In her best-seller The Beauty Diet, Beauty nutritionist Lisa Drayer prepared a shopping list of 10 basic foods that she says will not only make you look and feel better, but will also help you slim down too.
Before you go running for the comfort of your pantry and fridge, check this out -- the top 10 beauty foods include yummy picks like wild salmon, blueberries, tomatoes and dark chocolate... yes, chocolate!
Also on The Beauty Diet's short list of nutrient-rich foods that are as good for your hair, skin and teeth as they are for your diet: low-fat yogurt, oysters, kiwifruit, sweet potatoes, spinach and walnuts.
Now that's what I call superfoods you can really sink your teeth into!
Drayer's prescription for greater natural beauty and less-stressful weight loss is super simple: Eat at least one of these 10 foods with every meal or snack -- and stick to a total of 1,500 calories a day.
"You are at your most radiantly beautiful when you feel good. Looking good can help you feel good. But feeling good always makes you look good!" Drayer tells Diet.com.
"The Top 10 Beauty Foods are packed with the powerful nutrients and micronutrients your body needs to keep your cells refreshed and in good repair.
"These foods give your body the materials it needs to keep you healthy, radiant, vibrant and young -- so you have delicate, soft skin, thick, shiny hair, long, smooth fingernails, clear, bright eyes, and a brilliant, gleaming smile."
Drayer On The Top 10 Beauty Foods
1. Wild Salmon
I picked salmon for my Top 10 list because it is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, those beneficial fats that enhance our health and appearance by fighting inflammation, keeping our cells supple, improving circulation, and helping our brains function optimally.
Salmon is a beauty food because its nutrients play a key role in keeping the skin's outer layer soft and smooth. The omega-3s in salmon reduce inflammation on the cellular level that can cause redness, wrinkles, and loss of firmness.
Salmon is a great food choice because it tastes delicious and has all these health and beauty benefits. Salmon is generally available and affordable, and it can be prepared in myriad different ways.
You may prefer salmon fillet or salmon steak, fresh salmon or canned. You may opt for your salmon raw in sushi, smoked on a bagel, broiled as a burger, baked in the oven, or thrown on the grill.
2. Low-Fat Yogurt
I've included low-fat yogurt in my Top 10 Beauty Foods because it is a terrific source of calcium, which is especially helpful if you want strong bones, beautiful nails, good posture, and a beautiful smile.
One cup of plain, low-fat yogurt supplies about 450 milligrams of calcium. That's more than the amount of calcium in a cup of fat-free milk, and it supplies close to half of your daily calcium needs. The beauty benefits of yogurt are not limited its calcium content, though. Eight ounces of yogurt has two grams of zinc, which is beneficial for your skin.
At about 150 calories per cup, plain low-fat yogurt is a slimming treat. Try to stay away from commercial brands of yogurt that have lots of fruit and sugar added. An eight-ounce fruit-flavored yogurt may contain 28 grams of sugar (equal to seven teaspoons)! Excess sugar contributes calories and can harm the natural suppleness of your skin.
The expression "the world is your oyster" suggests that oysters have a world of benefits tucked inside their shell. These little gifts from the sea are on my Top 10 list because they are the best whole-food source of zinc.
People often think of oysters as an aphrodisiac, but the high zinc content of oysters is a great beauty benefit as this mineral is a major player in skin renewal and repair. It helps create collagen, which provides the structural support in skin.
Oysters can be cooked in a wide variety of ways, such as Oysters Primavera, Broiled Oysters Florentine with Mixed Greens, and Poached Oysters in Garlic, Herbs, and Broth with Mixed Greens and Whole Wheat Baguette. Of course, many people enjoy oysters best served raw on the half shell.
If you are pregnant, I do not recommend eating raw oysters or any other undercooked food.
With their bright flavor and unmistakable blue hue, blueberries seem to be trying to catch our attention. Today the humble blueberry is experiencing a new level of popularity, not because it has a significant amount of any one vitamin or mineral but because of its unusual antioxidant profile.
Researchers at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, ranked blueberries number one in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 common fresh fruits and vegetables. Blueberries contain many plant compounds that combine to make this sweet fruit an antioxidant superstar.
I included blueberries in my Top 10 Beauty Foods because their antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory effects protect you from premature aging.
Blueberries keep us looking young, provide us with dietary fiber, and help protect us from cancer, eye problems, and age-related diseases. At eighty calories a cup, this slimming fruit has so many health benefits you'll want to be sure to add it to your diet.
