Skin-Friendly Beauty Foods
It's the synergy between vitamins and nutrients in naturally occurring food that creates the optimal benefits, Jacobs believes.

Jacobs isn't against supplements; he believes they're beneficial for people with deficiencies and other medical needs. But most people should get their nutrients from food, he said. "The totality of the diet is what's important. What we're eating -- plant or animal -- previously was a living organism and the closer it is to that form, the better."

TEETH

It follows that whatever you eat affects your teeth and gums.

But sugars are not the only culprit. Even a whole-wheat roll can be damaging. Carb-based foods like breads and crackers tend to have a chewy texture that makes it easier for them to get caught between teeth and under the gum line, where bacteria can accumulate.

If you have carbs at a meal, rather than as a snack, you can curb the negatives. When you eat larger amounts of food, you produce more saliva, which helps wash food particles away, says the American Dietetic Association.

Some foods and drinks that may, surprisingly, help keep teeth healthy: Cranberries, black and green teas, even raisins. Researchers have found that a compound in cranberries can stop bacteria from clinging to the teeth, blocking the formation of damaging plaque deposits. (But because many cranberry products are loaded with sugar and consuming large amounts could lead to tooth decay, don't overindulge.)

Black and green teas contain polyphenols, antioxidants that prevent plaque and help reduce chances of developing cavities and gum disease. There's also evidence that tea has potential for reducing bad breath because it inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause odor. Many teas also contain fluoride from the leaves and the water they're steeped in, which helps protect teeth from decay.

Although they may seem sweet and sticky, raisins contain compounds that fight bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study. DePaola, the Nova dentist, also recommends low-fat cheese, yogurt and even some fish for calcium, which helps re-mineralize the enamel on teeth.

HEALTHY HAIR

Going on a low-calorie fad diet may be the worst thing you can do to your hair. Diets are often low in important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin A, which can stunt hair growth and lead to dullness or even hair loss.

Your hair grows up to a half-inch every month and the foundation for all that new hair, skin and nail growth is the nutrients we eat. If you were born with fine, thin hair, no food will give you thick locks. But a well-balanced diet can make a difference, nutrition experts say.

Spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard are good sources of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, as well as ample iron, zinc, and biotin.