Healthy eating makes you feel good right? Duh. I’m sure you’ve heard about the benefits of healthy eating, relying heavily on incorporating whole foods in your diet – maybe more times than you can count! So you probably already know that different types of fruits and vegetables can make you feel and look healthier…that’s obvious. Here’s some food for thought (see what I did there!): Did you know that certain whole foods can improve your well-being beyond your heart, body, and waistline? I’m talking healthier hair, skin, muscles and bones!

The vitamins and minerals in the food you eat all play specific, key roles in keeping you healthy and strong. Eating healthy means incorporating lots of different fruits, leafy greens, veggies, smart starches (like sweet potatoes), nuts, and other natural protein sources into your diet. By consuming these types of good-for-you foods, you’re allowing yourself to absorb the full range of nutrients your body wants and needs.  These nutrients are absolutely essential for a well-functioning immune system and total body health. It’s not just your insides that reap the benefits of consuming healthy foods, it’s also your physical appearance that can benefit from maintaining a healthy, whole food diet.

Now that you have a solid grasp of why eating the right foods is so important (I’m going to drill this into your brain time and time again),  let me walk through a few examples of how eating specific, healthy foods can impact your body from the inside-out.

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Make sure you’re eating foods like avocados, that are rich in vitamin E (protects against oxidative stress, which can be caused from environmental factors). Many women want long, shiny hair – who doesn’t, right?! To promote hair growth, your diet should contain folate, iron, and vitamins A and C (all present in superfoods like spinach),  as well as omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, nuts and seeds are good sources).

Looking to sharpen and maintain healthy eyes?  Did you know if you eat eggs – you’re already on the defense,  protecting your eyes and supporting their functions. Eggs are packed with lutein and vitamin A, which assist in promoting eye health.  Plus, by adding citrus foods into your diet, (which contain high levels of vitamin C) you’ll be actively working to lower your risk of cataracts  and degeneration down the road. Craving some nuts? Reach for some pistachios – packed with vitamin E to assist in boosting eye health.

What’s a healthy body without a healthy brain? The most important function of the entire body! Salmon and other fatty fish containing omega-3s support building brain and nerve cells – which are absolutely essential for learning and memory. Nuts are also a strong supplement in promoting healthy brain functions.  Nuts contain notable levels of Vitamin E, which helps shield cells from free radical damage. Do you enjoy eating berries? You’re in luck! Berries contain substantial amounts of antioxidants, that fight oxidative stress and may improve memory – ultimately strengthening your brain and keeping it healthy.

Love the skin you’re in! For healthy skin, load up on safe starches like sweet potatoes, which are packed with beta-carotene, an essential element in helping to protect the skin from sun damage.  As you’ve seen earlier in this article – nuts are a very beneficial food to incorporate into your daily routine as they support so many of your body’s healthy functions.   Walnuts in particular contain fatty acids – contributing to the integrity of healthy skin, as well as inflammation.  Looking for something green? Opt in for broccoli, which contains sulforaphane, an element that can help protect your skin against harmful UV radiation. *Please ALWAYS supplement your healthy diet with SPF if you’re going to be outside.

Breathe in, breathe out…let’s talk about your lungs.  Start sipping green tea to support healthy lung functions. With powerhouse nutrients like quercetin, you’re able to unleash natural antihistamines through drinking green tea daily.   Cruciferous veggies are always also a great option when looking to support healthy lungs! (Glucosinolates have actually been proven to reduce the risk of cancer/lung cancer down the road).

Healthy, strong muscles come from protein.  I’m not talking just any “protein,” or the chemically enhanced proteins.  I’m talking the right proteins that contain the right vitamins and minerals as well. Chicken (high protein, good source of B vitamins, niacin and B6), beans (good source of plant-based protein), and yogurt (fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein) all contain different mixes of both protein and vitamins that are VERY good for you.  To maximize the impact of consuming high quality proteins – mix them up so they can work together within your body – covering all your bases.

Last, but certainly not least, the core and structure to your being.  Healthy eating should contribute to healthy bones! The variety of vitamins in leafy greens (calcium, magnesium and vitamin K) and salmon (3oz = 100% RDA of vitamin D) will go a long way in strengthening and maintaining strong, healthy bones.

By the way – Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring! Eating Mother Nature’s rainbow (aka lots of different whole foods) adds a variety of flavors and colors to your diet, but it doesn’t stop there.  It’s fueling your body with the essential and supportive vitamins and minerals your body needs as well. Think of all these benefits as motivation to add color to your plate! And you’ll get that photo-worthy plate shot for IG too!

Need a couple healthy snack ideas today? My 101 Healthy Snacks eBook rounds up some of my favorites –  providing some fresh ideas to keep your plate clean and your body lean.

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