Are you curious to know about Ayurvedic food tips for the best skin and hair?
People commonly inquire about vitamin and mineral supplementation or skin and hair foods as a means to prevent or manage dermatological diseases and, in particular, hair loss. In this perspective article, we are going to discuss in detail about the healthy foods to include in diet for skin and hair.
Since time immemorial, humanity has been concerned with developing and preserving youthful vigor and extending longevity by stopping or delaying the aging process. The signs of aging primarily appear in skin and hair. Ayurveda considers skin as a mirror of one’s physiology. The skin has been classified into seven distinct layers as per Acharya Susruta. The explanation about the layers of skin is so detailed that understanding these layers helps in knowing the basic physiology or functions of skin as well as the diseases that can be caused to the skin.
Ayurvedic description of Skin
|Avabhasini||This layer reflects the health of the individual and helps in maintaining the health of deeper layers. While it does not have its own color, it reflects the aura of the individual.|
|Lohita||This layer indicates the quality of blood.|
|Shweta||It balances the color of the skin.|
|Tamra||Nurtures and protects the top layers|
|Vedini||The pain sensation is felt due to the presence of this layer|
|Rohini||This layer is responsible for healing and regeneration.|
|Mansadhara||This layer provides firmness to the skin.|
This description of skin in Ayurveda classics can easily be correlated with the modern anatomy of the skin. The following parallels may be considered : (a) Avabhasini with stratum corneum of the epidermis; (b) Shweta with stratum lucidum of the epidermis; (c) Tamra with stratum granulosum of the epidermis; (d) Vedini with the papillary layer of the dermis; (e) Rohini with the reticular layer of the dermis; and (f) Mansdhara with the hypodermis.
According to Ayurveda, the health of the skin relies on the nutrients provided by the Rasadhatu (nutrient fluid, the first of the seven tissues of the body). The food we eat has a great role in the generation of rasa dhathu. The beauty, health, and texture of the skin depend on our diet as well as the health of our digestive system.
Let us look deeply at what to eat for better skin.
Skin Foods – What to Eat for Better Skin
Vitamins, carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids and a variety of plant extracts have been reported to possess potent antioxidant properties and have been widely used in the skincare industry either as topically applied agents or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin appearance.
|Vitamin C/ Ascorbic acid||Vitamin C is not naturally synthesized by the human body and therefore adequate dietary intake of vitamin C is required and essential for a healthy human diet.
The richest natural sources are fresh fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, blackcurrant, rosehip, guava, chili pepper or parsley.
|Vitamin E / Tocopherols||Higher amounts of tocopherol are available in vegetables, vegetable oils like wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and seeds, corn, soy and some sorts of meat.|
|Carotenoids||Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos, and papaya are some examples of β-carotene containing fruits and vegetables.
Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish and crustacea.
Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries).
Natural retinol and retinol ester are contained in liver, milk, egg yolk, cheese, and fatty fish, etc.
|Vitamin D||Vitamin D acts as a prohormone means on exposure to sunlight human body can synthesize it. Smaller amounts come from dietary intake of animal-based foods such as fatty fish or egg yolk. Some products like milk, cereals, and margarine can be enriched with vitamin D.|
|Polyphenols||They are mostly found in fruits and plant-derived beverages such as fruit juices, tea, coffee, and red wine. Vegetables, cereals, chocolate, and dry legumes are also sources for the total polyphenol intake.|
|Flavanoids||found in the bark of pear (Pyrus communis), apple, cherry, and other fruit trees.|
Shad Rasas and Skin
There are six tastes described in Ayurveda that have different effects on the skin.
