Although it’s taken what feels like forever, spring is finally making an appearance here in Ontario (and I hope the same can be said for where you live as well). With some warmth in the air, it’s time to let down our hair and show a little skin.
So how can we make the transition from the cold and dry months to spring-ready quickly? I’m a firm believer that internal health is the key to outer radiance, so make sure to include the following beautifying nutrients in your daily routine for perfectly hydrated skin and hair you’ll be excited to show off.
1. Vitamin C is the key nutrient in collagen formation. Collagen is a protein that aids in cell growth, giving skin and hair its strength, firmness and elasticity. It also helps skin repair itself so be sure to reach for bell peppers, grapefruit, berries and leafy greens.
2. Omega-3s — an essential fatty acid — are anti-inflammatory and help repair damaged skin cells. They also protect cell membranes and improve skin elasticity. They block the release of enzymes that eat away at collagen, protecting your skin from the effects of wrinkles and sagging skin. Omega-3s also contribute to shinier, less brittle hair and even promote hair growth. Look for omega-3s in salmon, walnuts, hemp seeds and chia seeds.
3. Beta-carotene is a strong antioxidant and a precursor to vitamin A, which makes it great for preventing wrinkles and protecting against sun and pollution exposure. This powerful nutrient, which can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and leafy greens, can also prevent and even reverse thinning hair.
4. Chlorophyll is necessary to oxygenate your skin and cleanse the body of impurities. Toxic build up can cause dry skin, rashes and blemishes so detoxifying your body is necessary for beautiful clear skin. Chlorophyll is also stimulating to healthy hair growth so be sure to eat lots of leafy greens or try a shot of wheatgrass. Spirulina, an algae that can be added to smoothies or juices, is also a great source of chlorphyll.
5. B vitamins are very important for hair and skin health as they deliver oxygen and nutrients to all cells. A b-vitamin-deficiency can cause dry, brittle hair as well as dry and dull skin. Look for it in avocados, oats, Brazil nuts, lentils and bananas.
6. Zinc is an extremely healing and anti-inflammatory mineral that can help treat acne and problem skin. Its ability to accelerate cell renewal contributes to healthy hair growth and youthful-looking skin. Reach for pumpkin seeds, raw cacao, oysters and sesame seeds to ensure you’re getting enough each day.
7. Water! This is the most important step of all. If you’re dehydrated your skin and hair will reflect it. Drink lots of filtered water and flavour with lemon, cucumber and fresh herbs for added detoxification and nutrition.
Here is a supercharged green beauty smoothie that combines all the best nutrients into a refreshing drink! As a disclaimer I must say that not every “green” drink ends up being green in colour at the end. This smoothie is more like a chocolate milkshake and perfect for all those kale and spinach skeptics out there. I swear you wont even taste it!
The not-so-green beautifying smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 cups tightly packed greens (I used 1 cup kale and 1 cup spinach)
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
3 cups coconut water
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend! Garnish with shredded raw coconut and berries. If you’re looking for more sweetness try adding a little bit of pure maple syrup to your taste.
Tara Miller is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist. Her educational background is from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition combined with a degree in psychology from the University of Guelph. This combination allows Tara to address the challenges individuals face when it comes to everyday healthy living. Tara is also the owner of the Health Hut Boutique in Muskoka where she offers effective and toxic-free beauty, household and specialty food items. You can follow her blog for holistic recipes and tips at taramillernutrition.com.