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Beauty From the Inside Out: Foods to Strengthen Hair, Skin and Nails

USMagazine, Friday, March 29, 2013, 6:10am (PDT)

Eager to revamp your beauty regimen but not break the bank? Look no further than your kitchen pantry! Everything from olive oil to walnuts to even chili can heal, strengthen and moisturize your body in just minutes a day.

Stock up on these eight foodstuffs -- and file away tips from stars like Jessica Alba and Lucy Liu -- to keep your body luscious well into bikini season.

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HAIROlive oil: The healthy fat moistens the scalp from within. For an external boost, use it as a roots-to-ends conditioner. (Rinse after 20 minutes.) Its vitamin E "neutralizes damage caused by free radicals in the air," says Chrissy Wellington, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch, where Shakira unwinds.Fortified cereal: Look for a blend with 18 milligrams of iron per bowl -- the mineral helps blood deliver oxygen to hair. Says dietitian Lisa Drayer, author of The Beauty Diet, "Without iron, your hair can become dry and brittle."Walnuts: Just four per day yields results! The nuts are full of protein (a building block for locks) and omega-3 fatty acids, "which moisturize hair," says dietitian Dan Fenyvesi of Rancho La Puerta spa (a Kate Winslet fave). "Plus, they fight skin inflammation to prevent dandruff."Celeb hair secret: Jessica Alba's DIY hair conditioner: a mask of olive oil and avocado.

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SKINGrapefruit: Indulge in one a day. The fruit delivers 100 percent of your daily vitamin C, which "stimulates collagen growth," says Drayer. Translation: firmer skin, fewer wrinkles!Sweet potatoes: Bodies convert spuds' beta-carotene into vitamin A, says Drayer. (Try for one per day.) The nutrient, which acts like a retinoid, helps control acne.Dark chocolate: Cocoa flavanols soften skin, says Drayer. And a study found they may also increase skin's natural UV protection! Choose at least 70 percent cacao -- and stick to 20 grams a day.Celeb skin secret: Lucy Liu credits her glow to daily grapefruit juice: "It's detoxifying!"

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NAILSGreek yogurt: Start each day with 1 cup: Its protein (20 to 30 grams!) strengthens nails' keratin layers, says Wellington, and its calcium (more than 20 percent of a daily dose) helps tips chip less.Honey: Try 1 teaspoon each day. The antifungal properties, says Wellington, "prevent nails from becoming brittle."Chili: Without enough iron, nails become weak, says Fenyveski. Feast on three bowls of bean-and-meat chili per week -- or add other iron-rich foods (leafy greens, mollusks) to meals.Celeb nail secret: Vanessa Hudgens loves spinach -- which is loaded with iron!

This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Beauty From the Inside Out: Foods to Strengthen Hair, Skin and Nails

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