Eat yourself beautiful

Eat yourself beautiful

Eat yourself beautiful

First published in Lifestyle

Your hair and skincare regime doesn't start and finish with cosmetics - raid the supermarket aisles for foods to prettify. Lisa Haynes shares her beauty diet plan.

By Lisa Haynes

January begins with such good intentions. But even if your detox plans went downhill after week one, glossy hair, glowing skin and healthy nails are all still within your reach - at any time of year.

As the old adage goes, true beauty comes from within - and a good place to start is with the contents of your fridge.

Glossy hair, glowing skin and healthy nails are all things you can glean from cuisine.

Humble watercress recently rivalled expensive potions when, after just four weeks of adding a bag a day to their diet, 10 out of 11 females experienced visible improvements to their skin, according to a Watercress Alliance study.

It's not rocket science. Pack your diet with vitamin and mineral-rich goodness and you'll reap the beauty benefits.

Over one third (70%) of Brits opt for a natural approach to their daily beauty routine, a survey commissioned by Tropicana revealed.

"There's a growing body of evidence that shows the look and feel of our skin may be influenced by what we eat," says Amanda Ursell, Tropicana nutritionist.

"Specific nutrients found in your diet have a major part to play in ensuring clear skin, bright eyes and glossy hair."

Sadly, there's no quick-fix approach. One sup of a super-green smoothie won't immediately transform you into a supermodel - it can take at least three weeks of steady healthy eating before you notice any subtle improvements in the mirror.

So stock up on these beautifying delicacies for gorge-eous results.

Breakfast Kick start your day with a cup of green tea to rev up your metabolism and get your skin glowing.

"Drinking green tea has many beauty benefits," says Simple nutritionist, Fiona Hunter. "A natural antioxidant, green tea comes from the same plant as other teas but it is not fermented, so retains more nutrients and has been shown to have twice as much antioxidant power as vitamin E.

"Green tea can help when it comes to skincare, protecting it from external environmental influences and therefore helping fight signs of premature ageing."

Eggs are the breakfast food to indulge in for gorgeous, glossy locks. They work wonders for hair inside and out; rich in biotin, which is essential for cell growth, and vitamin B-12 for strengthening locks and maintaining a healthy scalp.

Finish with a glass of fresh orange juice. It's packed with vitamin C which is crucial for producing collagen - the protein that helps keep skin looking fresh and youthful.

Lunch Whip up a skin-friendly super-salad for your afternoon meal. Ingredients rich in lutein can work especially well if you're a sun-seeker.

Ursell explains: "Lutein belongs to the carotenoid family of antioxidants and has been linked to reducing sun-induced skin damage and improving the elasticity of the skin."

Spinach (12mg in 100g) and red peppers (7mg in 100g) are both good sources. Add some hearty chunks of sweet potato for an extra fix of Vitamin E.

Forget ice cream and try a small scoop of coconut oil for afters. Jennifer Aniston was spotted toting the ingredient in her shopping basket. The plant oil promotes supple, deeply hydrated skin and it's versatile too...

"We get a lot of enquiries about whether our Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is for eating or for beauty - and the answer is both," says Dr Organic spokesperson Michael Lightowlers.

Dinner You can't beat oily fish for enviable skin and hair. The fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel and sardines can help give you a post-facial-like glow, keeping your skin plump and moisturised.

If Christmas leftovers and curries haven't put you off, turkey is also a healthy dinner alternative.

Hunter says: "A 100g serving contains nearly 75% of an adult's Recommend Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein. It's also low in fat and rich in zinc and selenium - an antioxidant that benefits the skin and immune system."

For sides, try carrots: "Rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A, this is essential for the manufacture of new skin cells," Hunter advises.

Chocoholics don't have to deny themselves completely for dessert. Just stick to the dark stuff, rather than white or milk choc. Good quality dark chocolate, with high cocoa contents, contains a group of phytochemicals called flavonols that can help protect the skin against free radical damage, known to cause wrinkles and anti-ageing.

Snacks Nibbling on nuts will help conquer hunger pangs between meals - and top-up your beauty regime too. Almonds are rich in Vitamin E and chewing a few a day can help improve skin texture and lessen after-meal surges in blood sugar levels. Hazelnuts are another good source.

