Eat yourself beautiful: How changing your diet could improve your looks

From flaky skin to spots and bags, what you eat makes a big difference to your skin and hair

Thinning hair?
Probably not eating enough…
Iron : “Research shows that women with thinning hair often have significantly lower stores of this vital mineral,” says nutritionist Linda Foster.
Which means you should tuck in to more lean red meat, lentils, dried apricots and leafy green veg – all great sources of iron.
Protein : Not getting enough protein can be another reason for thinning locks.
“Hair is made up of protein, so it’s important to increase your intake of meat, fish and eggs,” says hair and scalp expert Philip Kingsley.
● Cut down on Crash dieting. “A sudden drop in calories can make the growing phase of the hair cycle stop too soon, which can lead to hair loss,” warns Linda.
● Fix it food Spaghetti bolognese, made with half lean mince and a can of lentils.

Flaky skin?
Probably not eating enough…
Essential fats “To be in tiptop condition, skin requires fat, in particular the essential omega 3 and omega 6 fats,” says Linda. “Dry, itchy skin can be a sign you’re not getting enough.”
These nutrients are called ‘essential’ because the body can’t make them – you have to get them in your diet – and the very best way to boost your intake is to eat more nuts, seeds and oily fish.
Zinc “One of the clinical signs of zinc deficiency is dry, flaky skin,” says Linda. So eat more wholemeal bread, lean red meat, seafood, fortified cereals, baked beans, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
Cut down on Fast foods. “Processed food with lots of additives, such as colourings, can sometimes cause skin allergies and dryness in susceptible people,” says Linda. “Try keeping a food diary of what you eat and any worsening of symptoms to identify the causes.”
Fix it food Salmon cooked with almonds and served with a helping of steamed spinach.
You are what you eat: Put more greens in your diet

Mid-afternoon energy crash?
Probably not eating enough…
Protein This provides your body with long-lasting energy, avoiding blood sugar crashes, which can have a negative effect on your alertness. To get more protein, tuck in to lean meat, low-fat dairy products and nuts at lunchtime.
Food Skipping meals or having long gaps between them also causes blood sugar levels to drop, so try to ensure you eat something every two to three hours – even if it’s just a yoghurt.
Cut down on Late nights and coffee. The more tired you are, the more your body becomes desperate for calorie-laden snacks to give you a boost come 3pm.
Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night and avoid using coffee as a pick-me-up if you’ve had a late evening, as caffeine can make sugar cravings worse.
Fix it food Peanut butter on a slice of granary toast.

Dark circles under eyes?
Probably not eating enough…
Antioxidants These super nutrients help block some of the damage done to our skin by rogue molecules known as free radicals. A diet that lacks the antioxidants vitamin C, E and betacarotene can worsen dark circles and eye puffiness. Tuck into leafy green vegetables, fruit and nuts to tackle it.
Iron When your iron levels are low, red blood cells cannot attach to oxygen, which makes them appear bluish and triggers dark circles. Get more iron from leafy greens, lean red meat and whole grains.
Cut down on Salt. “A diet that contains too much sodium can cause water retention, resulting in puffiness around the eyes,” says Linda.
Eat fewer ready meals and check labels for ‘hidden’ salt.
Fix it food Beef and red pepper stir-fry with brown rice.

Probably not eating enough…
B vitamins Studies have found that upping your intake of these skin-friendly nutrients can improve acne.
The richest source of B vitamins are whole grains, which means eating more oats, cereals and wholemeal bread, plus broccoli and spinach.
Water While the amount you should drink each day varies, no one disputes the role good hydration plays in keeping skin looking clear and healthy by flushing out impurities.
Cut down on Booze. Food doctor Ian Marber believes spots are a sign your liver is overloaded with toxins. “Cut back on alcohol. Have two to three glasses of wine a week for at least three months.”
Fix it food Porridge with a handful of blueberries.
Eat yourself beautiful: How changing your diet could improve your looks-beautiful.jpg
Always check symptoms with your GP before making changes to your diet.

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