Beauty begins from within. Brides who adhere to this old adage know the drill: Avoid certain foods and drinks 24 hours before the wedding and you'll avoid big-day beauty woes like like zits, puffy eyes, sweating, and bloating. On the taboo list? Dairy, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and caffeine. You're probably thinking that doesn't leave a lot of options. "Actually there are plenty of natural foods you can have," says Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author. "They contain vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients, which clean and nourish your blood and tissues, while contributing to the overall radiance of your skin." Check out the super beauty foods toping our menu—that are also great to nosh on pre-wedding day.
THE SKIN SAVERS
Red bell peppers
"One of my favorite foods, red bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C, which can help to repair and regenerate collagen, the protein that give structure to your skin," explains Snyder. "They're also a good source of mineral silicon, which diminishes wrinkles and strengthens skin cells to appear less-aged."
Considered the ultimate eye de-puffer, this fruit is full of hydrating enzyme-enriched water—and hydration is key for youthful, smooth skin. It also contains B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium, which give it anti-inflammatory properties.
If your skin is looking dull and lackluster, add sweet potatoes to your diet. They contain the magical skin-brightening combination of vitamin A and vitamin C, "that work to neutralize cell tissue-damaging free radicals," Snyder points out. Sweet potatoes are also rich in biotin, and vitamins B2, B6, and E —hair and nail strengtheners.
All those pre-wedding parties can cut into your beauty sleep and leave you with telltale dark circles under the eyes. Combat them with Greek yogurt. It's rich with amino acids known to target those dark rings. Have some for breakfast the day before an upcoming late night as a preventative measure.
Meet the star of your next smoothie. With a ridiculous amount of beta-carotene, spinach promotes youthful skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis. This helps to prevent wrinkles, remove dead skin cells from your body, and make room for fresh, new ones.
THE BODY DO-GOODERS
Want perfect posture for your photos and first dance? Toasted pumpkin seeds can help you stand tall. They're packed with a high amount of magnesium (one ounce contains approx. 74 mg), which strengthens bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Bonus: Pumpkin seeds are also rich in biotin—a known nutrient for hardening nails.
This "baby" plant has long been lauded for having off-the-charts nutritional value thanks to its increased amounts vitamins, such as B complex and C, plus amino acids. "Sprouts are one of the most powerful foods for cellular regeneration and health," says Snyder, who recommends consuming them "regularly to cleanse your body, nourish your cells and tissues, and contribute to a beautiful glow, from the inside out."
Banish bloat by adding this citrus detoxifier. "Lemons support digestion in the colon, promoting the elimination of waste more efficiently and regularly," explains Snyder. They also work as a natural diuretic to target water retention.
THE STRESS RELIEVERS
What bride hasn't had a mini-meltdown? Bring on the calm and reach for this leafy stalk. A star ingredient in most green juices, "celery contains a de-stressing compound called pthalide," points out Snyder. "It relaxes the muscles around the arteries to allow blood vessels to dilate and can help reduce stress hormones and lower blood pressure."
This fish is packed with omega-3s— the ultimate stress fighters. Even when wedding craziness ramps up, your emotions will stay even keel if you incorporate this tasty protein into your meal rotation.