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The Nutrition Centre

Beauty Foods - How Diet Can Improve Appearance

The old adage, "you are what you eat," is getting a 21st century makeover.

Until recently, most dietary advice has focused on weight management and disease prevention. That focus is now expanding to specifically look at how what people eat can affect how they look.

New research is examining the role of key nutrients in preserving a youthful appearance.

Vitamins A, C and E, for example, are essential to healthy skin.

Vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene, helps block UV radiation. Carrots, spinach, butternut squash and cantaloupe are all great sources of this complexion-protecting nutrient.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are antioxidants that help encourage skin cell turnover and collagen formation. Broccoli, citrus fruits, red peppers and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C, while vitamin E is found in almonds, avocados and dark, leafy vegetables.

It's always best to choose food sources of such nutrients over supplements, which may not deliver the same benefits and can even increase disease risk, according to some studies.

Other alimentary advice to consider for people who want to put their best face forward:

  • Eat good fats like those found in seafood and walnuts to reduce the inflammation that may lead to wrinkles.

  • Avoid refined carbohydrates, which can cause insulin spikes and breakouts.

  • Drink plenty of water and keep alcohol to a minimum to make sure skin stays hydrated.

  • Strengthen nails by including biotin-rich foods in your diet (such as cooked eggs, soybeans and rice bran).

Looking great also means keeping body weight under control. Natural, whole foods like fruits and vegetables provide the foundation of a well-balanced diet. People will get more than just age-defying antioxidants. The high fibre and water content of such bulky, low-cal fare will keep hunger at bay.

Jennifer Grossman is director of the Dole Nutrition Institute.






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