Beauty begins on the inside. Or, at least, what you put into your insides.

We spend a fortune every year on creams and ointments, make up, things that bronze, brighten or whiten and tinctures that put the brakes on gravity and ageing. And yet, often these products are filled with chemical nasties, things that inflame and irritate the body.

Rather than playing defence with a complicated, chemical-laden beauty regimen, wouldn’t it be better to play offence? Taking proactive steps to care for your complexion, hair, eyes and general health can improve the vitality and appearance of your face, hair and body in the long term.

A good diet is of course a major part of ensuring you look and feel your best. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best foods to add to your diet to keep you looking great and feeling fabulous for the next few decades (and there’s a bonus! They all have health benefits for your GI tract too!)

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help stabilise wrinkle-causing free radicals. Their high levels of antioxidants and fibre along with their anti-inflammatory properties make blueberries excellent for those suffering from GI conditions such as gastritis or ulcerative colitis. For an extra-healthy immune boost, try eating a daily dose of blueberries with some probiotic yoghurt as an afternoon snack.

Nettle tea is also extremely high in antioxidants and has detoxifying and anti-inflammatory benefits to calm the skin. This is especially good news for those prone to flare-ups of eczema, dermatitis and acne. As well as calming outward inflammation, nettle tea is a great digestive making it ideal to have handy during bouts of digestive inflammation as experienced by sufferers of colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and protein in this superfood help to promote healthy, lustrous and strong hair. Your body needs omega-3s to actually grow hair and keep your scalp naturally hydrated with good oils. Additionally, the high levels of selenium and vitamin B5 and B12 found in wild salmon promote shiny, glossy strands and healthy follicles. This is great news for those with GI issues, as omega-3s are also an essential weapon against gut inflammation.

Walnuts are another rich source of hair-friendly omega-3s as well as vitamin E which helps to protect DNA from sun damage. The copper in walnuts also promotes richness in your natural hair colour. When it comes to digestive inflammation people have different ‘trigger’ foods and some sufferers do find that walnuts should be avoided during flare-ups. If this is the case with you, perhaps try using walnut oil instead of eating the nuts whole. The raw oil makes for a great addition to salad dressings or can be drizzled over steamed vegetables for an omega-3-packed flavour hit.

Sweet potatoes and carrots
Keep those peepers looking sweet with a diet high in sweet potatoes and carrots. These root vegies are delicious sources of beta-carotene which promotes healthy vision. They’re also packed with soluble fibre, which is good news for people with IBD as soluble fibre is great for the digestive system. Try a ‘bright eyes’ salad with baby spinach, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes topped with a cumin yoghurt dressing.

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