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How Vitamins and Minerals Make You Beautiful

It’s the little things that count. Vitamins and minerals, the micronutrients in food, keep your eyes bright, your hair shiny, your nails strong, your skin glowing, and your teeth gleaming—and that’s not all! Throughout this book I describe the important beauty roles that vitamins and minerals play in your body. Be sure to check out the vitamin and mineral tables, which list the best food sources of these important beauty nutrients.

Fats for Supple Cells

Many women I know are fat-phobic. It’s true that, gram for gram, fats have more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates. However, you need an adequate supply of healthy fats for many important reasons, including the maintenance of your beauty. Fats supply certain essential fatty acids that your body can’t make but are key to soft, supple skin. These fats help to maintain the oil barrier of the skin, which keeps moisture in and germs out. Your body also needs fats to produce hormones, and fats are used as a structural component of cells. Fats in your diet allow your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins that are key to beauty, such as vitamin A, as well as vitamins D, E, and K. In addition, “good” fats (such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) protect you against heart disease while they satiate you and stabilize your blood sugar.

Essential Fatty Acids: Eat Your Omega-3s!

The items vital to life include moisturizer, tweezers, your most comfortable pair of ballet flats, your little black book, the locket your mother gave you, and essential fatty acids. In fact, the essential fatty acids are as important a part of your beauty regimen as the moisturizer and tweezers. While essential fats include specific omega-6 and omega-3 fats, omega-3s are the fatty acids you need to know about. Omega-3s play a key role in keeping your skin smooth and supple. Aside from skin benefits, a great deal of research indicates that adding omega-3s to your diet, especially long chain omega-3s from fatty fish like salmon, helps lower blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stabilizes blood sugar, enhances nerve function, and improves mood. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and protect against memory loss.

Vitamin C’s Role in Beauty

Recommended Dietary Allowance

WOMEN: 75 mg.   MEN: 90 mg.

In addition to playing a role in the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein found in skin, teeth, and bones, the beauty benefits of vitamin C are associated with its antioxidant properties. By helping to quench free radicals, vitamin C prevents tissue irritation and damage on a cellular level, which—among other things—helps keep skin looking youthful and clear.

10 Good Whole-Food Sources of Vitamin C

1. Guava, 1/2 cup, 188 mg

2. Kiwi, 2 medium, 141 mg

3. Orange, 1 medium, 78 mg

4. Red sweet pepper, sliced, 1/2 cup, 59 mg

5. Broccoli, cooked, 1/2 cup, 50 mg

6. Strawberries, sliced, 1/2 cup, 49 mg

7. Cantaloupe, 1/2 medium, 48 mg

8. Papaya, 1/2 medium, 47 mg

9. Pineapple, fresh, 1/2 cup, 37 mg

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