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Ten Nigerian Foods That Will Make You Look Younger

By eating the right foods, you can do a lot for your beauty besides reducing your waistline and boosting your immunity. The right foods can help get rid of wrinkles, give your hair a healthy shine and strengthen your nails, leaving you looking hot and ravishing.

According to an expert, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, “Your diet directly affects your day-to-day appearance and plays a significant role in how well you age,”  The right approach, he believes, is to create a plan that includes what he calls “the building blocks of healthy skin and hair”—nutrients, minerals and fatty acids—as well as antioxidants to protect your body from damaging environmental stresses.

Guess what, you can get some of these items right here in our neck of the world, and have people comment on your younger, fresher looking skin on a daily basis.

1. Coffee

Having a cup of coffee every morning not only jump-starts your day—coffee also contains bioactive compounds that may help protect your skin from melanoma (skin cancer), according to a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in the United States. Researchers found that the more coffee people drank, the less likely they were to get the disease: Those drinking four cups daily had a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma over a 10-year period than non-coffee drinkers.

2. Watermelon

Watermelon and tomatoes are loaded with lycopene. This antioxidant compound gives watermelon and tomatoes their red color—and helps skin fight off damage caused by ultra violet (UV) light from the sun. Researchers believe that the melon contains as much as 40 percent more of the phytochemical than raw tomatoes.

3. Guavas

This fruit is bursting with antioxidants, like vitamin C, that prevent fine lines, wrinkles and dryness by neutralizing the free radicals that weather skin. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher vitamin C intake lessened the likelihood of dryness and wrinkles in middle-aged women.

4. Eggs

Your fingernails (toenails, too) are made of protein, so a deficiency can turn the nails soft. Keep yours thick and mani-pedi-ready by consuming eggs, which are also a good source of biotin, a B complex vitamin that metabolizes amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein..

5. Avocado

These creamy rich fruits are high in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that helps skin retain moisture in the outer layer to keep it soft, plump and supple.

6. Cantaloupe

Now commonly found in Nigeria, this sweet melon contains beta carotene, or vitamin A, which is believed to regulate the growth of skin cells on your scalp and sebum in the skin’s outer layer. This keeps pores from getting clogged and causing flakes.

7. Bell Peppers

Boost your radiance by having some of these plump spicy fruits. Bell peppers supply vitamins C and E - two antioxidants that work in tandem to brighten skin, even out tone and fight off free-radical damage. The red variant is known to contain the highest concentration of vitamin C.

8. Spinach

This leafy green vegetable's many nutrients include vitamin K (it promotes healthy blood clotting, so the blood vessels around the eyes don’t leak and cause eye shadows) and loads of iron. Insufficient levels of iron in your diet can cause your skin to look pale, making it easier to spot blood vessels under the skin. Spinach is also a good source of vitamin A, C & E, all micronutrients that are excellent for your skin. To get the maximum benefits out of spinach, it is best to eat it cooked, not raw.

9. Crabs

High in zinc, shellfish has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat a range of skin annoyances, acne included. "Zinc accelerates the renewal of skin cells,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “That’s why you find the nutrient in many acne medications.” In fact, research shows that people with acne have lower levels of zinc than people with clear skin.

10. Cashew Nuts

Where to start with the action packed cashew nut? As one of the major producers in the world of cashew nut, Nigeria is blessed with the food which is sometimes known as nature’s vitamin pill. It is packed with micro nutrients such as zinc and selenium which are good for the skin. And with a high copper content, too, cashew nut consumption helps the body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin.

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