Don't you love finding beauty in the most unlikely of places?
Sometimes beauty lies in the most unlikely of places: in a messy, bed-head hairdo, a smoky smear of eye makeup, or the flush in your cheeks after a hard workout. Beauty isn’t perfection; sometimes it’s even more compelling when it’s unconventional. Along those same lines, I’ve found that some of the foods that make us look and feel our most beautiful are, well, … downright ugly, stinky and pungent. Not all of nature’s beauty foods are as pretty and sweet as raspberries and pomegranates. Check out my list of the seven unlikeliest foods that make your skin, nails and hair quite beautiful. I try to eat them as regularly as possible- and make sure to brush twice afterward!
- Seaweed: Seaweed, like dulse, nori or kelp, is an incredibly concentrated source of nutrition, especially minerals like iron, manganese, iodine, copper, zinc and selenium that are important for beauty. Both zinc and iron are strong hair essentials, while manganese is critical for strong bones and connective tissue. And the iodine in seaweed is processed by the thyroid gland to become thyroid hormone, which stimulates energy production and growth of hair & nails. (Read more about my favorite sources here)
- Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast may be an acquired taste, but knowing that it's packed with skin-strengthening B-complex vitamins, 18 amino acids and an impressive lineup of minerals sure helps in learning to love it. Nutritional yeast is also a complete protein. Sprinkle some over air-popped popcorn for a savory snack that’s great for your skin.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar can help your digestion by stimulating stomach acids, promoting the healthy growth of intestinal flora and balancing pH. It's a skin food that many swear by for good digestion. If you're not ready to drink a spoonful straight from the bottle (or diluted in a cup of water), sprinkle it over your salads in place of vinaigrette.
- Sardines: They may smell less-than-lovely, but sardines are beauty foods all the way. They’re among the group of oily, cold water fish that is well known for high omega 3 content, and anti-inflammatory benefits, making them a must for healthy, supple, clear skin. Sardines are also packed with calcium and vitamin D for strong bones (quite beautiful, no?). If you're squeamish about eating these little fishes, buy the boneless, skinless variety. Spread a little on a cracker or a bed of greens with a squeeze of lemon on top.
- Cabbage: This cruciferous veggie is packed with anti-aging phytonutrients and the antioxidant sulforaphane, which helps the body manufacture another powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound called glutathione. The pungent smell of cabbage is actually reflective of its benefits: cabbage is rich in sulfur, a true beauty nutrient that fights infections, cleanses the liver and strengthens hair, skin and nails.
- Garlic: The antibiotic, antifungal compound called allicin that is found in crushed or chopped garlic helps give it its blood-purifying, immune-strengthening properties. Garlic is great for circulation, and also contains sulfur for healthy skin and hair. Garlic is best eaten fresh, when its antioxidant benefits are highest. Blend a few cloves into your own homemade hummus or guacamole to get the most nutrition from fresh, raw garlic.
- Sauerkraut: More than a hot dog topper, sauerkraut is a digestive powerhouse, thanks to the abundance of good bacteria (called lactobacilli) produced during its fermentation. This healthy bacteria encourages the production of digestive enzymes, to keep your belly happy and your digestion running smoothly, which reflects in calm, glowing skin.