January begins with such good intentions. But even if your detox plans went downhill after week one, glossy hair, glowing skin and healthy nails are all still within your reach – at any time of year.
As the old adage goes, true beauty comes from within – and a good place to start is with the contents of your fridge.
Beauty benefits are all things you can glean from cuisine.
Humble watercress recently rivalled expensive potions when, after just four weeks of adding a bag a day to their diet, 10 out of 11 females experienced visible improvements to their skin, according to a Watercress Alliance study.
It’s not rocket science. Pack your diet with vitamin and mineral-rich goodness and you’ll reap the beauty benefits.
Over one third (70 per cent) of Brits opt for a natural approach to their daily beauty routine, a survey commissioned by Tropicana revealed.
‘There’s a growing body of evidence that shows the look and feel of our skin may be influenced by what we eat,’ says Amanda Ursell, Tropicana nutritionist.
‘Specific nutrients found in your diet have a major part to play in ensuring clear skin, bright eyes and glossy hair.’
Sadly, there’s no quick-fix approach. One sup of a super-green smoothie won’t immediately transform you into a supermodel – it can take at least three weeks of steady healthy eating before you notice any subtle improvements in the mirror.
The best way to kick start your day is with a cup of green tea to rev up your metabolism and get your skin glowing.
‘Drinking green tea has many beauty benefits,’ says Simple nutritionist, Fiona Hunter.
‘A natural antioxidant, green tea comes from the same plant as other teas but it is not fermented, so retains more nutrients and has been shown to have twice as much antioxidant power as vitamin E.
‘Green tea can help when it comes to skin, protecting it from external environmental influences and helping fight signs of premature ageing.’
Eggs are the breakfast food to indulge in for gorgeous, glossy locks. They’re rich in biotin, which is essential for cell growth, and vitamin B-12 for strengthening locks and maintaining a healthy scalp.
Finish with a glass of fresh orange juice. It’s packed with vitamin C which is crucial for producing collagen – the protein that helps keep skin looking fresh and youthful
For lunch whip up a skin-friendly super salad. Ingredients rich in lutein can work especially well if you’re a sun-seeker.
Ursell explains: ‘Lutein belongs to the carotenoid family of antioxidants and has been linked to reducing sun-induced skin damage.’
Spinach and red peppers are both good sources. Add some hearty chunks of sweet potato for an extra fix of Vitamin E.
Forget ice cream and try a small scoop of coconut oil for afters. ‘We get a lot of enquiries about whether our Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is for eating or for beauty – and the answer is both,’ says Dr Organic spokesperson Michael Lightowlers.
For dinner you can’t beat oily fish for enviable skin and hair. The fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel and sardines can help give you a post-facial-like glow.
If Christmas leftovers and curries haven’t put you off, turkey is also a healthy dinner alternative.
Hunter says: ‘A 100g serving contains nearly 75 per cent of an adult’s Recommend Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein. It’s also low in fat and rich in zinc and selenium – an antioxidant that benefits the skin and immune system.’
For sides, try carrots. They are rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A and is essential for the manufacture of new skin cells.
Chocoholics don’t have to deny themselves completely. Just stick to the dark stuff, rather than white or milk chocolate.
Good quality dark chocolate, with high cocoa contents, contains a group of phytochemicals called flavonols that can help protect the skin against free radical damage, which is known to cause wrinkles.