Double-Duty Foods: Beauty and Better Health in the Same Bite

How great would it be if the foods you ate made you look incredible and improved your health? No need to pinch yourself. It's no fantastical dream. You can actually plan your diet for beauty and better health. Before you turn up your nose, you should know that this miracle diet isn't one of flavorless deprivation. You may already be eating some of the foods that are naturally engineered to keep you looking and feeling great. Who knows? Some of them may even be your favorites.

Feed Your Skin

When Momma said, "You are what you eat," she was right on target. Colette Bouchez's article on skin health for Web MD confirms that the foods you eat become the cells that make up your body, including your skin. For example, selenium found in tuna, turkey, brazil nuts, whole wheat breads and cereals helps build healthy skin cells. Washing any or all of those down with a cup of green tea will protect the cells, as do the anti-oxidants found in tasty berries such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Also, essential fatty acids and healthy oils found in canola oil, flax seed, salmon and walnuts help your skin cells hold in water for firmer skin that looks younger.

Nourish Your Eyes

One feature that enhances attractiveness is clear, bright eyes. Maintaining your eye health is also essential for maintaining their physical appeal. Wrinkles and redness result from squinting and straining your eyes when you're having a hard time seeing. Take some advice from Courtney Chapman of Holistic Ebony. Help keep your eyes healthy by eating eggs and avocados for lutein, and green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and Swiss chard for protection against macular degeneration. Don't forget soy in all forms for isoflavones to discourage cataracts. Salmon, walnuts and berries make the list, too, and are multitaskers for healthy skin as well as healthy eyes. Don't forsake regular check-ups with your eye-doc just because you're eating the good stuff. If you find that vision assistance is necessary, talk to your doctor about the choices for healthy lenses, such as the Air Optix brand that allow oxygen in to nourish your eye while giving you crystal-clear vision.

Cultivate Thick, Lustrous Hair

At the top of the list of diet-do's for your hair is protein, according to Brittany Risher's article for Men's Health. Your hair is mostly made of the stuff, so getting healthy sources of protein in your diet from low-fat dairy products, eggs, and lean meat will keep the color vibrant and protect against brittleness and breakage. If thinning hair is an issue, it could be due to insufficient iron levels. Dried beans, whole grains and lean red meat are excellent sources of iron, and could help re-grow hair if you have a deficiency. If it's a hormone issue that's causing you to shed like a Persian cat, you could benefit from getting more zinc from foods such as almonds, beef and oysters. Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful for keeping your hair hydrated and preventing dullness. Get your daily ration of omegas from flaxseed, walnuts, and cold water fish such as salmon and mackerel.

Something to Chew On

Brushing and flossing are good practices to have, but the right foods can also enhance your pearly whites. Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese are good for your teeth on multiple levels. Not only are they high in tooth-friendly calcium, but they're also low in tooth-threatening acid and sugar. Plus, cheese and yogurt contain phosphates, protein and calcium that fortify and re-mineralize the surfaces of your teeth. Gnawing on most raw veggies causes your mouth to produce saliva for washing away bacteria, but the Huffington Post spotlights celery as a superstar, singling it out for the fibrous strands it contains, which act as natural dental floss.