I must admit that, unless it's some French toast on sourdough bread or maybe a bowl of Raisin Bran every now and then, I'm not the biggest breakfast eater. There's no real rhyme or reason as to why other than I tend to not really be in the mood to eat until right around brunch time. Still, I did grow up having the first official meal of the day, every day. Plus, the older that I get, I can tell that when I do force myself to at least have a piece of fruit, I feel a bit more energized. That's why, lately, I've been on a mission to find ways to motivate me to eat breakfast a lot more often.
In walks the reason for this particular article. Aside from the fact that having breakfast can do things like make you more productive, increase your levels of concentration and suppress your appetite so that you don't go crazy come lunch or dinner, there are several breakfast foods that are like beauty meals for your hair and skin too.
While there are many, below I've enclosed 10. Ones that are packed with so many nutrients that you should start to see visible results within a month or so of adding these foods to your daily morning routine.
1. Almond Butter on Whole Wheat Toast
If time is tight and you don't have a ton of time to prepare a full breakfast, at least slice up an orange or tangerine (they are loaded with Vitamin C that will help your body to produce the collagen that your hair and skin need) and put some almond butter on some whole wheat toast. Almonds are full of fiber, protein and magnesium. As far as direct health benefits go, they aid in lowering your blood and cholesterol levels, plus they are good for controlling your blood sugar too.
As far as your hair and skin are concerned, almonds are filled with Vitamin E. Your hair needs that vitamin because it not only moisturizes your hair, it helps to increase your hair growth too. Your skin needs Vitamin E because it's a wonderful way to keep your skin soft, supple and moisturized.
And why whole wheat toast? It's high in fiber and aids in digestion. The more regular you are, the less toxins you'll have in your system; this results in healthy skin and hair as well.
Try this Recipe: Homemade Almond Butter
2. Oatmeal with Honey
There are all kinds of reasons why it can only do your body—and beauty needs—good if you have a hot bowl of oatmeal a couple of times a week. For starters, oats are a gluten-free grain that are packed with fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus and a ton of manganese, along with vitamins B1 and B5. The combination of these nutrients will help to keep your cholesterol levels low, your blood sugar balanced and constipation at bay.
Beauty-wise, because of the antioxidants that are in oatmeal, eating it can help to reverse any of the environmental or UV damage that's been done to your skin. And, when it comes to your hair, the copper in oats can help to prevent premature greying as the B vitamins can keep your hair moisturized. Also, if you add a little bit of honey to your oatmeal, because it's a humectant, your skin can be soft and your hair will be manageable.
Try this Recipe: The Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal
3. Whole Grain Pancakes
Whole grains are grains that are literally "whole". What that breaks down to is it's a grain that still has its endosperm, germ, and bran intact (refined grains only contain the endosperm). This means that whole grains have far more nutrients in them including protein, fiber, B vitamins, zinc and antioxidants. Whole grains also have the disease-fighting plant compounds polyphenols, stanols and sterols. All of this works together to lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, cancer and type 2 diabetes. There are even studies indicating that whole grains can aid in preventing premature death (due to health-related issues).
The antioxidants in whole grains will protect your skin from experiencing sun damage, the zinc will make your skin glow, and the traces of the mineral selenium that's also in whole grains will increase elasticity in your skin. Your hair will benefit from whole grains because the zinc will nourish your hair follicles and heal your scalp which promotes healthy hair growth.
Try this Recipe: Whole Grain Pancakes
4. Acai Bowl
I once read that an acai bowl can be summed up as being a thick smoothie that has something on top of it like oatmeal, granola, fresh fruit or even peanut or cashew butter. That's a pretty accurate description. The smoothie part of an acai bowl can give you the antioxidants your hair and skin need in order to produce collagen and elastin. If you put granola on top of it, that can improve your gut health and reduce breakouts. Peanut or cashew butter can give you more iron so that your hair is stronger.
Try this Recipe: Classic Acai Bowls (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
5. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt with Banana Slices
Greek yogurt, in a nutshell, is strained yogurt. What that means is it's processed in a way where a lot of water and lactose (and some minerals) are removed so that there are also less carbs and sugar. Greek yogurt contains plenty of protein, probiotics, potassium, calcium and Vitamin B12. This makes it the kind of breakfast food that will give you a boost of energy while strengthening your bones, increasing your brain function and keeping your immune system healthy.
