Certain foods can hold two-fold benefits for your health, thanks to naturally occurring compounds. Some of these benefits can help improve your appearance, providing potent anti-aging tools or quick-fix solutions for common beauty problems. Others will improve your longevity and boost your immunity, protecting your heart, and even arming you against the common cold.
Enjoy the whole-body benefits of incorporating the following foods into your diet.
Double Duty Food #1: Kiwi
Inside Benefit: Eat one kiwi a day to bolster your immunity. Just one kiwi provides you with more than the 100% of the vitamin C you need daily. Vitamin C may help reduce levels of stress hormones, according to studies, as prolonged periods of stress deplete levels of vitamin C in the adrenal glands. Stress can negatively impact your immune system. Be proactive by consuming appropriate amounts of vitamin C and improve your body’s ability to fight off colds and infection.
Outside Benefit: To improve a tired appearance, try kiwis instead of cucumbers. Kiwi is loaded with vitamin K, which is know to reduce puffiness and dark circles around your eyes. Place chilled slices of kiwi on your eyes for 15 minutes.
Double Duty Food #2: Eggplant
Inside Benefit: Nasunin, the antioxidant found in the purple skin of eggplants, is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. Nasunin helps eliminate the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, keeping your heart and the cardiovascular system healthy.
Roast eggplant slices in the oven with some olive oil to reap this benefit. You can also try this Eggplant Bruschetta recipe – make sure to eat the skin!
Outside Benefit: Eggplant can help fade age spots. Make a face mask by blending 1 cup of eggplant, skin on, with a half-cup of yogurt. Apply to your face for at least 20 minutes. You should look for results to show up in about 10 days.
Double Duty Food #3: Red Chili Peppers
Inside Benefit: Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that gives spicy peppers their zing. Some studies indicate that capsaicin may be helpful in slightly lowering triglycerides and preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, reducing your risk for heart disease. Add raw red chilis to your soups and salads.
Outside Benefit: Want thicker, healthier hair? Mix cayenne pepper, made from ground red chilis, with water to create a hair mask. Red chili peppers trigger blood circulation to the scalp, which can enhances hair's nourishment and growth.