Beauty comes from the inside out — literally. Health habits can play a major role in your appearance, for better or for worse. The good news? These health tips for skin, hair, and nails will definitely put you on the "for better" side of beauty.
Whether you realize it or not, the health choices you make on a day-to-day basis make a huge difference in the way you look. After all, your body's largest organ is your skin (#science) — it's no wonder that good choices lead to good complexions, and poor choices lead to less-than-stellar ones.
Your hair and nails are affected by your health, too. As anyone who's ever had stress-related hair loss or weak, brittle nails can tell you, many times the root cause is entirely internal. Diet, zzz's, hydration, and mental hygiene can all play a role in how you look on the outside, and they can be great clues as to how you're doing on the inside, too.
As the old saying goes, you are what you eat — not to mention what you drink, how you sleep, and how you exercise. To break down the best health habits that also have major beauty benefits, I turned to Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters, wellness experts and founders of Health Coach Institute.
Whether you start with just one tip or try out a handful, remember that commitment is the name of the game — stick with these healthy habits, and your hair, skin and nails (not to mention the rest of your body) will be thanking you soon.
1. Start Your Day With Water
This helps rehydrate your body after a (hopefully) restful night of beauty sleep. "A big glass of regular, filtered tap water will do," Morgenstern and Peters say.
2. Start Your Day With Warm Water
Even the most highbrow of health pros swear by a simple warm water with lemon concoction in the morning. The regular stuff is still great, but "warm water relaxes the digestive tract and lemon cleanses the blood by making new blood cells," Morgenstern and Peters say. You can also add in honey or grated ginger for soothing antibacterial properties.
3. Start Your Day With Warm Water... And Apple Cider Vinegar
If you really, really want to get fancy with your morning water, stir a tablespoon or two of organic apple cider vinegar into your morning agua. "Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that can relieve exhaustion if you’ve had a rough night’s sleep," according to Morgenstern and Peters. I will warn you... it doesn't taste the best, but the detoxifying properties do give you a healthy jump on your day.
4. Know Your Body's Base Water Needs
Although eight glasses a day is a good rule of thumb, Morgenstern and Peters reccomends a more specific formula. Aim for somewhere between 64 ounces and .67 percent of your body weight. "For example, if your body weight is 150 pounds, then you need to drink between 64 ounces and 100 ounces (0.67% x 150) of water per day," they explain.
5. Pay Attention To Your Hydration
The more active you are and the more dehydrating drinks you consume (like coffee and alcohol,) the more water you'll need. If you aren't going to the bathroom every two or three hours or your pee is on the darker side (sorry, TMI?), chances are you're not drinking enough.
6. Keep Agua On Hand
After your morning hydration, keep a water bottle or pitcher by your side all day, the pair suggests. It keeps our systems moving smoothly and flushes toxins, which our skin benefits from — have you ever seen dehydrated skin that's supple and glowing? Me neither. Drink up.
7. Trade Your Afternoon Coffee For Tea
Don't worry, I'm not saying to cut out coffee entirely. But adding tea into your routine can give you major beauty benefits. Herbal teas (like ginger or peppermint) and spicy teas (like chai and cinnamon) can help stimulate better digestion, which is linked to clear skin. Roobios tea is rich in vitamin C and minerals. Whatever your pick is, tea usually means good things when it comes to beauty.
8. Reconsider Your Thoughts On Wheatgrass
OK, hear them out — Morgenstern and Peters are big fans of this superfood. "Drinking just 2 ounces of wheatgrass has the same nutrient value as 5 pounds of organic raw vegetables," they say. "It pumps your body with high doses of essential vitamins, nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants to keep you feeling your healthiest and most alive. And it also detoxes your liver and blood." Plus, it's an amazing energy booster. Find it at a juice bar — it'll be the healthiest shot you'll ever take.
9. Choose Organic Alcohol
Speaking of shots, you don't have to totally ditch alcohol to keep up with healthy habits (thank goodness for that, am I right?). Choose organic alcohol or local beer when possible, Morgenstern and Peters recommend, and stick to three to four drinks a week when you can.
10. Pour Yourself A Glass Of Wine
A health tip I can absolutely get on board with. Red wine gets all the love for its protection against high blood pressure and heart disease, but white wine has its own set of benefits — it has flavonoids with antioxidant properties known to protect against cancer, according to Morgenstern and Peters (the hops in beer boast these flavonoids, too.)
11. Steer Clear Of Cocktails
Yeah, that vodka cran always sounds like a good idea, but mixed drinks and cocktails are incredibly high in sugar. If you've gotta have the hard stuff, Morgenstern and Peters reccomend high-quality whiskey, "which is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium."
