Written by: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
Do you want smoother skin, more lustrous hair, stronger nails and a youthful glow? Who doesn’t?
In our modern world of uber-expensive creams, potions and procedures, many of us are willing to spend big bucks when it comes preserving or regaining our youthful looks. But the secret to looking young and vibrant doesn’t come in a fancy package. It doesn’t require needles, syringes and scalpels. And it won’t cost you a lot of money, either.
The key to looking vibrant at any age lies in the nutrient-dense diet of our ancestors.
The Ancestral Answer to Beauty and Bulletproof Health
The attributes we find attractive are also those correlated with good health and fertility. So maximizing nutrition won’t just make you healthier on the inside… but more beautiful on the outside too.
Your body is intelligently designed to prioritize the nutrients we have available. When you are deficient, your body will preferentially use nutrients for mission-critical biological processes like brain function, blood building and wound healing.
This is critical for survival. But it’s bad for your appearance, as you hair, skin and nails take a back seat in line for nutrients. If you’re lackluster in these departments, it’s a good indication that you are not getting the nutrients you need.
The good news is that following a Paleo diet can help…
Beauty Superfoods: Five Key Nutrients to Enhance Your Looks
By enjoying a wide variety of highly nutrient-dense foods – including healthy fats, clean protein, connective tissue, organ meats and bone – you provide your body with an unparalleled source of beauty-enhancing nutrients including collagen, zinc, biotin, vitamin A and omega-3 fats.
Eating ancestrally also eliminates or minimizes inflammatory compounds (like omega 6 fats from industrial seed oils), nutrient thieves (like phytates from grains) and DNA toxins (like sugar) that damage cells, bind up nutrients and promote the cross-linking of proteins that can lead to wrinkle formation.
Of course, it goes without saying that your diet should also include a wide variety of colorful, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and berries. These foods provide powerful phytonutrients and antioxidant protection that promote health and slow down the aging process.
So, let’s take a look at five key beauty nutrients and the best foods to optimize them in your diet:
- Collagen: This protein, found in connective tissue, has the unique ability to be deposited where you need it. That means dietary collagen can actually add cushion to your hips and knees or help to fill in fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Eating meat on the bone and making bone broth a staple of your diet are the two best ways to top off your supply of this superfood beauty nutrient.
- Zinc: You probably know this mineral best for its important role in growth, healing and immunity. But a deficiency in zinc (often due to inadequate dietary consumption or binding with phytate-rich grain foods) can result in thinning hair and skin problems, including acne. Get more zinc in your diet with oysters, grass-fed beef (short ribs and ribeyes are especially rich in zinc), lobster, shrimp, pork, beef liver, lamb and egg yolks.
- Biotin: This beauty nutrient is essential for hair growth and strong, healthy nails. The most concentrated sources of biotin are egg yolks and liver, with ample amounts in wild salmon, sardines, and chicken.
- Vitamin A: You’ve probably seen synthetic vitamin A creams and supplements – prescription or over-the-counter – marketed as a potent remedies for wrinkles. While these substances can help to prevent wrinkles and combat acne (thanks to their ability to boost cell turnover and increase collagen production), they also come with a list of potential side effects. Eating vitamin A rich foods – including beef liver, chicken liver, egg yolks, wild salmon and mackerel – can provide your body with this powerful anti-aging vitamin – without the unwanted side effects.
- Omega-3 Fats: Found primarily in wild game and seafood and meat from animals raised on pasture, omega-3 fats provide powerful protection against inflammation – a key disease process that promotes physical aging. Boost your intake of omega-3s with wild salmon and halibut, sardines, mackerel, wild shrimp and scallops and a high quality fish oil supplement.
Optimizing Your Nutrition for Beauty… and Beyond
To get the full spectrum of nutrients you need for optimal health, vary your diet. Try duck liver and bison liver… use bison marrow bones or chicken feet for collagen-rich stocks… enjoy halibut and lobster in addition to your usual seafood meal of wild salmon.
Enjoying delicious meals that include these nutrient-dense superfoods, coupled with a variety of non-starchy vegetables, is not just the best way to fortify your health… but also your appearance!
Kelley Herring is the author of Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
- Shanahan, Catherine MD., Shanahan, Luke. Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. 2009
- USDA National Nutrient Database
- “How Paleo Makes You Look Younger, Sexier and More Vibrant”. ChrisKresser.com. Web. 14 Feb. 2014