As cliché as it may sound, you are what you eat. What we put into our body on a regular basis is the most important influence on how we look, feel and think every day.
Registered dietician, Nature’s Origin spokesperson and founder of B Nutritious, Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., is a Dr. Oz-approved health expert with years of experience. We spoke with her about how what we eat can affect our hair, nails, skin and post-workout recovery.
theFashionSpot: What are some foods you recommend that people eat every day?
Brooke Alpert: I want all my clients to be eating a variety of foods every day. That said, green leafy vegetables should be a twice daily requirement for almost every single person out there, excluding anyone with a health issue that would affect that, like blood thinners.
tFS: Is there any food that you would avoid at all cost?
BA: I prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners whenever possible. It’s easy to do, but you have to be diligent about reading ingredients in everything you eat and in the supplements you take. It’s amazing how sneaky those sugar substitutes can be!
tFS: How can what we eat affect our skin? What are the best foods to eat for glowing skin?
BA: As cliché as it may sound, you are what you eat. What we put into our body on a regular basis is the most important influence on how we look, feel and think every day. Skin is a great reflector of how well we are treating our body. One of the most important food groups to be eating for your skin is healthy fats. Fat is essential in our diet and healthy skin can only happen with the right amount of healthy fats. That’s one of the many reasons I always have clients take an omega-3 supplement, especially if they are not fish eaters, which is one of the best sources of these fatty acids out there! Other great skin foods are anything with high antioxidant content. The best way to figure out which ones those are is to choose foods that are deeply rich in colors — deep blue blueberries, blackberries, dark green kale, spinach and more. The more saturated the color of the food, the more likely the higher in antioxidants it is.
tFS: Which foods should we eat and which should we avoid to combat bloating?
BA: The worst offenders when it comes to bloating are salt and alcohol. Avoid them whenever possible if you’re fighting that nasty bloating feeling. The best things to eat to beat the bloat are first, to consume more water, which will help keep your system moving, then add in important foods like asparagus, dandelion greens and ginger. Also, make sure you’re taking a daily probiotic to help support your overall digestive health!
tFS: Can diet affect hair/nail health? If so, how and any tips?
BA: Just like your skin, your diet can show itself in your hair and nails. The healthy fats from omega-3s are really imperative to gorgeous locks, as a deficiency can result in dry scalp and dull hair. Biotin, found in egg yolks, is also a great vitamin for hair and nails and is one of the many reasons I recommend eating whole eggs. Also, eating an adequate amount of protein is essential for hair and nail health. Both are actually made of protein structures, so without enough protein in your diet, your hair and nails don’t stand a chance!
tFS: Is there anything we can eat/drink to help avoid muscle soreness after a workout?
BA: Magnesium-rich foods are a great way to help with muscle soreness after exercise. Magnesium is a natural relaxer for your body, so after a hard workout, make sure to eat bananas, beans, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal or green, leafy veggies.
tFS: What are some of the healthiest things we can eat that are in-season for summer?
BA: After a winter like we have had this year, everyone is enjoying the warm weather, but I’m most excited about the produce that comes with this season. Fresh berries and all fruits get me the most excited about warm days. I even find my clients are more satisfied with having salads for their lunch once spring is here because vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers taste so much better! Head to your local farmers market in the next few weeks and you’ll see just how gorgeous and vibrant all the seasonal fruits and veggies are. Yum!
tFS: If people want to buy supplements, what should they be looking for? What should they make sure to avoid? Any brands you can recommend?
BA: I tell my clients to look at supplements the same way they would look at food. The most important thing you can do is to read the ingredients — see what’s in the product you’re taking. It’s amazing when you start looking at the ingredient list for both foods and supplements to see all the extra stuff you may be consuming without even knowing. Nature’s Origin supplements are free from any artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives or artificial flavors. Those are some of the many reasons I’m such a fan.
tFS: The latest research seems to point to supplements not being effective, or worse, dangerous. What are your thoughts on that?
BA: In spite of what these studies claim, there are widely-documented, proven benefits of taking vitamins and supplements. Government research has shown repeatedly that Americans’ typical diet falls short on critical nutrients. Vitamins and supplements can help meet nutritional shortfalls. Of course, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about what nutrients you might need to determine which supplements are right for you.
tFS: What’s the best way to take supplements to insure they are more likely to be effective?
BA: The first most important way to take supplements is to figure out when you are most likely not to forget to take them. I’d rather they be slightly less effective but taken regularly than taken at the ideal time but forgotten frequently. Any fat-soluble vitamin (A,D,E,K) should be taken with food to help aid in absorption of the nutrients. If any vitamins, minerals or supplements upset your stomach, then try taking them before going to bed — it often makes it more tolerable.
tFS: Any supplements that you find are particularly underrated/overrated?
BA: No supplement is going to be the miracle cure that people are always on the search for, but supplements can help in your everyday feeling of well-being, energy and overall health. Vitamin D, which is thankfully finally getting the recognition it deserves, is one of the most necessary vitamins that I think almost everyone should be taking.