What You Need to Eat to Look and Feel Beautiful

Let's be honest... words such as diet and nutrition immediately conjure up images of women (and men) trying all sorts of eating and fitness fads to lose weight. Diet has almost become a dirty word - deprivation and tastelessness all together in one unappetizing meal, with, of course, the proviso that all meals be like that. Nutrition doesn't fare much better either. Perhaps it is the association with diet, but nutrition has its own share of bleak and depressing images. All in all, these two words seem to leave the listener convinced that a) these are only required by those who wish to lose weight or sick people and b) following a nutritious diet means depriving yourself of all that tastes good and basically starving.

Actually, the cheeseburger and soda or the salad and freshly squeezed juice that you are downing while reading this - both are diets. The relative healthfulness is a different matter. Just remember this - what goes in will come out. Either in the form of healthy hair, glowing skin and a healthy state of being or in the form of skin breakouts, dull hair and unhealthy weight gain - your diet will show up on your body. As a woman with a hectic lifestyle - professional or personal - you need to ensure that you are putting in the right fuel for your body. You are, after all, what you eat.

Of course, this might immediately bring up visions of starvation diets. That does not have to be the case, however. Health and taste need not be exclusive of each other and most often aren't. What you need to do is find out what works for you and what you enjoy. You will feel the benefits of proper diet and nutrition in the short and long run - both in terms of energy and health and in terms of how you look.

Here are some foods that, when added to your diet, will definitely add to your health and looks. Nobody, however, can accuse them of being tasteless:

• Cranberries - I do not mean the fruit juices available in the market. No, what you need is the actual berry. Cranberry has a surprising benefit - it keeps your teeth and gums bacteria-free. Yes, cranberry has compounds which keep the bacteria away and gives you that perfect smile. The processed juice on the other hand - well, the amount of sugar it has isn't very good for either your teeth or your weight.

• Yogurt - This in any form is a health powerhouse. Yogurt has a lot of healthful bacterial cultures that are great for you. The fact that it has fewer calories doesn't hurt either. In the form known as Greek yogurt, it has lower carbs, sugar, and lactose while packing on the proteins. This isn't just good news for those who are trying to lose weight. It actually helps vegetarians with their protein intake and even works for those who are lactose-intolerant. Just watch out for the saturated fats. There are low-fat and fat-free versions available.

• Watermelon - This fruit is symbolic of summers - more specifically, the cool you can find during the hottest summers. So, it should come as no surprise that the fruit is also full of lycopene - an antioxidant that repairs the damage done by ultraviolet rays to your skin. You still need the sunscreen, but this acts as an excellent addition to help keep your skin looking younger.

• Kidney Beans - If you're looking at Rapunzel as an inspiration - in other words, you want the long locks - you need to ensure that they won't start thinning out and breaking off as they grow longer and for that you need protein. Kidney beans have this in spades and also come packed with biotin and iron among other nutrients. Say goodbye to brittle, easily breakable hair - the biotin in kidney beans is essential to prevent this problem.

• Pomegranate - This fruit is essentially a powerhouse packed full of goodness for your skin. It is chock full of antioxidants that help reduce the effects of aging on your skin. It also helps to regenerate skin cells, gives you vitamin C, which is great for both immunity and, you guessed it, anti-aging and its juice acts as a great moisturizer. That's not all. The seeds can be used to exfoliate dead cells on your skin.

• Oysters - If you're a seafood fan, then this one is dead easy. Oysters are supposed to be great for your sex drive. But that's not all. The same zinc that helps with vaginal lubrication also prevents too much oiliness when it comes to your skin thus reducing your chances of suffering from acne. So, for a great sex life - eat oysters. Aside the fact that they are amazing for your skin you can also consider an unexpected bonus.

• Carrots - Ever heard how eating carrots is good for your eyes? They contain beta-carotene, which is great for your eyes and eyesight. They also contain falcarinol, a naturally-occurring pesticide that actually reduces the risk for cancer. The beta-carotene and vitamin A also protect your skin from the sun and thus boost the anti-aging mechanism.

• Wild Salmon - All you fish lovers out there - rejoice! Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids which help to keep your skin hydrated. These also work as natural mood-boosters. Of course, those of you who enjoy seafood didn't really need those reasons, did you?

• Water - Last but not the least, the humble H2O. Water is perhaps the most underrated drink out there. Not only does it assist in pretty much all the processes that keep us alive, but drinking certain, healthy amount on a daily basis cleanses your body of impurities and toxins, an effect that shows on your skin. Your metabolism functions properly when you drink enough water: something that again helps in controlling your weight.