We all have that one person in our lives who has picture-perfect and flawless skin. Have you ever wondered how that friend of yours has radiant skin, even without makeup? Well, if you ask them, they probably won’t give credits only to their weekly facials or their daily skincare routine. It’s something that goes much deeper than these external aspects of beauty.
The true Ayurvedic secret behind flawless skin is eating right for your mind-body type, including some of the best foods for glowing skin.
To get healthy skin, you need not spend a fortune on cosmetics. You only need to stick to a daily skincare routine with natural products and take the right nutrition for your skin.
Ayurveda believes that treating internal issues is more crucial than external cues. So, feeding the skin is an integral part of achieving perfect and flawless skin. The right food will provide adequate nourishment, repair damaged skin cells, and fight skin allergies and infections.
There are many remedies, foods, and therapies in Ayurveda that help you maintain skin health by keeping allergies and infections at bay. So, let us learn about the different types of superfoods that Ayurveda recommends for healthy and glowing skin.
Turmeric is one of the most commonly used spices in Indian recipes for hundreds of years. It is known for its properties like blood purifying, anti-bacterial and anti-ageing properties. Turmeric also helps in reducing acne, blemishes, pigmentation and inflammation. (1)
You can add turmeric as a spice in your cooked food, or drink turmeric milk at night. You can also use it as a face mask by mixing it with rice powder, raw milk or tomato juice. Turmeric is good for all skin types ( Vata, Pitta and Kapha).
Saffron is also the most commonly used spice in India. It is best known for its skin-lightening properties. Saffron also fights with pigmentation, dark spots, and other skin blemishes.
You can consume or apply Saffron by soaking a few strands in warm milk overnight. You can also make a paste by soaking a few strands of Saffron in water and then adding two tablespoons of turmeric powder and apply to the face and neck. Saffron is best suited for Pitta and Kapha skin types. (2)
Nuts and seeds are our best friends for life as they not only kill our hunger pangs with fibre essential fatty acids and protein, but also are responsible for making your skin smooth and glowing. They are amazing for skin health as they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. Almonds are best known for keeping the skin glowing and maintaining youthfulness, whereas flaxseeds and walnuts reduce skin lesion, redness, blemishes and make it look healthier. (3)
You can have them directly or mix their powder in warm milk and drink. Nuts and seeds are great for balancing Vata. (4)
Tulsi or Holy Basil, also known as “ the queen of herbs” is the most sacred of all the herbs. It is both used for religious and medicinal purposes in India. We can find a Tulsi plant in almost all Indian households. It is rich in antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Tulsi also acts as a natural astringent and a skin and hair moisturiser. It helps in refreshing the skin, tightening skin pores, clearing skin impurities and keeping the skin allergies and infections at bay. (5) You can add tulsi to your herbal tea or warm water and drink it every morning.
Whole grain cereals contain fibre which is great for digestion. They are healthy and also tummy filling. Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and plant compounds. Some kinds of whole-grain cereals also contain Zinc, Vitamin C, iron, and other essential minerals, which keep your skin healthy and glowing, while also improving skin texture. These grains have a complete meal in itself as they are packed with a lot of benefits. (6)
Oatmeal, brown rice, millet, wild rice, wheat berry, buckwheat, barley etc. are the different varieties that include whole grains.
If you want healthy and glowing skin, then you should definitely have fruit meals. They are good for the overall health of the body. Fruits like pomegranate, papaya, berries, mangoes and prunes help you in getting a healthy glowing skin as they are rich in vitamins, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and dietary fibres. They are great for lightening the skin tone, making the overall complexion even, restoring and rebuilding the damaged skin. (7) You can also use the pulps as face masks.
Fruits like berries, pomegranates, and mangoes help make the skin pale to pink, improve skin texture, restore healthy cells, and treat dry, scaly, and rough skin.
Cucumber, also known as Kheera, is highly beneficial for the skin as it is a water-based fruit. It helps keep us hydrated and helps keep the skin cool, moist, and firm. It fights acne, protects skin from harmful UV rays, makes skin tone even, prevents wrinkles and fine lines, heals scars, offers a cooling effect on the skin, tones and tightens the skin and repairs the damaged skin cells. (8)
You can consume cucumber in many ways; you can have it in yogurt, raita, or salad. You can drink cucumber juice or apply it directly to the face and eyes.
Consuming Vitamin A and Vitamin C (also known as Ascorbic acid) rich foods will help you treat various skin issues and impart a healthy glow and radiance to it. They help you prevent premature aging, provide flawless skin, improve skin texture, protect from UV rays, decrease oxidative stress, depigment, and restore healthy skin cells.
Vitamin A and C-rich foods include carrots, tomatoes, collard, spinach, kale, sweet potato, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, papaya, bell peppers, mustard greens, beetroot, and broccoli. (9)
Vitamin C contents in food are a highly sensitive nutrient, so it is recommended to cook the food at low temperatures and for short times.
