Don’t let their size fool you, nuts and seeds pack a powerful punch of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, protein and fibre – yet some stand above the rest for their unique beautifying qualities. However, if your digestion is sluggish, and in the past you’ve found nuts and seeds a bit too heavy on your stomach, then you might want to consider activating them. Either way, you really don’t want to miss out on these micronutrient-packed beauty snacks to fast track your skin and hair to its healthiest best.
Here are five top choices to add to your shopping list:
1. The skin-softener
Not only do they look like little brains, walnuts provide a great source of antioxidants. Walnuts help fight free-radical damage and skin ageing caused by pollution, stress and UV rays. They are also rich in essential fatty acids omega-3s and 6s – like you get from fish – and linoleic acid, which helps produce the skin’s natural oil barrier and keeps it looking all plump and glowy. Snack on a handful daily or add to salads.
2. The nourishing all-rounder
They’re packed full of hair strengthening – and lengthening – vitamins and minerals, plus fatty acids. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, so expect your skin to look and feel softer as well. Oh, and eating them will help improve memory, so feed them to kids during exams, and when you feel that afternoon slump coming on.
3. The acne fighter
It’s all about the high-fibre content with this tiny seed, so just one tablespoon a day is enough to keep you regular and your skin looking clearer. They are rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, which fights anxiety-induced acne. Snack on a DIY chia pot or add to scrambled eggs.
4. The hair tonic
These little guys are rich in vitamin E to support a healthy scalp and the omega-6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which stimulates hair growth. They also contain the strand-loss preventing mineral iron and the hair-boosting mineral zinc. Munch on these daily to improve your mane, and include them in salads and stir-fries.
5. The sleep genie
While day beauty is all about protection (think SPF 50+), the night is for repair – and we all need that quality beauty sleep to look our best. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, eat a handful of pumpkin seeds before bed. They are a natural source of tryptophan, zinc and magnesium, which all promote the good ZZZs.