It's one of the top dating myths -- that "it's only what's on the inside that counts." While it's true, in a spiritual sense, this cliche too often serves as justification for a lazy disregard of one's appearance.
Men being visual creatures when it comes to dating, it's important to observe the first and most important of The Rules, which is "to be a creature unlike any other." This means taking care of ourselves, and while the authors emphasize "working out and eating right" in a general sense, science has now identified a few whole-food nutrients with targeted beauty benefits.
Based on this research, here are a few beauty superfoods I recommend all my coaching clients include in their diets:
Red Bell Peppers, a cup of which provides 340% of your daily vitamin C needs. Why do you need it? Because a British study of over 4,000 American women found more visible signs of aging (thinning skin, wrinkles, dryness) among those with the lowest intake of Vitamin C. Other top sources: Kiwi, Pineapple, Strawberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts.
Of course, we know the biggest cause of wrinkles is sun damage. While proper sun protection is your best defense, nutrition also plays a role. For example:
Butternut squash, a cup of which provides over 450% of your daily beta-carotene, which was found to help protect skin cells against the kind of UV damage that can lead to age spots and wrinkles. Other top sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin and spinach.
Guava is the top source lycopene, also found to offer some protection against sun burn. In fact, one study showed 33% less sunburn among those fed lycopene-rich tomatoes. Watermelon and nutrition powerhouse red bell peppers are also lycopene-rich.
Walnuts to soothe irritated, dry skin. They're a top source of the omega-3 fatty acids found to help skin retain more water and diminish redness. Other top omega-3 sources: Black Cod, Salmon, Flaxseeds.
If all else fails and you decide that despite all the dieting and exercising, you still need a little extra help, as in nip & tuck? Turn to...
Pineapple, to speed your post-op recovery. It's the only source of bromelain, an anti-inflammatory, protein-digesting enzyme, which can help you heal faster.
What should you avoid, diet-wise, to maintain a youthful appearance? Too much sugar, for one thing. Excess sugar creates toxins that trigger inflammation, increase free-radical damage and undermine collagen and elastin fibers. Processed and charred meats are also high in such toxins. Other research has found a high-fat diet tends to make women look older than their age.
The good news about all this is that even if you don't give a hoot about your looks, following these dietary tips will benefit your health. And what could be more important than that?