How your diet can help you have thicker hair, younger-looking skin and stronger nails.

Melanie Rud Chadwick

Pictured Recipe: Ceviche-Stuffed Avocados

What you eat helps take care of your body fromt the inside out. Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. But what you eat also affects how you look on the outside. Here's three key foods and nutrients to eat for better hair, skin and nails. And why not eat to look good too?

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Vitamin D for Hair

Pictured Recipe: Salmon & Asparagus with Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce

For shampoo-commercial hair, up your vitamin D. Women with thinning tresses had nearly five times lower blood levels of vitamin D than those with fuller hair, according to Egyptian researchers. Other research in mice suggests that vitamin D helps create new hair follicles and wake up dormant ones. Falling short on this nutrient can lead to other health issues, so listen to what your hair is telling you and ask your doc for a blood test. And aim to get 600 IU of vitamin D daily, from salmon (450 IU in 3 oz.), canned tuna (154 IU in 3 oz.), milk (115 IU per cup) or eggs (41 IU each).

Get more vitamin-D-rich recipes here.

Healthy Fats for Skin

Pictured Recipe: Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches

When it comes to eating for better skin, "no fat" is no good. In a study, Japanese women on a low-fat diet (50 grams of total fat daily) had less skin elasticity than those who ate 74 g per day. And women who ate only 14 g of saturated fat had more wrinkles than those who got 23 g (which is the recommended upper limit in the U.S.). Fat is a building block of skin tissue, so enjoying a healthy dose may help keep your face looking younger. Some evidence suggests that going overboard on fat may make wrinkles worse, so balance is key. Healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, fish and nuts.

More: Healthy Recipes for Glowing Skin

Silicon for Nails

Pictured Recipe: Mango-Date Energy Bites

A Pinterest-worthy mani starts with healthy fingertips. And if you've got brittle nails (super common!), the solution may be silicon. Women who took a 10 mg silicon supplement daily for five months had stronger nails (and hair), according to Belgian researchers. The mineral strengthens keratin, the protein nails are made of. Get this nutrient from green beans (8 mg per ¾ cup), dates (3 mg each), bananas (5 mg each) and best of all, beer. One study found silicon levels range from 3 to 27 mg per 16 ounces, with brews containing high levels of malted barley and hops, like double IPAs, boasting the most. Prost!

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