Rosanna Davison's four top foods for beauty
These are four of my favourite foods for boosting the health of your skin and hair - they give your body a constant supply of energy, immune-boosting nutrients and plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Many people lack enough energy to get through a busy day and often turn to sugar and caffeine for the temporary energy boost that it gives. As you may already know, caffeine and sugar simply end up depleting your body of the valuable nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong.
I try to eat these nutrient-rich foods every day and all four crop up in my recipes...
One of nature's most nutritious sources of fat, cultures throughout the centuries have used avocados for their powerful anti-ageing ability and to maintain the suppleness of joints. They lubricate your body from the inside out with their plentiful monounsaturated fats and help to prevent early signs of ageing.
Avocados are one of the very best food sources of potassium, vitamins A, C and E, the B vitamins, and iron and copper, which are the mineral components of antioxidant enzymes.
Avocados also boast the protective amino acids glutamine and glutathione, the latter of which has been shown in studies to help slow down ageing.
It's easily digested plant fat, rich in amino acids and dietary fibre to help stabilise your blood-sugar levels and help you to feel full for longer. As a nutrient dense natural plant food, avocados make an excellent alternative to processed foods.
Calorie for calorie, dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale offer more nutrients than any other food. Spinach contains high levels of beta- carotene, which then convert to vitamin A in your body to build, repair and protect your cells. This nutrient helps to transform your complexion by preventing lines, improving hydration in the top layer of skin and actively moving out dead skin cells to make room for fresh new ones.
The lipoic acid in spinach aids in rejuvenating the antioxidant vitamins C and E.
Spinach has even been found to contain powerful anti-cancer carotenoids called epoxyxanthophylls, so its many perks go far beyond beautiful skin. The anti- inflammatory benefits of spinach are well researched, with scientists identifying over 12 different flavonoids in spinach that work to reduce infections, including acne spots.
Spinach contains the antioxidants zinc and selenium to support youthful-looking skin. Spinach has a wide variety of beauty minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper and choline, plus B vitamins for an energy boost. It's also a decent source of omega-3 fatty acids for smooth and supple skin.
Kale is a similarly nourishing leafy green, also bursting with skin-brightening nutrients, amino acids and antioxidants. But I think that spinach works better in smoothies due to its creamy texture and subtle taste, whereas kale makes a satisfying salad and works well lightly sautéed or baked into kale crisps.
They may be only little, but berries - such as strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries - boast serious skin-boosting levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants called anthocyanins and quercetin. Together, they keep your skin strong, smooth and youthful, while also helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
This may not be your top beauty food choice thanks to the pungent breath it tends to create! But garlic has been used for over 5,000 years for its many beauty benefits, which range from building clear and bright skin, to encouraging thick, healthy hair. As well as its anti-fungal and antibacterial benefits, garlic contains skin-beautifying minerals like zinc, sulphur, calcium and selenium. The latter works alongside vitamin E to enhance their antioxidant power.
Due to its content of salicylate, garlic helps to thin blood, boost your blood flow and thus draws more nutrients to your skin to help make it glow.