Fruit also makes great beautifying snacks. Tangerines are a good source of lutein, while blueberries, strawberries and kiwis are packed with vitamin C to aid collagen production and keep capillaries healthy. And munching a few dried apricots, high in iron, will help improve skin tone.

Beauty shopping list Give the fruit and veg stalls a run for their money with your bathroom shelves. Stock up on these food-inspired beauties: :: The Body Shop's Vitamin C range improves skin tone and promotes a radiant glow, from £9-15 (www.thebodyshop.co.uk).

:: Dr Organic's Manuka Honey Face Mask offers a host of skin restoring and repairing properties, £7.19 (Holland & Barrett).

:: Korres's Watercress Ultra Nourishing and Moisturising Cream restores the balance of lipids and oils keeping skin super-hydrated, £19 (www.feelunique.com).

:: MyChelle's Incredible Pumpkin Peel rejuvenates and supports cellular renewal for fresher skin, £24.50 (www.mychelleuk.com).

:: Lush's H'suan Wen Hua is a treatment for tresses that features fresh free range eggs and soya lecithin for a super protein boost, £8.95 (www.lush.co.uk).

Tried & tested :: Lisa Haynes indulges in the ultimate relaxation with a duvet-enhanced massage...

My little sister is a napper. Every time she went missing at home she'd be found under the duvet catching 40 winks. I, on the other hand, am of the Margaret Thatcher school of sleep, snatching minimal hours a night. But with the opportunity to snooze AND beautify (perfect bedfellows), Darphin's new Daydream Ultra-Comfort Body Treatment sounds heavenly. Surrounded by candlelight, enchanting music, the treatment begins with me lying back on cosy, crisp white sheets as the therapist applies Orange Perfect Polish. I'm coaxed into over-relaxing almost immediately but leave the comfort of the treatment bed to shower off the fragrant scrub, revealing dreamy soft skin. The massage part is where things differ from the treatment norm... Encouraging a cocoon-like experience, I lie on my side, cradled up to a giant body-length pillow in the position I usually sleep in. As I'm usually curled into a ball, I unfurl a little so that the therapist can reach my skin. My therapist uses Nourishing and Firming Velvet Cream using repetitive, stretching strokes until the product is fully absorbed. Your body is a little more exposed than you would be lying under a sheet so it's not a dreamlike situation for prudish types, but the softly-spoken therapist really puts me at ease. The massage leaves my wintry skin feeling comforted and hydrated, and a softly-fragranced Nourishing Satin Oil is applied for a luxurious, silky final touch. As massages go, it's an innovative sensory experience that's sure to be every sleepy or stressed girl's dream. Just make sure you head for your own bed straight afterwards.

:: Darphin Ultra-Comfort Body Treatment, from £65 for 60 minutes. Available nationwide. For stockists call 0870 034 2566.

Buy it now For every recorded shark attack, humans have killed more than four million of the creatures. So sink your teeth into Chantecaille's Save the Sharks palette. Inspired by the ocean, the pretty fin-decorated eye and cheek palette includes four spring/summer colours, £75, with 5% of proceeds donated to marine conservation group, Bloom Association. Available at www.spacenk.co.uk from February 1.

Beauty bulletin :: Winning beauty The votes are in for 2013's Product of the Year survey revealing consumer demand for convenience. Kleenex scooped two beauty awards, one for its Facial Cleansing Wipes in the Facial Skincare and Beauty category, and another for the Eye Make-up Removal Wipes in Eye Skincare and Beauty. In the Moisturiser category, Nivea Q10 Firming Body Oil was most popular for pampering and firming skin at the same time. More than 10,000 consumers voted to determine the winners of the annual awards, advising fellow shoppers on the most innovative products on the shelves.

:: Recessionista alert Boost your make-up bag's beauty protection with New CID Cosmetics' Bodyguard kit. To celebrate being brand sponsor of the musical, the limited edition Bodyguard Collection includes three Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows and two Light-up Lip Glosses products, worth £74, for £35. Available at www.newcidcosmetics.com from February 1.

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