“Beauty isn’t in the color of the eyeshadow you wear today—it’s in the radiant base underneath,” explains Jolene Hart, a former beauty editor turned holistic health coach who recently penned the thought-provoking book Eat Pretty, which encourages women to radically rethink and redefine their approach to looking and feeling their best. Her M.O.? Whole, healthy, and nutrient-rich food—and plenty of it. “These nutrients are pure beauty fuel that gives our bodies the energy to defend, repair, renew, and fortify,” she says. “Seizing their power is the key to a lifetime of gorgeous.” Want to have what she’s having? Check out her rundown of 12 foods that’ll help beautify you from the inside out below, and get ready to add them to your grocery list (and beauty routine) pronto.
Quinoa—We will continue to shout quinoa’s beauty benefits from the rooftops because it is a complete protein that builds strong youthful skin, hair, and nails, and repairs daily damage. It also has a low glycemic index, so it steadies your blood sugar and keeps you full yet free of bloating.
Oats—A powerful and nutrient-packed breakfast staple that is rich in minerals and supports healthy hair, make them a regular part of your morning beauty routine.
Chickpeas—These antioxidant-rich legumes boost immunity and are loaded with zinc to support a beautiful complexion and clear skin. Pass the hummus, please.
Coconut Oil—The main component of coconut oil is lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fat that kills bacteria, viruses, and yeast (it’s also found in breast milk!). It’s made of anti-inflammatory medium-chain fatty acids that support metabolism and burn fat.
Apple Cider Vinegar—This bitter-flavored liquid contains potassium and a detoxifying fiber called pectin. Since it is alkaline it balances the acidic foods in your body to maintain a healthy pH level.
Flaxseeds—Ground flaxseed is an excellent plant source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, especially alpha-linolenic acid, which is an essential fatty acid.
Unsweetened Almond Milk—Drinking unsweetened almond milk gives you vitamin E, the vitamin that keeps your skin moisturized and protected from the sun. It’s also tasty and great with your quinoa and oats.
Lentils—A favorite of Hart’s because of their protein prowess and blood-sugar stabilizing effects, lentils are rich in nutrients and aid in cellular repair.
Millet—Dubbed the “seeds of happiness,” this light and fluffy seed is alkaline and boosts your feel-good serotonin chemicals thanks to the amino acid tryptophan.
Nuts—“Nuts are little nuggets of healthy fats, proteins, and beauty minerals that fill you up, sustain you, and travel easy,” says Hart. However, be sure to buy them organic and raw—the healthy fats reduce inflammation.
Popcorn—A snack that is rich in antioxidants, popcorn provides loads of fiber, which promotes healthy elimination. Just make sure they are organic, plain popcorn kernels and avoid the artificial flavors and chemicals found in many microwaveable brands.
Pomegranates—This fruit is filled with ellagic acid, which helps to preserve the collagen and elasticity of your skin by preventing inflammation. Sprinkle a few on your salad or mix it in with quinoa, millet, and oats for a sweet and healthy addition to your dish.
Want a list of additional beautifying foods? Check out Hart’s book, Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out, available on Amazon.