Our Healthy Eating Expert, Lee Holmes, shares her advice and insights about the best food for longevity and beauty, and how to include them in your diet.
Some people say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While this may be true, I believe that real beauty is in the eye of a leafy green vegetable, or perhaps in the eye of a freshly roasted sweet potato ready to be lovingly devoured. It can reside slap bang in the middle of your grocery cart.
The definition of true beauty means something different to everyone. One form of beauty, the kind that is ageless, radiant and ethereal is measured by how we feel inside and is a direct result of what we are putting on and into our bodies. When it comes to food, listening to your body and finding the best foods for you and not following restrictive, fad or unrealistic diets will allow you to eat according to your own guidelines and provide you with the necessary energy and nutrients for good inner and outer health.
Real beauty is about giving your body what it needs to repair, replenish and rejuvenate you internally and externally. By consuming real foods with quality vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytonutrients, you’ll be placing your body in the best position to ensure cells remain active and healthy, thus leading to healthy organs, mind and skin structure.
The health of your skin is largely dependent upon the presence and retention of moisture. One way to ensure that your skin is glowing and healthy is to drink adequate amounts of water and eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, proteins and good fats to keep your body moisturised from the inside and in the epidermis, the top layer of your skin where moisture is held.
It’s no secret it’s better to steer clear of processed foods, refined sugars and saturated fats to avoid diet-related beauty problems, so I’m going to share with you my Seven Favourite Foods For Longevity and Beauty with tips on how to include them into your diet and Eat Yourself Beautiful.
1. Berries are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been associated with healthy ageing and increasing the effectiveness of Vitamin C, giving your immune system a healthy boost. Unfortunately they can be high in pesticides so growing your own is best! If you don’t have the space to grow your own, choosing to buy organic berries is the next best thing. Tips for consumption are to throw them into breakfast smoothies, add them to muffins and cheesecakes, add them to salads, or eat them on their own as a snack between meals.
2. Salmon is loaded with the ultimate anti-ageing nutrient - Omega 3, which helps to reverse the effects of sun damage on your skin. It is also an amazing source of Vitamin D to make sure you hair is glowing, and your fingernails and musculoskeletal system remain strong. My Salmon Chowder is a delicious dish to include in your autumn meal planning.
3. Nuts are high in protein and Vitamin E so make a complete snack to help improve your skin tone, making it appear radiant and giving you the wellness glow. Add nuts to your favourite granola like the one below or include them in your baked goods or curries.
4. Dark leafy greens are an easy fix so go wild for spinach, kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce. The darker the better with leafies. The huge dose of Vitamin A that you’ll receive supports the turnover of new skin cells in addition to supplying you with the top four essential minerals - calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. I make a scrumptious lettuce and coconut soup with my greens and also add them as a side to many main dishes.
5. Sardines are affordable and buying them in bulk means you can have them as a pantry staple and reach for them at any time when you’re in need of a quick, go to meal. Sardines are fantastic for hair, skin and nails thanks to the good fats and protein found within them. Try my Smashed Sardines with Avocado and Chia and Flaxseed Loaf recipe for the ultimate breakfast.
6. Flaxseeds are an abundant, natural source of Omega 3 fatty acid and a great alternative for people who believe that fish are friends not food. They’re also very fibrous, promoting regular bowel movement and helping to cleanse the body. If you haven’t made the chia and flaxseed loaf above it’s an easy loaf to make and keeps for over a week in the fridge.
7. Garlic is an amazing bulb of beauty included in many of my recipes due to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It also imparts a wonderful flavour. I like to oven roast my garlic before adding it to recipes as it adds a sweetness and really boosts the flavour profile.
Nowadays we are spoilt for food choices both at home and when dining out. It’s good to include a variety of foods into your diet and allow yourself treats along the way. I follow the 80/20 rule and give myself lee-way.
Don’t be too restrictive or let dietary setbacks rack you with guilt, you will never feel truly beautiful that way. Just enjoy your food and the pleasure that it brings you. Remember eat clean but not squeaky clean!
Whipping up a batch of the wholesome granola below will make your breakfast more enjoyable and boost your body with moisturising good fats. Plus it moonlights as a cheeky nibble during the day. It’s beautifying too, a quarter of a cup of walnuts can give you nearly 95 per cent of your daily Omega 3 requirements, and the huge amount of B vitamins they contain not only help to reduce stress, but keep your skin looking young, delaying the occurrence of fine lines and wrinkles.
It’s so easy to make your own and swap out ingredients – as long as you stick to the basic mix, you can make this granola an amalgam of whatever toasted level of crunchiness you like. If you like a lighter granola, add puffed buckwheat or brown rice puffs and top with seeds. Store in a sealed glass jar in a cool dry place.
Cranberry and Walnut Granola
Recipe and image from Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful by Lee Holmes (Murdoch Books)
Do you have a question for Lee? Ask her here.