Because your hair is made up of mostly protein (keratin), Greek yogurt supports strong hair and length retention. Meanwhile, B12 not only aids in repairing damaged skin cells, it also helps to regulate the production of pigmentation too. What this ultimately results in is less dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Try this Recipe: Homemade Greek Yogurt
6. Lox Toast
If, like me, you prefer the kind of foods that are more brunch than breakfast, lox toast is right up your alley. For the most part, lox toast consists of salmon, cream cheese, tomato slices and capers. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, B vitamins, protein and antioxidants. Cream cheese is also a great source of protein, plus it has quite a bit of vitamins A and B2 in it. Tomatoes are a fruit that are full of antioxidants, folate and Vitamin K, while capers are also a fruit with nutrients that help to fight fungal infections, diabetes, arthritis and even chest congestion.
The nutrients in all of these foods will make your hair stronger and your skin softer. In particular, the omega-3 in salmon can lubricate your scalp and reduce hair brittleness. When it comes to your skin, the properties in capers can reduce skin redness and inflammation, and even heal pimples and the scars that they leave behind.
Try this Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Caper Cream Cheese Toast
7. Quinoa Porridge
What exactly is porridge? Basically, it's when a grain, cereal or legume (or combination of all three) is boiled with water, milk or broth. This means that oatmeal is a kind of porridge but since we've already discussed what oats can do, let's look into another kind of grain—quinoa. Not only is quinoa gluten-free and rich in protein, it contains twice as much fiber as most other grains. Some other cool things about quinoa is it has iron, magnesium and vitamins B2, B3 and B12 which is fabulous when it comes to rebuilding muscle cells. Quinoa also has the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol; these are great at fighting body inflammation. As a bonus, quinoa has Vitamin E in it as well.
Since quinoa is one of those rare foods that is considered to be a complete protein (because it contains all nine amino acids that our body needs), you can probably guess why it's a food that's so good for your hair. Aside from it giving your locks a protein boost, the amino acids are able to repair damage that's done to your hair shaft. The B vitamins in the grain can reduce the appearance of age spots while giving you a glowing complexion (Vitamin B3 specifically is able to fight breakouts and skin inflammation). Also, the Vitamin E that's in quinoa can fight off free radicals so that your body can give your skin the collagen that it needs.
Try this Recipe:Vegan Quinoa Breakfast Porridge with Strawberries
8. Amaranth Porridge
Amaranth is another kind of grain that falls into the pseudocereal category. What that means is that while it's not technically a cereal grain like oats or wheats, it's oftentimes prepared like it's one. Amaranth is cool because it's a gluten-free grain that has fiber, protein, antioxidants, manganese, magnesium, iron, selenium and copper in it. If you eat amaranth on a consistent basis, it can lower bodily inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
Your hair will love amaranth because it contains the amino acid lysine that moisturizes your hair and prevents hair loss. Many people also find amaranth to be a grain that soothes skin, slows down the aging process, heals breakouts and improves the overall health of your skin over time.
Try this Recipe: Amaranth Porridge with Roasted Pears
9. Egg Frittata
Eggs are good for you due to the protein that's in them. Your hair is made up of mostly protein, so of course, eggs will only benefit it. As far as your skin goes, the amino acids found in eggs can help your skin to regenerate new cells so that it appears fresh and glowing.
That said, if you've ever wondered what the difference is between an omelet and a frittata, there are actually a couple of things. First, frittatas (which is means "fried" in Italian) usually consist of fillings that are put into the egg while it's in the pan (rather than folded in the center like omelets are). Also, while omelets are designed to serve only one person, because frittatas are sliced into several pieces, it is able to feed a few people. And finally, frittatas are able to be enjoyed while they are hot or even at room temperature.
Now, with that breakdown out of the way—an egg frittata made this list because of some of the basic ingredients that are in one. Ingredients like milk (protein), tomato juice (antioxidants), bone broth (it promotes collagen production) and herbs like thyme leaves (they have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties) or veggies like spinach (it's got vitamins A, C and E in it). When you cook all of these things together, it's like having a delicious multivitamin; one that works wonders for your skin as well as your hair.
Try this Recipe: Basic Egg Frittata Recipe
10. Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Let's round this list out with fruit smoothies, shall we? Something that virtually all fruits have in common is that they are loaded with antioxidants. Something else that fruit tends to be is high in carbohydrates while being low in calories; this means they are able to provide a healthy source of energy (which means you don't have to overdo it on coffee or Red Bull) without you having to worry about packing on the pounds in the process. Nutrient-wise, most fruits contain potassium, fiber, folate, iron and vitamins A, B, C and E. Basically, fruits are just what your hair, skin and nails long for. So, you can never go wrong with making yourself a fresh fruit smoothie, at least a couple of times a week. Drink up!
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