|Madhura Rasa/ Sweet taste||Sweet taste helps in increasing the luster of the skin. Excess intake can clog the pores easily.||Foods predominant in Madhura rasa are fruits like bananas, cantaloupe, dates, figs, mangos, melons, prunes, Vegetables like beets, carrots (cooked), cucumber, olives, sweet potatoes, grains like corn, rice, wheat, and milk.|
|Amla Rasa/ Sour taste||Excessive intake of sour taste can cause skin eruptions and rashes||Yogurt, Lemons and Fermented foods|
|Lavana Rasa/ Salty taste||Excessive intake can accelerate swelling, blood stagnation, and formation of ulcers.||Seaweed, salted snacks, Canned foods|
|Katu Rasa/ Pungent taste||It helps in reducing the oiliness/sliminess of the skin.||Garlic, Mustard, Cayenne, Black pepper|
|Tikta Rasa/Bitter taste||Ideal taste described for skin health. In excess can increase the dryness of the skin.||dark leafy greens, turmeric, and fenugreek are the best|
|Kashaya Rasa/ Astringent taste||if taken in excess can produce tanning over the skin. It can be used externally due to cleansing properties.||beans, lentils, broccoli, and cranberries|
Skin and Pitta Dosha
Skin or Tvak dhathu, Blood or Rakta dhathu and Pitta dosha are interrelated. It means the skin complexion, aura and skin health are controlled and regulated by Pitta dosha. As the skin covers the whole body bhrajaka pitta should be maintained in a proper state and it needs continuous care. Rakta dhatu becomes imbalanced when we ingest heating foods, imbibe alcohol or other liver irritants, endure intense sun exposure, work excessively, or experience intense negative emotions—anything, in short, that has the attributes of the pitta dosha. In addition, Pitta dominant individuals are more prone for skin diseases.
Following a Pitta balancing diet is great for the skin.
- By nature, pitta is snigdha (oily), Theekshna (sharp), Ushna (hot), Laghu (light), Saram (spreading), and Dravam (liquid), so eating foods that neutralize these qualities—foods that are dry, mild, cooling, grounding, stabilizing, and dense—can help to balance excess pitta.
- Favor naturally sweet foods like sweet fruits, most grains, squashes, root vegetables, milk, ghee, and fresh yogurt. Sweet taste balances Pitta, soothes and rejuvenates the skin.
- Include Bitter foods, since they cool and soothe the Pitta. Bitter green like Kale, dandelion green, collard greens are an ideal choice. They help to tone the skin and can help to absorb the excess moisture from the skin.
- Avoid hot, spicy extremely sour and salty foods.
- Cooling and soothing spices like cilantro, coriander, cumin, fennel, mint, avocado, and coconut can be used.
Paying attention to balanced nutrition is the best way to make sure you are following a healthy skin diet. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums were shown total antioxidant capacity than any other foods. These antioxidants can protect the skin cells and prevent damage to the skin. Also, the foods that deliver essential fatty acids like Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flaxseed are key elements in a healthy skin diet. In order to keep the skin well lubricated eating good quality oils helps. Look for cold-pressed, expeller processed or extra virgin oils for your skin.
Water for skin cells to rejoice
We have discussed a lot about the foods for healthy skin. But the role of good hydration in skincare is also important. Pure, clean water is the most important source of hydration. Skin needs about 8 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. Water also helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out.
Foods for Healthy hair
According to Ayurveda, the health of the hair begins with the food we eat and depends deeply on our digestive strength—as does the health of every other tissue and system. Ayurvedic hair care is largely about rejuvenation—for the hair, for specific issues that may be affecting hair health, and for the body as a whole.
Just like skin nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth. So, what are the nutritional deficiencies that result in hair loss?
- Iron deficiency (ID) – Include liver, lean red meat, chicken, seafood like oysters, lentils and beans, tofu, nut, seeds, soy, molasses, etc.
- Zinc – Dietary risk factors include vegetarianism, as the bioavailability of zinc is lower in vegetables than meat. Additionally, vegetarians typically consume more legumes and whole grains, which contain phytates that bind to zinc and inhibit absorption.
- Niacin – Include Tuna, Portabella mushrooms, Brown rice, peanuts, Avocados, etc.
- Selenium – Selenium is involved in creating hair. It is reported that newly forming hair takes up selenium after receiving trace elements from the blood. Include Brazil nuts, Tuna, shellfish, tofu, etc.
- Vitamins like A, E, D, Folic acid, Biotin
- Amino acids & Proteins
Healthy-appearing hair is a sign of excellent general health, as well as good hair care practices. Maintaining a nutritious diet is the best way to improve the health and growth of hair.
Eating a diet of fresh whole foods and minimize processed foods and sugars can do wonders for both skin and hair. There are a number of nutrient-rich foods, the skin, and hair foods as mentioned in this article which can be supportive of your skin and hair health. Increasing your exposure to these foods will certainly bolster the nutrition available to the body and to your hair. In addition to foods include herbs in your diet like Triphala which is rejuvenates and nourishes the body and system. Along with good food always ensure to have adequate rest and relaxation in the fast-paced culture we live in.