mhn news & blog

June 19, 2012

8 Super Foods for Hair,Skin and Nails

The Who’s Who of Hair, Skin, and Nails Super Foods

ALMONDS are available all year long but in midsummer are the most fresh. Did you know the almond is not really a nut? It is actually in the category of peach, apricot, and cherry pits. Almonds are seeds of the fruit produced by almond trees. Like apple, plum, and other fruit trees, the almond tree bears gorgeous white and pink blossoms.

BLUEBERRIES and STRAWBERRIES are loaded with vitamin C. Blueberries, though small, are also filled with antioxidants. (Antioxidants prevent damage to body tissue.) They are one of the most fun fruits to eat because they turn our tongues, lips, and fingertips a zombie shade of blue.

The fruit part of the strawberry is not the plump and juicy red thing we love to dip in chocolate. The little seeds on the outside are technically the fruit. The sweet, fleshy part we eat is actually the enlarged tip of a strawberry plant stem in flower. It’s a scrumptious receptacle for stamens, petals, and other strawberry plant parts.

GREEN TEA is not processed like other teas and this is why it has mega-medicinal properties. The leaves are steamed which prevents its healthy chemical compound EGCG from oxidizing (being chemically changed by contact with oxygen). In teas made from fermented leaves, the EGCG is oxidized into less effective disease preventing compounds.

KALE is the nickname for borecole. Though it looks as if it should be a ruffle on a blouse, kale is a powerful cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous veggies are part of the Brassica family, as are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and many cabbages. Kale is crammed with phytochemicals (nutritious plant chemicals) such as beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and quercetin.

OATMEAL is on many super-foods-for-nails lists because it provides the body with zinc, but it is excellent for all around health as well. You would think a bland tasting food would have bland nutrients, but oatmeal is a protein, vitamin, and mineral wonder cereal. Fortunately, it can be prepared in hundreds of fruity, spicy ways.

QUINOA (keen-wah) was called “mother grain” by the Incas in South America. Being the seed of the Goosefoot plant, it is not hard to imagine the shape of Goosefoot leaves. Though quinoa is not a grain, it is used as a rice and grain substitute. It does not contain gluten. There are three edible kinds of quinoa named after their color, white (pale), red and black.

WILD SALMON is swimming with nutritious things such as fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin D. Many people that do not like eating fish will eat salmon; it has a flavor all its own. Salmon is also convenient since you can purchase it fresh, smoked, frozen, and canned. For those of you who cannot get passed eating something that is pinky-orange and swims upstream, flax seeds provide plenty of fatty acids.

TOMATOES are on almost every super food list for beautiful skin and hair. They are good for the dermas when ingested or used topically as part of a facial. The red color of tomatoes comes from an abundance of the antioxidant lycopene. Did you know tomatoes were cultivated first by the Peruvians, and then were brought to Mexico? Now it’s hard to find where tomatoes are not.

Tomato Facial: cut a tomato in half and rub it all over your face. Easy! Let the juice remain on your face for about five minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.

Runners up for this who’s who of super foods list were the avocado, sweet potato, spinach, beans (especially kidney and lentil), and eggs. Admittedly, these runners up foods were more often mentioned on websites than quinoa, but since some people don’t know of quinoa, it made the cut (editor’s choice).