The Top 7 Unlikely Beauty Foods

Don’t you love finding beauty in the most unlikely of places?

Sometimes beauty lies in the most unlikely of places: in a messy, bed-head hairdo, a smoky smear of eye makeup, or the flush in your cheeks after a hard workout.  Beauty isn’t perfection; sometimes it’s even more compelling when it’s unconventional. Along those same lines, I’ve found that some of the foods that make us look and feel our most beautiful are, well, … downright ugly, stinky and pungent. Not all of nature’s beauty foods are as pretty and sweet as raspberries and pomegranates. Check out my list of the seven unlikeliest foods that make your skin, nails and hair quite beautiful. I try to eat them as regularly as possible- and make sure to brush twice afterward!

Seaweed

Seaweed, like dulse, nori or kelp, is an incredibly concentrated source of nutrition, especially minerals like iron, manganese, iodine, copper, zinc and selenium that are important for beauty. Both zinc and iron are strong hair essentials, while manganese is critical for strong bones and connective tissue. And the iodine in seaweed is processed by the thyroid gland to become thyroid hormone, which stimulates energy production and growth of hair & nails. (Read more about my favorite sources here)

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast may be an acquired taste, but knowing that it’s packed with skin-strengthening B-complex vitamins, 18 amino acids and an impressive lineup of minerals sure helps in learning to love it. Nutritional yeast is also a complete protein. Sprinkle some over air-popped popcorn for a savory snack that’s great for your skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar can help your digestion by stimulating stomach acids, promoting the healthy growth of intestinal flora and balancing pH. It’s a skin food that many swear by for good digestion. If you’re not ready to drink a spoonful straight from the bottle (or diluted in a cup of water), sprinkle it over your salads in place of vinaigrette.

Sardines

They may smell less-than-lovely, but sardines are beauty foods all the way. They’re among the group of oily, cold water fish that is well known for high omega 3 content, and anti-inflammatory benefits, making them a must for healthy, supple, clear skin. Sardines are also packed with calcium and vitamin D for strong bones (quite beautiful, no?). If you’re squeamish about eating these little fishes, buy the boneless, skinless variety. Spread a little on a cracker or a bed of greens with a squeeze of lemon on top.

Cabbage

This cruciferous veggie is packed with anti-aging phytonutrients and the antioxidant sulforaphane, which helps the body manufacture another powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound called glutathione. The pungent smell of cabbage is actually reflective of its benefits: cabbage is rich in sulfur, a true beauty nutrient that fights infections, cleanses the liver and strengthens hair, skin and nails.

Garlic

The antibiotic, antifungal compound called allicin that is found in crushed or chopped garlic helps give it its blood-purifying, immune-strengthening properties. Garlic is great for circulation, and also contains sulfur for healthy skin and hair. Garlic is best eaten fresh, when its antioxidant benefits are highest. Blend a few cloves into your own homemade hummus or guacamole to get the most nutrition from fresh, raw garlic.

Sauerkraut

More than a hot dog topper, sauerkraut is a digestive powerhouse, thanks to the abundance of good bacteria (called lactobacilli) produced during its fermentation. This healthy bacteria encourages the production of digestive enzymes, to keep your belly happy and your digestion running smoothly, which reflects in calm, glowing skin.

Today I'm a Beauty & Health Coach, certified by the world's foremost school for holistic health, NYC's Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. I'm also a co-founder of the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, an educational organization formed to advance an integrative approach to healthy skin. I teach women to become their healthiest, most beautiful selves inside and outside by addressing beauty and health concerns ranging from acne to weight gain to low energy and nutrition for healthy aging. Through my coaching practice, Beauty Is Wellness, I educate women about the powerful connection between nutrition and beauty, and teach them how to eat for beauty each and every day with beautifying recipes and cooking instruction. I'm so excited to share my international bestseller Eat Pretty, its companion journal Eat Pretty, Live Well— and my book of 365 daily inspirations for beauty called Eat Pretty Every Day!

In my career I've contributed to wellness and lifestyle publications including Organic Spa, InStyle, Prevention, Yoga Journal, Allure, Delicious Living, The Chalkboard Mag, Mind Body Green, Allrecipes magazine, Shape, Good Housekeeping, Elle.com, Dr. Oz's YouBeauty.com, Philadelphia Style, Healing Lifestyles & Spas, and The Huffington Post's Healthy Living section. Read along with my Beauty Is Wellness blog to learn more about my passion: the link between inner health and outer beauty, and the impact that our daily health and wellbeing have on our appearance. I promise to inspire you with ways to look and feel your best every day!