Ever hear the phrase “you are what you eat”? According to experts, there is some truth to the saying, in that what you consume internally can not only affect you on the inside, but on the outside, too.
On a mission to discover the best foods for inner health and outward beauty, we spoke to the team behind Culina Health,a group of registered dietitians who use personalized nutrition coaching and science-based online education to help clients transform their health and live a more balanced lifestyle.
Here are some of their favorite, go-to foods that multitask.
Co-founder Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, CDN, shares that her top foods for channeling beauty inside and out are oranges, chia seeds, and turmeric. Oranges “are loaded with vitamin C, which is helpful for collagen repair,” while chia seeds have “omegas that can help with reduction of inflammation,” she says. Turmeric (where curry gets its orange-yellow hue!) is chock full of curcumins, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does it aid in reducing internal inflammation, but it can help with inflammation caused by skin blemishes, as well as to reduce hyperpigmentation.
For Marisa Silver, MS, RD, CDN, power picks include bone broth, fruits and veggies that have a high water content, and fatty fish. Bone broth is having a serious moment right now, and for good reason. “It’s packed with filling protein (about 7-10 grams per cup) and is broken down into amino acids such as glycine, proline, and glutamine,” she says. Silver notes these amino acids are important for healthy skin, joints, bone and gut health, and that the salty broth also helps to keep you hydrated, as salt promotes water retention in the body. Just be careful with your salt intake, as overly abundant levels of sodium in your diet can lead to weight gain and high blood pressure.
Papaya, cucumber, watermelon and celery are all high-water content fruits and veggies that Silver says can assist with boosting hydration, reducing bloat, improving digestion. Or, as she puts it, “the ultimate way to glow from the inside out.”
Fatty fish, such as salmon, is high in omega-3 fatty acids that keep skin moisturized and healthy, explains Silver. “The omega-3 and vitamin E content of fatty fish also helps to fight inflammation in the body.”
Beautifying must-haves for team member Amanda Holtzer, who has a master’s degree in nutrition science and will be a registered dietitian in less than a year, include olive oil and tomatoes. “Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to combat UV damage,” she notes.
Olive oil is “super high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are proven to lower LDL (aka ‘bad’) cholesterol in the body. It also contains a large amount of phenols, which are antioxidants that assist with several bodily processes including immunity and nervous system functions,” adds Silver.
Since olive oil is not highly processed, Silver points out that it’s able to retain these antioxidants in large numbers. “Be sure not to heat your olive oil past 350 degrees, as doing so can denature the antioxidants! Use it primarily as a dressing oil or finishing oil!”
Lastly, for a sweet treat that packs a serious nutritional punch, Holtzer says that berries of any kind are “full of fiber (which aids in blood sugar stabilization and cholesterol), antioxidants, and are super anti-inflammatory.”
Grab some Greek yogurt, your favorite berries, and sprinkle on some omega-3-packed seeds (Holtzer suggests chia, flax and hemp) for a nutritious alternative to a traditional dessert parfait.