Making out your grocery list? These foods are better-for-you choices as well as secret ingredients for great skin and hair.
Avocados serve up creamy goodness plus good (monounsaturated) fat. They also contain the phytochemical lutein, which studies show may help fight age-related eye disease, says Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE, and nutrition consultant. Slice them into a salad, or smash some as a sandwich spread to substitute for mayonnaise.
Beauty boost: For a moisturizing face mask, puree a ripe avocado and mix it with 1/4 cup whole-milk plain yogurt (the lactic acid in dairy is said to have an exfoliating effect). Apply the mixture, leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse with water.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important for the growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and helps keep teeth and gums healthy. They’re a sweet addition to salads, delicious with vanilla yogurt, and a special treat when dipped in dark chocolate.
Beauty boost: Some research points to vitamin C’s power to help protect skin from environmental damage. Try this face mask from Kym Douglas, author of The Beauty Cookbook: Puree strawberries in a blender and mix in whole-milk plain yogurt and a squirt of lemon juice. Apply the mixture, leave it on for 20 minutes, and then rinse with water.
Almonds are another source of good (unsaturated) fat and also fiber to help keep your body at its best, says Weisenberger. Snack on a small handful daily, or ground almonds as a coating for chicken cutlets or fish instead of bread crumbs.
Beauty boost: Exfoliate rough elbows, knees, and heels in the shower with a paste made from 1/4 cup of raw almonds ground in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
Tea contains certain antioxidants that can help protect skin from sun damage and other environmental factors. Enjoy it in a cup (hot or cold). Or try it in your cooking - ground tea leaves can easily be added to a spice rub, and brewed tea can work as a stock when mixed with broth.
Beauty boost: Used as a hair rinse, some teas help maintain color and add highlights. Brew and cool 8 ounces of tea, apply, leave in with a shower cap for 15 to 30 minutes, and then rinse. For golden highlights, use chamomile tea. Black tea makes brown hair shine, and berry teas boost red and auburn hair.