Beauty From Within

Beauty From Within

Contributed by Eve Persak, Nutrition Advisor, MS RD CNSC CSSD

Hands up if you’re guilty of stockpiling your bathroom shelves with endless creams, lotions and serums - each promising to rejuvenate your tired skin, eradicate unsightly blemishes or tighten your droopy tush.

Maybe it’s time for a shift in focus – from what goes ON the body to what goes IN the body – to supplement what’s missing from our current regimes. Here’s a handful of best-kept beauty secrets – straight from the aisles of the supermarket – that will nourish, protect, strengthen and sculpt from the inside:

For Hair:

If you struggle with hair fall, split ends, or a dry, flaky scalp, a protein-packed and zinc-rich diet could be your solution.

We naturally shed approximately 50 to100 strands per day. To replace this loss and strengthen locks, adequate protein is essential as protein makes up 97% of our hair. Likewise, roots and follicles require zinc to stimulate growth and maintain a tight grip on the hair strand.

To reap the benefits of these two nutrients, incorporate these foods in your meals:  Seafood (oysters, in particular), poultry (skinless organic chicken and turkey), and lentils (these little legumes pack in twice as much of protein as most beans). 

For Eyes:

Sea salt

The high sodium content in salty foods can cause water retention and the thin skin surrounding the eyes is especially vulnerable to fluid-related swelling. Save on pricey creams for puffy eyes and be smart about salt. Purchase ‘reduced sodium’ products or omit the salt from your recipes.  Switch from standard table salt to sea salt. It has comparable sodium content, but its stronger flavour lets you use less to achieve the same results.


Our bodies convert pumpkin’s orange-colored pigment, betacarotene, into vision-preserving vitamin A. Seeing clearly means less bloodshot redness from chronic strain and less wrinkles from squinting.

Green vegetables

Relying on concealers to cover up chronic raccoon eyes? Dark under-eye circles can indicate poor sleep – and low iron levels. Reach for iron-rich foods such as red meats, and veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli, and bok choy. Supplements can also offer a boost – but opt for “chelated” products as these are easier on the GI tract and more easily absorbed.


For Skin:

Dark Berries

Turn back the complexion clock with deep blue- and purple-hued blackberries and blueberries. These fruits provide an age-defying cocktail of vitamin C, anthocyanins, and flavonoids that reverse cellular damage and sustain our skin's underlying collagen matrix.

Pumpkin Seeds

Just a handful of these seeds packs a mega-dose of magnesium – a dietary miracle-worker for acne-prone skin. This mineral is anti-inflammatory and stems bacterial growth, paving the way to clear, acne-free skin.


For Nails:

Coats of polish or shellac suffice temporarily. But for a long-term – and natural - solution to brittle, ridged nails, up your intake of essential amino acids and the B-complex vitamin, biotin. These nutrients strengthen keratin, the structural protein that makes nails thicker, and less likely to chip or split. Nail-nourishing foods that combine these nutrients include whole eggs (go organic to avoid nasty antibiotics and hormones) and raw nuts (especially almonds or peanuts).


For Waistlines:


Fuel up with seaweed soups and salads, and you may drop a dress size in no time. Brown and green kelps such as arame, wakame and kombu, contain fucoxanthin – a carotenoid that speeds up metabolism and promotes weight loss when consumed regularly. 

Unripe bananas

Go green – even with the bananas in your next smoothie. Why? Unripe bananas are a good source of naturally resistant starch. These carbohydrates have lower sugar and caloric values as they behave like fibre and move through the GI tract undigested. Preliminary research also suggests they can improve metabolism, reduce fat storage (especially in the midsection), stabilise blood sugar levels and control hunger.

For Bottoms and Thighs:

For smooth, supple, cellulite-free tush and thighs, reach for:

Cruciferous vegetables

The sulfur-rich compounds in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage help the liver to process and clear out harmful toxins, while firming and tightening skin. 

Chili peppers

These spicy veggies contain pyridoxine - a vitamin B compound that repairs and strengthens collagen, preventing unsightly sagging and dimpling. Additionally, capsaicin, the substance that gives chili peppers their characteristic heat, stimulates blood flow to flush out toxins.  


For Legs: 

Sedentary and stressful lifestyles, extra weight at the midsection, and imperfect eating habits can compromise blood circulation to your legs.  Overtime, vessels buckle under pressure and spider veins erupt. To stimulate blood flow and keep legs clear, try:


This popular culinary herb is a powerful antioxidant that fends off harmful free radicals that can weaken blood vessel walls, resulting in unsightly, protruding veins. Roast fish with a whole sprig of rosemary on top to add flavour to your dinner and derive the natural goodness of this herb.

For a double dose of rosemary, use topical skincare salves that include rosemary extracts and oils to promote leg circulation and tone.  


This gluten-free grain is the best-known dietary source of rutin - a plant-based substance understood to promote vascular health. This compound prevents varicose veins by fortifying blood vessels and reducing swelling. As an added bonus, the extra fibre in whole grain buckwheat products will prevent constipation - another cause of poor venous blood flow.  


This root benefits the vascular system by dissolving fibrin - the fibrous protein that accumulates in the blood vessels and forms lumps in the tissues surrounding varicose veins.  

Go beyond relying on topical skincare to keep your skin healthy, wrinkle-free and youthful. Nourish it from within. Sneak these antioxidant and nutrient-rich foods, into your meals and snacks, and you can feed your body beautifully - from head to toe.