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"They keep your skin looking healthy by blocking out cell-damaging free radicals from UV exposure and pollution" says registered dietician and founder of Nourish, Marissa Lippert. Eat a serving of antioxidant-rich foods a day, like 1 cup of berries or 20 pecans, and drink a few cups of green tea. Other alternatives to reach for? Kiwifruits, prunes, artichokes, and pinto beans.
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This is converted into vitamin A, which keeps your eyes and immune system strong. It also contains vitamin C to help produce skin-smoothing collagen. Aim for about 15 mg per day -- about the equivalent of 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes. Other options include carrots, winter squash, spinach, and kale.
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To build and fortify strong nails, teeth, hair, and bones, get 1,000 mg of calcium -- or about 3 cups of milk -- into your diet each day. Opt for low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, and choose organic items to avoid added hormones or antibiotics.
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"Essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3, help skin retain moisture and contribute to a supple and radiant complexion," says Lippert. They also decrease inflammation in the body and boost your hair's shine. Lippert adds you should "Take in 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day (it contains 6.9 grams of good omega-3 fats!). Or, shop for salmon, walnuts, avocado, and olive oil."
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It's the building block of bones, cartilage, skin, hair, nails, and blood. So eat up -- shoot for 46 grams, or about two 4-ounce chicken breasts' worth, of protein a day. Some good sources: beef, chicken, beans, tuna, eggs, quinoa, tofu, and nuts.
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This mineral helps regulate thyroid function, prevents wrinkles in skin, and may lower the risk of cancer. It also supports scalp and hair health. Get the recommended 55 mg a day through tuna (one 3-ounce can of light tuna contains 95 percent of your daily requirement), whole-grain breads, oatmeal, shrimp, turkey, and mushrooms. "Or, pop a Brazil nut. Just one little nut contains a week's worth of selenium," says Lippert.
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