Foods to Eat Your Way to Beauty  

Stock your grocery cart with foods that make you beautiful both inside and out.

Beauty Foods
Photo: Getty

Could a trip to the supermarket double as a mini-beauty treatment? The answer is "yes" if you're stocking your cart with the right nutritious foods that can also sideline as nourishment for skin and hair. Talk about getting your money's worth!

So, whether you're a young 20-something, a mom on-the-ago (and what mom isn't?) or already through menopause, here's 5 types of foods that every woman should have on her grocery list.

Probiotics
Though it seems counterintuitive that bacteria can be good for you, certain strains of bacteria can enhance digestive wellness. Eliminating gas, bloating and other digestive discomforts might be just a spoonful away. Try yogurt and kefir (a cultured yogurt beverage), which also supply much-needed calcium and vitamin D. Some fermented, soft cheeses, miso soup and probiotic-enhanced dry cereal can also add to the bacteria count.
Beauty Science: With it's origin in Ayurvedic skincare, mix non-fat plain yogurt with rice flour for a wonderful, exfoliant facial wash or mask.

Omega-3's
These good omega-3 fatty acids are credited with reducing the inflammation commonly associated with heart disease. Ladies, take note that 39% of all female deaths in the US are from cardiovascular disease. So shop the seafood case for fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines, all rich in omega-3's. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts are great plant-based sources of these fats, too.
Beauty Science: Omega-3's contribute to cell membrane health which means skin cells can retain more moisture resulting in less dry, healthier, wrinkle-free skin.

Polyphenols
This particular group of antioxidants seems poised to also combat inflammation, a contributing factor to obesity, heart disease and cancer. Lucky for us, polyphenols are abundant in foods we love: berries, red wine, chocolate, and assorted teas.
Beauty Science: Several studies published in the Archives of Dermatology indicate that green and oolong teas may be useful for treating dermatitis and may also provide anti-carcinogenic benefits.

Fluids
Chances are you're not getting 11 cups of fluid, the daily amount recommended for women by the National Academy of Science. Proper hydration is key to keeping all metabolic functions operating smoothly, and this can be attained by both food and drink. High moisture produce, such as lettuces, greens and melons can contribute fluids while packing nutrients. Slurping soup, too, is a good way to reach your fluid quota.
Beauty Science: An interior well-hydrated body is reflected on the outside with more supple, healthy looking skin.

Luteins
Though reading glasses may be a necessity as you age, do what you can to hold off more serious eye problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Start by getting enough lutein (pronounced "lou-teen") in your diet, an antioxidant most readily available in eggs as well as green and yellow vegetables.
Beauty Science: Combine a beaten egg with sesame and coconut oil for a pre-shampoo treatment that helps repair damaged hair while it conditions.

By Donna Shields, R.D.
Apr, 2008
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