Health

Eat yourself pretty

Food fixes for your stubborn skin ailments

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If you’re not seeing results from drugstore skin remedies it may be time to refocus your attention on what you put in your body, rather than what you put on it. Here four registered dietitians and nutritionists discuss the foods that can give you a natural beauty boost and how you can incorporate them into your diet.

Dry skin

Food fix: Salmon
Why it works: Your skin is protected by a lipid (fat) layer, says Victoria-based dietitian Anneke Vink. “Without it, water can leach out.” By feeding your body fatty fish, you can maintain this layer and keep your skin moist. As an added benefit, Omega-3s can also prevent inflammation, which causes redness.
Serving size: 3 oz, at least 2 servings per week
How to work it into your diet: Try our roasted curried salmon with lime avocado or incorporate other sources of Omega-3s into your diet, suggests Vink, like flax seed oil, oatmeal, and fortified eggs.

Dark circles

Food fix: Clams
Why it works: Clams are an unparalleled source of iron, and those circles are one of the first signs of an iron deficiency. With 25 mg per serving, you’ll get about eight times the amount you would with beef or shrimp, which are also considered good sources. Iron will help transfer oxygen through your blood, and bring colour back to that thin patch of skin beneath your eyes, Vink says.
Serving size: 3 oz, at least two servings per week
How to work it into your diet: You need two servings of meat a day, though one clam portion offers more than enough iron. Eat it with vitamin C to ensure that the iron absorbs, Vink advises. Avoid salt, which can cause puffiness, and keep hydrated. Try our Boston clam chowder.

Brittle nails

Food fix: Yogurt (preferably fortified with Vitamin D)
Why it works: Yogurt is a premium source of calcium – your personal body-builder for strong nails. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your body steals it from your bones, Vink warns. Vitamin D absorbs calcium, ensuring that doesn’t happen.
Serving size: ¾ cup plus one other dairy serving per day
How to work it into your diet: If you don’t have fortified yogurt, you can accompany the plain variety with tuna or eggs for vitamin D. Try our creamy saffron yogurt recipe.

Wrinkles

Food fix: Romaine lettuce
Why it works: Simona Stepancic, a holistic nutritionist, calls romaine an “incredibly underrated lettuce.” It contains silica and sulfur, which she claims are key to avoiding signs of aging. Silica is a mineral found in your connective tissue, and it diminishes as you age. It’s also a precursor of collagen, which makes your skin firm. Sulfur works with this mineral to provide elastin to keep skin flexible, and heal body tissues.
Serving size: 1 cup, up to 7 servings per day
How to work it into your diet: Other sources of silica include cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Mix them up and get your seven to eight servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Try our Asian Caesar steak salad.

Acne

Food fix: Baked beans
Why it works: Beans are a source of zinc, which helps your body detoxify. “Skin is your largest external organ, and it’s one of the places that toxins are released,” says holistic nutritionist Aviva Allen. “If you have an overload in your system, you might see acne or eczema.” Zinc is also your ally for glowing skin; dietitian Natalie Brown says that without it, your skin will not regenerate, leaving you with a dull complexion.
Serving size: ¾ cup plus one other meat product per day
How to work it into your diet: Try our Mediterranean tomato and bean salad.
This recipe provides dual assistance: Vitamin A (found in tomatoes) is a natural exfoliator, says Brown, and can also help to clear your skin.

Cracked lips

Food fix: Milk
Why it works: Dairy foods are rich in riboflavin, a water-soluble B vitamin that’s easily depleted. (Stress, smoking and birth control are just a few B-vitamin predators, says Allen.) If you don’t refuel your body, you’ll end up with cracks in the corners of your mouth.
Serving size: 1 cup plus one other dairy serving per day
How to work it into your diet: Try this spinach ‘n’ feta quiche. Not only does it contain two milk products, but spinach is another source of riboflavin. Vink suggests you also work externally: Apply an outside source of oil on the lips, since they lack a lipid layer.