By Sara McGlothlin with Share the Health Nutrition LLC

When one thinks about getting “wedding ready,” too often it is about losing weight or fitting into a dress. Brides and grooms try crash dieting only to resort to previous patterns and behaviors as soon as the bouquet is tossed and the pictures are taken. Not only does this tactic hinder sustainable change, but it can lead to low energy, increased cravings, poor sleep, and mood irritability. No one wants to be “hangry” on their wedding day! One wants to feel confident, comfortable, and calm on their big day. Fortunately, nutrition can be used in a way that sets you up for success. Nature provides a bounty of beauty foods! Whether you are a bride or groom-to-be, or simply want another reason why to eat more real foods, here is a list of those “feel good” foods that nourish from the inside out.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Although one may consider it acidic to the taste, ACV is alkalizing in the body when consumed, meaning it works to balance our internal pH. Start the day by adding it to a tall glass of warm water, which jumpstarts metabolism and digestion while detoxifying the liver. Make sure you get the raw, organic version “with the mother.”

Share the Health Nutrition Wedding Diets Richmond Weddings Healthy Food

Avocados are an amazing source of healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals that work to nourish your hair and skin from the inside out. The antioxidants specifically ward off free radicals to protect your skin from fine lines, wrinkles, and other age-related issues.

Bee Pollen
Tiny but mighty, bee pollen is packed with nutrients to support healthy skin, hair, nails, mood, and energy. Not only is bee pollen a complete source of protein, but it’s chock full of B vitamins, which are necessary for brain function.

Share the Health Nutrition Wedding Diets Richmond Weddings Healthy Food

The deep blue coloring can be attributed to anthocyanin, an antioxidant compound that protects your skin from free radical damage. This, in combination with their vitamin C content (another powerful antioxidant), increases collagen production, keeping your skin looking young and firm.

Chia Seeds
Chia is full of nutrition: calcium, iron, fiber, omega- 3’s, magnesium, and protein. The omega-3’s specifically strengthen your cells and reduce inflammation. Studies have also shown that zinc (also found in chia) kills off acne-causing bacteria for clear skin.

Share the Health Nutrition Wedding Diets Richmond Weddings Healthy Food

Coconut Oil
Chemically speaking, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride, meaning it bypasses the liver and immediately gets converted to energy in the body (not stored as fat). It also contains lauric acid, an antimicrobial that kills viruses, yeast, and bacteria. Healthy fats (and this type of saturated fat in particular) are essential for healthy cells and skin.

Similar to the nutritional profiles of chia and flax, hemp has a nutty taste and texture. The high content of essential fatty acids works to boost immunity, fight aging skin, and reduce inflammation. Additionally, studies have shown that the linolenic acid found in hemp helps to heal psoriasis and eczema.

Nut/Seed Milk
There is a whole world beyond your unsweetened almond milk, especially if you have the ability to make your own. Try making milk made from cashews (which contain copper to promote healthy hair and eyes), pumpkin seeds (a good source of zinc for clear skin), and brazil nuts (an excellent source of selenium, an anti-aging compound, and natural mood booster).

Share the Health Nutrition Wedding Diets Richmond Weddings Healthy Food

This blue-green alga is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Among its many benefits, spirulina promotes healthy digestion, boosts immunity, and increases energy. The combination of tyrosine, tocopherol, and selenium makes this one potent superfood for healthy skin as it increases cell metabolism and turnover.

The sesame seed paste contains a whole host of B vitamins, which are not only necessary for good mood and memory but also contribute to a healthy nervous system. The omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and calcium content help to keep skin clean, hair healthy, and nails strong.

Sara McGlothlin is a Health and Nutrition Coach based in Richmond, VA. In her practice, she focuses on weight loss, emotional eating, food intolerances/sensitivities, digestive issues and increasing energy and overall wellbeing. She founded her health coaching practice Share the Health Nutrition in the spring of 2014 and has been working with clients ever since.