If your hair, skin, and nails are looking lack-lustre and not glowing as much as they once were, it’s not your lotions and potions you need to switch-up, it’s your diet!
We’ve all been there–hair falling out, brittle nails, facial redness–wondering where these symptoms come from and if it’s even normal. The fact of the matter is, when our body isn’t fueled with the right nutrients, when stress has overcome us, or when our digestion isn’t functioning optimally, we see it first in these places! Glowing skin, shiny hair, and strong nails is an inside job that can easily be accomplished. Here’s how…
Giving your gut TLC is foundational to get the glow from the inside out. More than ever before, there is research linking the health of our hair, skin, and nails to the health of our gut! This is known as the gut-skin connection. Since the food we eat relies on the health of the gut to absorb and assimilate these nutrients into our tissues, it’s no surprise that therein lies a connection between our gut and our skin. The health of our gut is impacted by several factors, including antibiotic use, alcohol consumption, food sensitivities, and even stress. These factors damage the gut, causing inflammation, and also alter the microbiome (our protective bacteria that help assimilate nutrients, rev up our immunity, and so much more). If you suspect your gut may be damaged, consider the food you’re eating. Highly gut-damaging food sensitivities tend to be gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and sometimes nuts. Avoiding these foods for a short period of time and then reintroducing them one-by-one can give you some indication about their effects on your body. Adding back in the right kinds of gut-loving foods, like probiotic-rich foods, can be that much more impactful on reducing inflammation and nourishing the microflora. Kefir, miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut are excellent food-sources of probiotics, but supplementation should also be considered especially if you are looking to improve your performance as an athlete.
It should be no surprise that staying hydrated is the single most important “hack” that we can recommend for achieving beauty from the inside out. Every single cell in our body requires water, and in order for skin to be supple, hair to shine, and nails to grow, we have to hydrate! For an extra boost, we recommend supplementing with collagen. Collagen is not only the most abundant protein in our body—the protein that literally feeds our hair, skin, and nails—but daily supplementation with collagen has also been shown to improve overall hydration levels in just one month’s time. We love mixing our collagen and water with lemon as an elixir first thing in the morning! It’s a great way to kick start our goal of drinking at least 2L a day.
In order for water to be retained within our cells there must be a cellular membrane. This membrane is made up of fat. We can easily support this cellular membrane by eating foods rich in fatty acids; things like wild salmon, mackerel, pasture raised eggs, nuts, seeds, and so much more. These foods keep our skin supple, hair shiny, and nails growing. These foods are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower inflammation. This is especially important as an athlete, since working out increases overall inflammation. Too much inflammation can cause our body to break down in different ways – think eczema or psoriasis, facial redness, acne, thinning hair, and brittle nails. Combating inflammation is doable by incorporating these foods into your daily diet, but sometimes supplementation may be necessary. With countless benefits from omega-3 fatty acid supplementation—from skin health to heart health—we can’t rave enough about it.
Foods like liver, eggs, salmon, nuts and seeds are especially rich in biotin, a specific B vitamin that nourishes our hair, skin, and nails. But other B vitamins also play a pivotal role in beautifying us from the inside out. Overall, a whole foods diet rich in dark leafy greens and servings of meat or poultry will supply you with the B vitamins—and other hair, skin, and nail-loving nutrients—that you need. Bonus: they will also help you to fight off stress, better absorb your nutrients, balance hormones, and help you sleep better. Combined, this is the perfect recipe to get the glow.
While this might not be your favourite option, remember that exercise increases stress on the body. If you feel stress in your day-to-day life, you may want to consider dialing down the workouts. Increased stress on the body (yes, even said stress coming from your high-intensity workout) raises cortisol and in turn breaks down our tissues. This can dull our glow, cause our hair to thin, nails to become brittle, and make us exhausted! Save your energy and your nutrients, and consider restorative exercise like yoga, walking, or low bearing weights until you get your glow back.
Give our top 5 recommendations to beauty from the inside out a try and let us know what worked for you! Do you have more tips that we missed? Let us know! Tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We are #ReflexNation
Sign up for expert advice and be the first to hear about special offers!