We all know that maintaining a nutritious diet is important for our overall health. And although the 36 million Americans who practice yoga report that this activity can do wonders for both their mental state and their overall physique, there’s really no substitute for balanced eating.
Of course, changing up the foods you eat can allow you to lose some weight or have more energy throughout the day. But did you know that many of the items in your fridge or pantry can also improve the health and look of your skin, hair, and teeth? Let’s explore the positive effects of what you mind find in your kitchen.
For a Brighter Smile…
You’ll want to steer clear of the wine, but you can keep the cheese. Dairy products, like yogurt and various kinds of cheeses, can strengthen your tooth enamel with ample amounts of calcium and protein. (Almonds are great for this reason, too!) Cheese has also been found to increase the mouth’s pH and lower the risk of tooth decay, while yogurt contains so much good bacteria that it can cancel out any bad bacteria in the mouth that might cause cavities. Although fluoride varnish treatments you can get from your dentist prevent nearly 33% of dental caries in primary teeth, this is a much more delicious way to avoid needing a filling.
Although the coconut oil pulling trend has died down a bit, it’s helpful to know that virgin coconut oil does have antibacterial properties that can improve the health of your gums and teeth. Onion and garlic, which release compounds that reduce bacteria when they’re consumed raw, can also improve the health of your teeth. Fruits and veggies like carrots, celery, apples, and broccoli can essentially clean away bacteria and food particles; they’ll also increase the amount of saliva in your mouth, which can reduce your cavity risk. Leafy greens are also a smart choice, as they contain both calcium and folic acid (which has been shown to help pregnant women stave off gum disease).
Although you may love your morning cup(s) of coffee, spicy curry dishes, or pasta with marinara sauce, you should enjoy these foods in moderation. Sadly, they can stain your teeth and even erode your enamel.
For Glowing Skin…
Considering how obsessed our society is with youth and beauty, maintaining supple and glowing skin is a must. But doing that is about much more than finding the right cleanser or moisturizer. You can also make changes in your diet — or use pantry items as an alternative to expensive toiletries!
Because apple cider vinegar can reduce inflammation and balance out gut bacteria, it’s thought to improve certain skin issues like eczema and acne. Blueberries can purportedly slow down the signs of aging, thanks to the antioxidants they contain. Strawberries and red bell peppers help to produce collagen, which can smooth fine lines and keep skin taut. Carrots have also been shown to protect skin and fight off wrinkles. Interestingly, low zinc levels have been linked to acne development in some patients, so skin experts may recommend that you eat some oysters from time to time. Garlic can also help to prevent breakouts, while green and dandelion teas can keep the skin clear. And don’t forget the whole grains, which are rich in selenium (an ingredient that can reduce inflammation, pigmentation, and UV-related cell damage). Of course, water is probably the best thing for your skin, as proper hydration is essential for clear and glowy skin.
And if you want to do some pampering without going to the beauty counter? Break out the honey, coconut oil, turmeric, baking soda, yogurt, or olive oil. You can use some of these ingredients alone on the face as a mask or as a spot treatment, but you can also combine different ingredients for an at-home spa experience. You’ll want to steer clear of citrus fruits, spices, and any ingredients to which you might have a sensitivity. To be on the safe side, you may want to apply just a little bit on your arm or your neck before going full-throttle with your all-natural facial.
For Shiny Hair…
Many people think they need products direct from the salon to achieve that everyday blowout look — so if yours have been among the 46% of Google searches looking for local services that can help you, you probably aren’t alone. But there are a number of foods you can eat to make your hair both luscious and long.
Eggs can promote hair growth due to the protein and biotin they contain, while spinach, berries, sweet potatoes, avocados, and nuts have also been linked to healthy hair growth. Fatty fish, like salmon, and shrimp may also help your hair look full and shiny. Guava can reportedly reduce breakage, while iron-fortified cereals and even meat can repair hair follicles and prevent hair loss. Lean poultry may make your hair thicker, while spices like cinnamon can actually improve circulation and bring nutrients to your hair follicles.
In the end, you’ll see that many of these foods pull double (or even triple) duty! By adding many of them into your regular diet, you’ll likely feel more energized and healthier overall while improving the appeal of your teeth, skin, and hair for the long haul. Happy eating!