12. Nosh On Sulfur-Rich Foods
"Sulfur is actually the secret beauty mineral for glowing skin," Morgenstern and Peters say. "Sulfur helps your body to digest fats, controls the metabolism of carbohydrates and rids the body of waste that clogs skin pores causing a lackluster complexion." It's in more than just eggs — veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts are loaded with the stuff. Now, where's the blender?
13. Eat Your Greens
Classic leafy veggies are a nutritional mainstay for a reason. "The chlorophyll in green veggies eliminates toxins, heavy metals, herbicides, and pesticides and helps detoxify by increasing oxygen and purifying the blood." Toss them in a smoothie or straight on your plate.
14. Indulge Your Avocado Toast Obsession
It's totally Instagram-worthy, and amazing for your skin, hair and nails. "Avocados contain good fats that help your body absorb vitamin A—an antioxidant that’s great for detoxing." Morgenstern and Peters say. Plus, they're high in vitamins B5, B6, K, B1, B2, E and C, according to the duo, as well as folic acid, copper, phosphor, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. No wonder we're so obsessed.
15. When Life Gives You Lemons, Juice 'Em
"Lemons are amazing little happy yellow balls that stimulate the release of enzymes and Vitamin C, which help eliminate toxins, stimulate the liver and purify the blood," Morgenstern and Peters say.
16. Give Your Garnishes A Starring Role
Cilantro, parsley and basil are unassuming ingredients that all pack a serious nutritional punch. They're detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and high in various vitamins — all good news for your skin. Chop them up in salads, toss them in pasta, or throw them in a green juice.
17. Spice Up Your Life, Spice Girls-Style
Not only are spices a great way to give your food flavor without unnecessary sodium-laden or sugar-filled additions that don't do your skin any favors, but several have major virtues of their own. Indian spice turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory properties (you can even use it on your face in a topical mask for direct benefits.) Cardamom, which gives chai tea its flavor, according to Morgenstern and Peters, helps with digestion. Get creative with different spice drawer mainstays.
18. Watch Your Dairy Intake
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying dairy is the root of all evil, but it might be the root of your skin problems. The hormones, sugar, and inflammatory proteins in cow's milk can be problematic for skin, explain Morgenstern and Peters. If you suspect an issue, try going dairy free and see if your breakouts clear up. Be warned, though, it doesn't happen overnight. Give it at least two months. (Almond milk is delish, though — promise!)
19. Catch Your Zzz's
"Sleep relaxes your body’s inflammatory cells which helps restore collagen and hyaluronic acid—the molecules that give skin its glow and suppleness," according to Morgenstern and Peters. Good sleep also rejuvenates the immune system, which helps prevent immune-related disorders like psoriasis and eczema, they say. Plus, you can't argue with under eye bags: "Sleep allows the body to balance its skin hydration levels and recover moisture... which means less puffy eyes or dark rings."
20. Find Your Zen Workout
We all know that stress wreaks havoc on our appearance — breakouts, bitten nails, and even hair loss are annoying side affects of an overwhelmed mind and body. The best defense? Work it out. Find what exercise de-stresses you best, recommend Morgenstern and Peters: While some thrive on intense cardio, others do better with gentle exercise, like yoga or walking. Whatever floats your boat (and your mood.)
21. Stick With Gentle Workouts For Rosacea
Unfortunately, ladies with rosacea tend to flare up with intense exercise. (I admit, I wear foundation to the gym to disguise my angry, red skin. No, it's not good.) Better yet? "Stick to low intensity workouts like Hatha yoga or Tai Chi, which can be slower and have a deeper focus on your breathing, which can help flush toxins and clear your skin and prevent major red flushing," Morgenstern and Peters say.
22. Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again — getting hands-y with your face is no bueno." We have a tendency to touch our faces without thinking, so it’s best to be mindful of this unhealthy habit, which can lead to infections and other health problems because the eyes and mouth and nose are especially susceptible to germs," Morgenstern and Peters say. Not to mention the clogged pores that lead to acne.
23. Use Coconut Oil In The Kitchen & Out
As in, pour it all over your life. Including on your body and strands after a shower "for smoother, more supple skin and silkier hair," Morgenstern and Peters say. Nothin' wrong with that.
24. Stock Up On Almond Or Sesame Oil
Snag almond or sesame oil from your pantry (or a health store) and massage it into your bod. "Rubbing it in vigorously can stimulate oxygen to your cells and help natural exfoliation." Rinse in the shower for a *gLoW* that won't quit.
25. Use pH Balanced Soap
Many brand name bar soaps have a high pH of 10 or more, Morgenstern and Peters explain. "[These soaps are] extremely caustic and damage the skin, leading to all kinds of dermatological problems and premature aging," they warn. "Instead, use liquid soaps that are either pH balanced (5) or pH neutral (7) that are much gentler on your skin." That Summer's Eve body wash? Nothing wrong with using it all over.
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