Good, healthy skin is a delightful canvas for any makeup artist. But splurge all you want on dream creams and lotion potions - the best way to get glowing is to feed your skin from within, says makeup whiz Vidya Tikari. Here’s her list of top beauty foods*:
1. AMAZING APPLES
Apples are a great dermal treat packed as they are with important minerals, notably potassium – needed for regulation of water balance and muscle function; and vitamins, especially the nifty anti-aging antioxidant – Vitamin C. A single apple contains virtually no fat or cholesterol, and provides more fibre than a serving of oatmeal. So, once in a while, if you're thinking of skipping a meal, eat an apple. You’ll get a healthy dose of essential nutrients.
2. TERRIFIC TOMATOES
Tomatoes have got what it takes to fight free radicals – powerful antioxidants. Free rads are highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage cells and contribute to just about every skin problem, from dryness to wrinkles. Trip on tomatoes daily.
3. AWESOME ORANGES
You probably already know this, but here’s a reminder: oranges come out tops as a source of Vitamin C. While Vit C protects your skin from damage from UV rays, it also helps keeps collagen – the supportive protein fibers that stop skin from sagging – strong and resilient. For variety, make lemonade, add grapefruit or lime juice to your salad, but make sure you have some citrus every single day as your body can’t store much of Vit C.
4. GREEN TEA GOLD
This storm in a tea cup gives your skin a healthy dose of a particularly potent antioxidant, EGCG. EGCG puts a damper on inflammatory chemicals involved in acne and sun-related skin aging – it also helps prevent skin cancer. Green tea also contains something fancy known as L-theanine, a de-tensing amino acid that staunches the flow of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn keeps collagen fibres intact.
5. BROCCOLI BEAUTY
Get straight As with broccoli and its other dark leafy friends like spinach and turnip greens. Fresh, frozen, raw, or steamed, they really deliver on Vitamin A, one of the most skin-essential vitamins going which supports skin-cell turnover – the process that keeps cell growth and development going smoothly.
6. FANTASTIC FISH
Whether it’s salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines or most shellfish, get hooked to fish because eating at least one serving a week can actually lower your biological age. These catches come with age-fighting Omega-3 fatty acids plus restorative proteins. Omega-3s combat fight inflammation, one of the top enemies of skin, and also help protect against sunburn. Protein builds and repairs skin cells and makes the ‘radiance-releasing’ enzymes and hormones.
7. YAY FOR YOGURT
Low fat dairy products are full of Vitamin A, which, as you know, does wonders for your skin. Without enough Vit A, skin becomes dry and scaly – so pack it in with organic low fat yogurts.
8. BERRY GOOD
Plums, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries – all have great antioxidant arsenals which means the more we gorge on them, the more gorgeous our skin will look.
9. ASK FOR AVOCADO
Rich in B-complex vitamins and essential oils, avocado has anti-inflammatory properties. It also soothes skin that is red, irritated or blotchy.
10. SAY COTTAGE CHEEEESE!
Apart from calcium, cottage cheese is great for selenium – a must-have mineral for youthful, glowing skin.
11. PASS THE PAPAYA
This low-cal fruit is not just a dieter's best friend – it is also your skin’s saviour, packed as it is with the versatile Vitamin A. The part near the seeds is a treasure trove of nutrients, so don’t chuck it away. Lightly remove the seeds with a fork and dig in.
12. WHOLE GRAIN WONDER
When dry winter winds bring with them peeling, cracked skin and rough hands and feet, whole grains can come to the rescue. Full of B group vitamins, these are crucial for normal skin functioning, growth of new cells and guarding the skin against infections and stress. Select whole grain breads and pastas instead of the wheat flour ones, and switch to unpolished rice (brown rice) if you can. Also, try adding wheat bran (husk of wheat) to your chappatti dough.
13. SUNFLOWER POWER
Want to improve hair texture and decrease blackheads? Nibble on light and nutritious sunflower seeds filled with the goodness of essential fatty acids. They help your skin secrete lubricating natural oils and prevent water loss, keeping your skin soft and supple.
14. PULSE PERKS
Dull lifeless skin gets a glow with a high protein pulses-rich diet. Pulses are not just a rich source of protein, they also contain biotin, a nutrient which helps decrease dandruff and is effective in controlling hair fall. Regular intake helps brittle, dry nails. Whole pulses like whole moong or urad dal are the best and much better than de-husked ones.
15. ALOE VERA ALLURE
The skin gods have gifted us the wonderful Aloe Vera plant and it should grow in every garden on the planet. Drinking aloe juice is great for patchy, irritated skin, preventing and treating acne and preventing pigmentation. About 30 ml daily is enough. Packaged juice is available with most chemists.
16. GO NUTS
Yes, they’re high-cal but they’re also rich in zinc, which is needed for skin cells to grow, multiply and shield themselves from free rads. They also contain essential fatty acids that prevent dryness of skin and hair. Skin elixir Vitamin E found in nuts helps to moisturise your skin, protects it from damage and delay aging. A handful of groundnuts, walnuts, almonds and cashew nuts a couple of times a week will give you all these benefits – without rocking your calorie chart.
17. WATER WORKS
But of course you knew that already. Nothing like keeping the skin hydrated from within. Just to remind you that we’re talking about H2O in its purest form and not sodas or energy drinks. So ensure that you’re sipping at least 8 glasses a day, yes, even in winters.
* This is a general viewpoint and the recommended foods may not be suitable for everyone. Please check with your doctor or nutritionist for possible specific allergies, reactions, etc.