Eating right is very important for your overall health, and when you fill yourself up with the right kind of fruits and vegetables it shows up in your skin and hair – radiance. “Skin is our largest organ, so what you eat, shows up on your skin. If your diet has too much of salt, sugar or alcohol, your skin will look patchy, dry, puffy and old. But if your diet has water rich fruits, right oils, colourful vegetables, then your skin and hair will shine with health. There is a direct correlation,” says Kanika Malhotra, Senior Clinical Nutritionist, HealthCare at Home, Delhi. Our hectic lifestyle, pollution, sun exposure ensure that our body experiences a faster rate of degeneration, so your skin and hair start to show signs of aging faster, they look unhealthy lot earlier. So here’s what you can do to save your skin and hair:
Worry: Dull, lack luster skin
Cause: Stress, lack of sleep, fatigue, aging, lack of iron
Beauty food: Carrots, beets, pumpkin, ghee, turmeric
How it cures: Orange coloured foods like carrots, pumpkin are rich in phytochemicals called carotenoids which protects the skin from damage and adds a natural glow to the skin. Beets are rich in iron, which improves the haemoglobin in the skin resulting in a fresh look. The best way to have them is to add few cubes of beet and carrots together with lemon juice and zip together for a glow-inducing drink. Pumpkins can be boiled and mashed, or made into a sweet halwa. Turmeric is rich in iron, so eating some crushed turmeric root first thing in the morning with honey does a whole lot of good. Add a teaspoon of ghee to your rice or dal daily, and see your skin and hair get lustrous.
Worry: Acne breakout
Cause: Stress, overactive oil glands, toxin build-up in the body
Beauty food: Chirata, ginger root, neem, apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds
How it cures: Both chirata or Indian gentian, and ginger root help in removing toxins from the body. Soak chirata sticks in water overnight and drink it in the morning daily to detox your body. Neem is a natural antiseptic that prevents bacterial infection on the skin. A teaspoon or two of neem leaf juice might be bitter but very beneficial for clearing out blemishes. Dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and sip through the day – it has a good amount of probiotics that detoxify the body. Add a dash of toasted pumpkin seeds to your salad to get your dose of zinc which helps in drying out pruritic acne.
Worry: Puffy eyes
Cause: Water retention caused by excessive salt intake
Beauty food: Bananas, sweet potatoes, turmeric
How it cures: Add a dose of potassium to your diet through bananas, sweet potatoes, and crushed fresh turmeric root. This mineral helps minimise the effects of sodium in the body, and helps flush out the extra from the body.
Worry: Dark circles
Cause: Anemia, constricted blood vessels around the eyes
Beauty food: Spinach, arugula, mustard leaves (sarson ka saag)
How it cures: Spinach is very rich in lutein which keeps eyes healthy and sparkling. Spinach is also rich in iron which ensures that your haemoglobins levels remain stable. The vitamin K in spinach also strengthens the blood vessels which reduce dark circles. Arugula or rocket leaves are rich is folic acid, and vitamin B complex which help in dealing with nervous system issues. Both arugula, and spinach add the much needed fiber and water to the body, which flush out the toxins effectively.
Worry: Dry brittle hair and nails
Cause: Lack of vitamin B, and protein
Beauty food: Avocado, flaxseed
How it cures: Avocado is a good source of biotin, which is a form of vitamin B that is needed by the body to metabolise amino acids, the essential ingredient for healthy skin, hair, nails, and nerves. Flaxseed adds that necessary essential fatty acid for shiny and smooth texture of your hair.
Worry: More strands on your comb than you would like
Cause: Stress, lack of protein in the body, hormonal imbalance
Beauty food: Eggs, lentils and kidney beans
How it cures: Protein is the most important macronutrient our body needs for healthy skin and hair. Hair strands are made up of keratin, which is a protein derivative. Egg, lentils and kidney beans are all well-known sources of protein. So add an egg daily to prevent hair fall and breakage as the protein strengthens the keratin links in the hair. If you eat pure vegetarian food, then have a lentil soup or dal daily for the same result.