Is the old adage "beauty comes from within" true? Researchers are exploring the link between diet and appearance. While environment certainly plays a key role, we know that what you eat profoundly affects your skin, hair, and, nails.

By Marge Perry

face with fruit
Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Healthy Fats for Healthy Skin

Healthy fats, like the omega-3s in salmon and nuts, keep skin supple and moisturized. In fact, not getting enough omega-3s can cause skin to be dry and flaky. The anti-inflammatory effects of good fats can also help prevent redness and acne — and may even keep symptoms of psoriasis at bay. And don't forget the skin on your scalp — when that skin is healthy, it provides an environment for healthier hair.

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

The Power of C

Consuming vitamin C is one of the best things you can do for your skin. That's because your body needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen — and collagen is what gives skin its plumpness and firmness.

Psst.. Don't forget about kiwi! The recommended daily amount of vitamin C (106%) is in just one kiwifruit. Ounce for ounce, that's almost twice as much of the wrinkle-fighting vitamin found in oranges.

The Collagen Cure

We have collagen in our bodies, but as we age, the levels fall and can result in wrinkles. Studies show collagen supplementation can improve skin elasticity after just eight weeks. But there's no need to buy expensive supplements. Your body makes collagen from protein-rich foods like beef, chicken, and beans, with the help of vitamin C, zinc, and copper. You can get these from citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, whole grains, and nuts — basically, a well-balanced diet!

Dollars Americans spent on collagen supplements in 2018: 47 million

Smoothies for Smooth Skin?

Yes! Slurp down an antioxidant-rich smoothie made with mangoes, spinach, oranges, watermelon, or kale (for carotenoids); strawberries or oranges (for vitamin C); and cocoa powder (for polyphenols). Your delicious anti-aging drink is full of the compounds that protect your skin against damage from UV light.

Photo: Jason Donnelly

Biotin Buzz

There's a lot of buzz about the use of biotin supplements to treat brittle nails and hair, but there isn't good science to back it up. Biotin may have received its undeserved good rep because of a very rare biotin deficiency disorder that can cause thinning hair and brittle nails. There may be a connection — but it is a big and unscientific leap to assume that healthy people who consume extra biotin will have stronger hair and nails. Noteworthy: If you do take biotin supplements, or if biotin is in your multivitamin, be sure to tell your doctor. Biotin can interfere with some lab results, including those from cardiovascular and hormone tests.

Diet & Acne: Does Eating Pizza Cause "Pizza Face"?

Certain foods, such as pizza, cheese, and chocolate, seem to always get blamed for causing acne. But is there any truth to those claims? Some researchers believe the natural growth hormones in milk may be to blame. Other researchers pin it on the high carb content of certain foods. Sadly, for cheese-lovers, data from more than 45,000 women showed a positive correlation between acne and dairy consumption. This doesn't mean dairy causes acne, and it doesn't mean everyone breaks out from dairy. But if you have acne, you may want to keep an eye on how dairy affects your skin.

Cheers to Beer

Silicon has been shown to make hair less brittle. And beer made with malted barley and hops (more so than wheat) is one of the best sources of silicon in our diet. Study participants given 10-milligram silicon supplements daily showed significant improvement in their hair. One beer a day covers the amount of silicon in the study.

Photo: Shutterstock

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2019 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.