Your skin hair, and nails are outward reflections of your inner health. But what happens if you’re struggling to get clear skin or losing the battle against dry hair and brittle nails?
Fortunately, there are a number of vegan food sources you can easily add to your diet in order to reap the benefits they provide. From an abundance of fatty acids to a plethora of nutrients and minerals, the five foods below will get you started on a path towards clearer skin, shinier hair and thicker nails.
Is it any surprise that coconut tops the list of vegan food sources? Seriously, this tree nut (though, actually more correctly classified as a stone fruit) packs a powerful dose of nutrition in a small and delicious package.
Aside from its use in cosmetics, coconut is also a great addition to your diet. It contains numerous nutrients which contribute to skin, hair and nail health. These include lauric acid (a known antimicrobial) and vitamin E (a proven antioxidant).
While you can of course apply coconut oil to your skin, hair and nails directly, you can also receive many of its benefits through consumption. From coconut water to milk to oil, there are plenty of ways to add this tropical fruit to your day.
Flaxseeds are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powerhouses that can be added to almost any meal. These seeds are full of omega fatty acids – a strong promoter of healthy hair growth – and a solid source of dietary fiber, lignans and folic acid. In addition, flaxseeds provide magnesium, making them an excellent way to grow stronger, longer nails.
Toss a few flax seeds onto your soup, salad, or smoothie. Or, use them in place of sesame seeds for your Asian-inspired dishes. You can even incorporate flaxseed oil into your diet, using it in place of canola or olive oil for dressing.
Eating foods rich in antioxidants helps to prevent common signs of aging, including wrinkles and graying hair. In fact, antioxidant-packed foods can even stimulate hair growth in individuals with thinning hair. This makes spinach a great food for skin and hair, as it contains three powerful antioxidants: vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
Eat spinach as a side, or add it to your daily smoothies, soups, and stews. Toss it into your salads, or even juice it with a few of your favorite fruits, like apple.
The list wouldn’t be complete without at least one mention of avocado – and no wonder! Avocado – both the fruit itself and the oil made from it – is a great source of vitamin E, as well as oleic acid.
In addition, avocado is a source of monounsaturated fats and other nutrients and minerals which strengthen the building blocks of hair and nails.
As with coconut, avocado can be added into a variety of foods. You can eat it on it’s own, of course, or add it to your salads or sandwiches. When cooking, use its oil to add some extra nutrients to your food, or create a delicious bowl of guacamole.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Perhaps one of the lesser revered seeds – with sunflower, flax, and chia sharing centerstage – pumpkin seeds are an extraordinary source of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and minerals (including magnesium and iron).
All of the above contribute to pumpkin seeds variety of uses, and makes it a great addition to any beauty routine.
With a slight nutty flavor, pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled on top of your favorite salads, or used in smoothies for a bit of extra depth. Additionally, they’re a great snack to keep on hand throughout the day, and the essential fatty acids within them will help to tide you over between meals.
No matter the diet plan you follow, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on vitamin and mineral intake. This ensures you’re keeping your body healthy, as well as your skin, hair and nails looking their best.
To get started, I recommend adding in the five foods above to your diet. With just a few tweaks, you can easily incorporate each vegan food source into your favorite recipes and almost immediately begin to reap all the benefits they provide. Do you have any secret vegan food sources you use for your skin, hair and nails?