Kiwifruit offers a rich nutritional reward in a small, delicious package. Inside of this small, brown, fuzzy fruit -- about the size and shape of a very large egg -- you'll find semi-translucent green flesh and small black seeds around a white center.
Kiwifruit has a unique sweet flavor something like a combination of strawberries, pineapples and bananas. I've included kiwifruit among the Top 10 Beauty Foods because it offers more than just a tropical touch for your fruit salad: it has an unusually abundant amount of vitamin C and other anti-aging antioxidants.
Kiwifruit offers beauty benefits from stimulating collagen synthesis (vital to lovely skin) to maintaining healthy bones and teeth to protecting against wrinkles and premature aging. Because kiwis are antioxidant all-stars, they can help neutralize free radicals, which otherwise can cause damage to cells that could lead to inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.
Kiwi is a slimming fruit. Two medium kiwis have only 92 calories.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are on my list of Top 10 Beauty Foods because of their big boost of beauty-enhancing beta-carotene, a fat-soluble pigment found in many orange vegetables and fruits.
It is a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells by destroying the free radicals that can damage cells (including skin cells) and cause age-related disorders. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which helps keep your skin smooth, so incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet can help you achieve wrinkle-free skin.
Beta-carotene also may protect skin from the damage caused by sun exposure. One cup of cubed sweet potato contains a stunning 14,260 micrograms of beta-carotene.
For a modest 115-calorie investment, you get a huge nutritional return.
Spinach is a versatile, affordable, readily available, low-calorie leafy green vegetable that is loaded with beauty-enhancing nutrients. I included it in my Top 10 Beauty Foods because of its exceptional lutein content, which keeps our eyes healthy and bright.
Spinach also contains a significant amount of beta-carotene, as well as vitamin C, several B vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, dietary fiber, and even omega-3 fatty acids, making it a wonderfully nutrient-dense vegetable.
I added tomatoes to my list of Top 10 Beauty Foods because they provide the greatest amount of the anti-aging antioxidant lycopene, the bright red carotenoid pigment that gives tomatoes, watermelons, and pink grapefruit their distinctive color.
Tomatoes are one food I encourage you to enjoy processed. The lycopene in tomatoes is actually more easily absorbed by the body after it is processed into juice, sauce, ketchup, or canned tomato puree. Ounce for ounce, the greatest source is canned tomato paste. It's a great staple to keep in your pantry to add to soups or stews for an antioxidant boost.
Lycopene is a powerful anti-aging antioxidant thought to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids. Because of its antioxidant effects, lycopene may help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, macular degeneration, and possibly other diseases, such as diabetes and osteoporosis.
It seems like nature decided to put a powerful combination of anti-aging antioxidants into the beautiful and tasty package we call the tomato. You'll think of a hundred ways to add tomatoes to your diet, from putting a thick, vine-ripened slice on your veggie burger to adding canned tomatoes to your favorite chili recipe.
Smooth skin tone, healthy hair, vibrant eyes, and strong bones can all be attributed to the dominant nutrients found in walnuts.
I've included walnuts among my Top 10 Beauty Foods because they are the only type of nut that contains a significant amount of beauty-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids, plus they also provide vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect cells from free-radical damage and is associated with beautiful skin.
Many people are cautious about eating nuts, but research supports eating a small number of walnuts throughout your day. In fact, research has revealed that eating just four walnuts a day for three weeks significantly increases blood levels not only of alpha-linolenic acid, the essential omega-3 fatty acid, but also of its longer chain derivative, eicosapentaenoic acid.
Walnuts are a fantastic way to add nutrients, taste, and crunch to your diet. You can eat them by themselves or throw a handful into your cereal, salad, or stir-fry.
10. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate may be described as "sinfully delicious," but in fact it is a heavenly food with many virtues. I've included dark chocolate on my list of Top 10 Beauty Foods because it is a treat for your skin as well as your taste buds.
Scientific articles published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other journals reveal that dark chocolate contains as many polyphenols as red wine and has potent antioxidant, anti-aging properties.
Chocolate contains many natural chemicals, including the beneficial flavonoids epicatechin and gallic acid, which are plant compounds that possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants rid the body of free radicals, prevent the cell damage caused by free radicals, and help protect your appearance from the signs of aging.
Talk about beauty benefits from this delicious treat: a study that involved drinking cocoa (imagine!) showed an increase in blood flow to skin tissue, with improved skin hydration and reduced roughness and scaling among the female study participants.
So will revamping a diet to include the Top 10 Beauty Foods allow a woman to stop wearing makeup?
"I'm not telling women to toss their ... Continue
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