Herbal Tea is not only good for a healthy glowing and radiant skin, but also a great way to induce antioxidants into the diet. We can say that teas are one of the easiest ways to emanate beauty from inside out along with the nutritionally dense food choices because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Herbals teas help you reduce weight and boost your natural beauty. Having them regularly is a fantastic way to prevent premature ageing, add lustre to dull skin, reduce pigmentation and dark spots. (10)
The most brightly coloured and sweet ones you see with the vegetable vendors are the bell peppers. They are not only sweet and colourful, but also are very rich in Vitamin C when compared to the entire plant kingdom. You might be surprised if I say that just an ounce of raw sweet yellow bell pepper contains more than 50 mg of all-natural vitamin C. However, the red and the green ones contain approximately 35.8 and 22.5 mg respectively. (11)
Bell peppers help in repairing, regenerating, and growing healthy tissues throughout the human body. They also help provide antioxidant protection, reverse sun damage and boost collagen production, which is necessary for healthy, glowing and radiant skin.
The best way to get glowing skin with less effort and time is drinking water. Drinking less amounts of water can under-hydrate your skin, reducing the level of oxygen on the skin and tissues. Your skin cannot function at its best without the water. This results in dry, rough and dull-looking skin. So, to avoid that, drink an adequate amount of water daily.
You need to drink at least eight full glasses of water a day. It keeps your skin clear, soft, and glowing and helps combat many skin issues like psoriasis and eczema. Your skin cannot function at its best without the water.
Sweet potatoes are very rich in a nutrient called Beta-carotene. This nutrient functions as provitamin A ( it converts into Vitamin A after entering the body). A half-cup of sweet potatoes will provide you with nearly fours times the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) of Vitamin A.
Sweet potatoes rich in carotenoids like beta-carotene keeps your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. It protects your skin cells from sun exposure, prevents sunburn, cell death, wrinkled skin, dry skin. High intake of beta-carotene will add warm orange color to the skin, contributing to an overall healthier appearance.
Neem tree has a strong place in the world of Ayurvedic medicine. Did you know that every part of the Neem plant is used against various infectious diseases? Neem leaves can be taken orally and applied to the affected skin area to manage multiple skin problems like rashes, allergies and acne. Neem oil, derived from neem kernels and seeds, can also be applied to the skin after diluting with a suitable career oil.
Chewing Neem leaves every morning is considered a treatment for acne as it helps in purifying the blood. It also helps in reducing the appearance of dark spots and scars. However, intake of a large number of neem leaves for a long time can cause side effects. So, care must be taken to not over.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which benefit many functions in the body, including the skin's health. They contain compounds that protect your skin from sun damage (UV) which causes wrinkles and other signs of ageing. So, it is essential to consume enough of these as they keep skin flexible and moisturized.
Avocados are rich in Vitamin E, it protects the skin from oxidative damage. A half Avocado or a 100-gram serving provides you with 10% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake ) for the vitamin E and 17 % of the RDI for Vitamin c.
Soy contains a category of plant compounds called isoflavones that can mimic or block estrogen in your body. These compounds can benefit many parts of our body, including the skin. A study in middle-aged women shows that eating soy daily for about 8 to 12 weeks helped reduce fine wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. It can also help postmenopausal women improve skin dryness and keep their skin smooth and firm by increasing collagen.
The isoflavones in soy help protect the cells inside our body from damage and help protect from UV radiation, which can prevent some skin cancers.
The effects of cocoa or dark chocolate on our skin is pretty phenomenal. Cocoa powder is high in antioxidants, so consuming it daily for about 6 to 12 weeks can make your skin thicker and more hydrated. Dark chocolate helps you in making your skin less rough and scaly, less sensitive to sunburn. It helps in a better blood flow which in turn brings more nutrients to the skin.
A study which included eating 20 grams of high-antioxidant dark chocolate every day found that it allows the skin to withstand over twice the amount of UV radiation before burning when compared to eating low-antioxidant chocolate.
We recommend you choose dark chocolate with at least 70% of cocoa to maximize the benefit. Also, keep added sugar to a minimum.
Fatty fish like Salmon, Mackerel, and Herring are excellent foods for healthy glowing skin as they are rich in sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining skin health as they keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized. A deficiency in these fatty acids can cause dry skin.
Fatty fish rich in Omega 3 helps fight redness, acne, and some skin issues like psoriasis and lupus. It makes your skin less sensitive to harmful UV rays.
Fatty fish is also a great source of Vitamin E, which protects your skin from free radicals and inflammation. The high-quality protein in seafood is also responsible for maintaining the strength and integrity of your skin.
What you eat will significantly impact your skin health, so make sure you eat healthy food and let your skin breathe and shine with enough essential nutrients. With the foods, natural remedies, skin care regimes, and therapies that Ayurveda provides us, we can easily take good care of it naturally and without any side effects. The above-mentioned Ayurvedic foods are the best options to keep your skin glowing and radiant. `
Shreya Dalela is a certified Yoga instructor and a professional dancer trained at The Danceworx. She’s passionate about Ayurveda and holistic living with over 6 years of experience in doing extensive research and content creation in the domain.
Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (Central Council of Indian Medicine) working in Kama Ayurveda as an Assistant Training Manager.