Foods that improve your looks

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Published January 06, 2013

| Askmen.com

Rather than shelling out for that ultra-hydrating anti-aging exfoliator, reach for the fridge instead. You can affect the way you look by what you eat. Adding a few varied ingredients to your diet is easy, practical and an inexpensive way to improve your looks (brightening your eyes, preventing hair loss and clearing up your skin). Check out our guide to the foods that can turn you into someone’s attractive dinner date.

Spinach

Popeye’s favorite won’t necessarily make your muscles bulge like the pipe-smoking Pipsqueak (although they do make them more efficient), but spinach is rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that are great for keeping the whites of your eyes clear — a particular benefit if you happen to be a frequent flier on the Vegas red eye. Spinach is great in salads and curries, among other things. The iron-rich green is a perfect accompaniment to steak. Fry or broil a steak to your liking and cook some spinach in a pan with no water, squeezing off any excess after a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in some heavy cream and crumbled blue cheese. Season and serve, sitting your steaks on top of the spinach so the juices drizzle through.

Eggs

These ever-ready sources of energy often make the quickest and easiest late-night dinners –– eggs over-easy on buttered toast or stuffed into a bagel are the go-to choices for a satisfying snack. Eggs are high in iron, which can help prevent hair loss (wish someone had told me that when I was younger) and are also high in sulfur (the “bad egg” smell we associate with stink bombs in school), which helps keep your hair soft and smooth.

A Fiorentina pizza combines the powers of both the spinach and the eggs. If you don’t order takeout, grab a pre-made pizza base and spread on some tomato sauce (not ketchup, you at the back). Again, pre-made is fine, but try and find one without additives. Slap on loads of baby spinach and make a little nest in the middle. Crack in an egg, grate over loads of Parmesan and season with plenty of black pepper; bake on high for 10 minutes till the pizza is golden and the egg yolk is still runny.

Bananas

A banana is a bit of a freaky eat in that it keeps your skin nice and elastic. Try this little experiment: Grab a few people of differing ages and gently pinch the skin on the back of their wrists. Pull it up and release. The quicker it goes back, the more elastic it is. Things like smoking cigarettes do loads of damage to the elasticity in your birthday suit, and the potassium in bananas can help with this, as bananas are foods that can improve your looks.

You can’t get better than a classic banana split done posh. Halve your banana, scoop in some vanilla bean and good-quality chocolate ice cream, pour over 70 percent chocolate sauce, add salted butterscotch sauce, and scatter over chopped hazelnuts and sour cherries. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. If you’re on a health kick, go for a healthy option. Halve the banana, spoon over some thick natural yogurt, drizzle over honey, and add the nuts and cherries along with some granola for extra crunch.

Red cabbage

The more common white’s bright-purple cousin is packed with sulfur and iodine; these both help with the cleansing of your insides. Keeping your insides running smoothly and healthily is incredibly important for ridding your body of toxins, which can effect things like your skin. If you suffer from acne, maintaining a healthy inside is as important, if not more so, than any product you can use on your skin. Fight the battle both ways. Red cabbage is great pickled and is dead easy to consume. Take half a red cabbage and finely shred it into strips.

In a pan, boil together four parts water, two parts white-wine vinegar and one part sugar with a few allspice berries and a bay leaf. Allow to cool and pour over the shredded cabbage. Add a sliced chili or two if you like. Seal and store in the refrigerator. This is mind-numbingly good on a pulled pork sandwich, a burger or a dog.

Beets

Our purple pals (or yellow, rainbow or even pink) are a strong ally in the fight to keeping up our appearances. Beetroot contains betaine, which is a bioactive agent that helps with the breakdown of fats. Their juice also contains a form of chlorine that aids digestion by doing the same thing. Now, beet juice might not be the most appealing thing, but you should still be able to get a fair whack of beet goodness from eating them in their natural state.

Consider adding a tablespoon or two of beetroot juice to your salad. If you haven’t eaten beets before, there is a remarkable side effect, but we’ll leave you to discover that on your own.

Grapeseed oil

This newly fashionable oil is bright golden, perfect for drizzling over salads or on Italian bread. It's used in cosmetics now as a skin softener but it is also rich in vitamin E, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. That might sound like an advert for an expensive skin cream, but you can pick up a bottle of this stuff for around $10 in health food stores. Use it as you would olive oil. It has a decent smoke point, which means it great for frying, or stick it in salad dressings and marinades. Griddle some bread on a barbecue or under a broiler; pour over some grapeseed oil, a drizzle of good balsamic and sea salt flakes; it's the perfect start to a meal._________________________________________________________________________

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Turkey

You might overlook your nails, but a sexy woman at the bar won’t. Girls look at stuff like nails, teeth, hair and how clean your ears are; they want to know you’re looking after yourself. So, don’t overlook the importance of nail health. The good news: It’s dead easy. Make sure a) you’re getting enough water in your diet and b) you’re getting enough protein. That’s not carte blanche to eat steaks for the rest of the week and nothing else. As you’ve guessed from reading this, a varied diet full of lots of fruit and vegetables, particularly the brightly colored ones, is integral to maintaining those boyish good looks. A turkey soup would be a great starting point as you’ll be taking in liquids as well. Try a Thai-style fiery Tom Yum with shredded turkey. The chilies will leave you buzzing from the endorphins, too.

Guava

A last addition to our list of foods that improve your looks are guavas. Guavas are high in antioxidants to counteract the free radicals that cause skin damage and will leave you looking prematurely old. You actually don’t even need to eat it if you aren’t a fan. Just squish the flesh into submission and rub it on your skin, but wash it off before you head out on the town. They’re also rich in vitamin C, containing five times as much as the humble orange. To top it off, they have a whole host of other health benefits. The best way to eat these bad boys is either in a fruit salad or straight up with a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.

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