Get Adventurous with Beauty Foods

Bee-pollen-closeup

Bee-pollen-closeup

Eek! What's that scary looking spoonful, above?

It's bee pollen—a complete protein source, with 22 amino acids that are key for gorgeous skin, hair and nails.

If you haven't tried it, you're missing out on major beauty nutrition.

When it comes to adventure, I have very calculated boundaries. I’ve been skydiving, but you’d never catch me in a helicopter. I have a motorcycle license, but driving a little too fast on Interstate 95 freaks me out, even on four wheels. Although my risk-taking has definite limits, the experience of trying something new always brings me satisfaction. And in the case of your taste buds, venturing into uncharted beauty food territory does more than just satisfy—it offers some very visible rewards. This year, to borrow words from Eleanor Roosevelt, I challenge you to eat one new thing that scares you. You may just feel (and look) better for it in the days and months to come.

As you welcome 2013, take a novel approach to your New Year’s resolutions. Remove the emphasis on abstaining, fasting and reducing, and instead add one powerful beauty food to your diet. Not just any beauty food—branch out to one of the foods that’s a little adventurous or unfamiliar. Take a step out of your culinary comfort zone. You might otherwise be missing out on some of the most nutrient-dense beauty foods out there. Taking a little risk is the only way you’ll taste and see for sure.

Below are five ways to broaden your beauty food horizons this year. Try one, or all, and discover your own new ways to cook, smell and taste your way to a prettier 2013:

1. Get Serious about Turmeric. You’ve heard plenty of news about the amazing health benefits of turmeric, and chances are you even have some in your spice cabinet. If it’s more than a year old, toss it and buy a new jar to make sure it’s still loaded with anti-inflammatory, anti-aging benefits. Now, use it.  Start experimenting with turmeric at every meal, not only in Indian dishes. A dash in your scrambled eggs, a few shakes on roasted winter squash, maybe even a teaspoon in your morning smoothie. Beauty bonus: combine it with black pepper for exponentially greater antioxidant benefits.

2. Get a Daily Dose of Cultured Veggies. When was the last time you ate kimchi? Or sauerkraut? Making room for cultured veggies (just a few bites every day) can transform the health of your digestive system with healthy probiotic bacteria. You’ll improve your assimilation of nutrients and your elimination of waste, easing the burden on your skin. Bonus: make your own at home to save major dough!

3. Spoon Out Some Bee Pollen.  These tiny granules may seem like an odd choice for your pantry, but they’re full of concentrated nutrition that you definitely want in your diet. Bee pollen is a complete protein source, with 22 amino acids that are key for gorgeous skin, hair and nails. Sprinkle some on your salads, smoothies and cereals, or eat it one spoonful at a time, as shown above. Note: if you’re allergic to pollen or bee stings, don’t try this one.

4. Drink from a Young Coconut.  You may already know your Zico from your Vita Coco, but if someone handed you a young coconut you’d have no idea where to stick the straw. Time to try coconut water from the source. Once you taste the water and meat of a young coconut, bottled coconut water pales in comparison. Find young coconuts in your local grocery store or specialty food store (Asian grocers usually stock them) and watch a quick YouTube video on opening one for the first time. Before long, you’ll be sipping pure tropical bliss, with a major dose of potassium and beauty minerals.

5. Cook with Sea Vegetables.  If the only seaweed you’ve tried was wrapped around sticky rice, it’s time to branch out. Nori, the seaweed you’ll find in your sushi rolls, is loaded with omega 3s and minerals, but lesser-known kelp, kombu and dulse all contain major doses of beauty minerals as well, including iodine which is valuable for healthy thyroid function. Warm up to seaweed by sprinkling kelp flakes on your salads and cooking a 1” piece of kombu with your grains and beans for extra beauty nutrition.