Bridal Special: Eat you way to glowing skin!
Twelve foods that work better than the most expensive skin potions.
As a bride-to-be you’ve probably done the rounds of dermatologists, stylists and makeup experts for your Big Day! Now it’s time to dig a little deeper to figure out all the things that REALLY guarantee you’ll look your best on the most important day of your life. You know it’s the simplest things you take for granted, everyday foods from your kitchen that play an important role in keeping your skin softer, smoother and more glowing than the pricey creams on your dressing table. “Good nutrition is the building block of gorgeous skin,” says nutritionist Naini Setalvad. “The natural ingredients in food affect everything from exfoliating dull skin and protecting against sun damage to preventing wrinkles,” she adds. For your most glowing skin ever start incorporating these ten foods in your diet daily.
Blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries and plums are among the most antioxidant rich foods ever. They fight free radical damage, prevent premature skin aging and give you your smoothest, healthiest skin ever. Did you know that just one cup of strawberries—now in season—have 130% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, the important vitamin that keeps colds at bay and boosts the production of collagen that keeps skin tight? Berries are also a rich source of ellagic acid that keeps skin from sagging. Can it get any better!
Your nutritionist must have told you about snacking on a fistful of nuts mid-morning. Well, these little dried fruits are a powerhouse of fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. They also are storehouses of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that is a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin moist and supple. “Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, one of the most important skin vitamins that prevent dryness. Walnuts fight inflammation and cashews are rich in iron, zinc and magnesium,” says Setalvad. But nuts are fattening you might argue. True, but this what a study of over 50,000 women showed: women who ate them at least twice a week were less likely to gain weight than those who rarely did.
Such a perfect combination. Lose weight AND get glowing skin! Just six leaves of Romaine lettuce provide you with more than 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A that plays an important role in boosting cell turnover. “Plus the potassium content provides a boost of refreshing nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation,” says Lisa Drayer, author of The Beauty Diet. Keep in mind though that Iceberg lettuce has almost negligible nutrient value, so stick to darker greens like rocket or arugula and baby spinach leaves.
Lycopene, the antioxidant compound that gives tomatoes their brilliant red color are linked to countless health benefits. “Eating tomatoes—both cooked and raw—protect against skin darkening, boost the skin’s collagen production and keep skin radiant and tight,” says Setalvad. German scientists have also reported that higher skin levels of lycopene in skin is directly linked to fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Tomato salad anyone?
Apple peels contain Quercetin, an antioxidant that protects against sun burn and skin cancer. Eating two apples a day actually protects against skin cancer and one study of 34,000 healthy post-menopausal women showed that eating two or more apples a week for a year reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by 15 percent. But whatever variety of apple you eat, be sure to eat the peel, the source of nearly all the antioxidants.
If you’ve been plagued by a patchy complexion, make sure to eat plenty of broccoli and cauliflower. They contain sulfur, a proven ingredient that evens out skin tone and makes it glow Plus both veggies are bursting with antioxidants like Vitamin C that stimulate collagen production. Another bonus—as if you needed one—they’re low in calories and kind to your figure as well.
This is a godsend for non-vegetarians. Fish is one of the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, vital for skin hydration and glow and several cardiac health benefits. Plus, it is bursting with anti-inflammatory fats and selenium, a mineral responsible for tissue elasticity.
If wedding prep is stressing you out, eat some chocolate. Yes, you heard right! Dark chocolate is choc-a-bloc with antioxidants like Flavonols and low in sugar. Flavonols protect skin from UV damage, fight free radicals and boost circulation. One study concluded that women who drank half a cup of dark cocoa positively glowed thanks to a significant increase in circulation that lasted for two hours! Another study showed that women who drank half a cup of cocoa every day for 12 weeks had significantly softer, smoother and more hydrated skin. Another bonus: a British study showed improved blood flow to the brain for two hours after drinking an 8-ounce cup of cocoa.
Beans and legumes
Rajma, channa, black eyed beans and daals are a powerhouse of nutrients like zinc, Vitamin B6, iron and biotin, proven to give you healthier skin, hair and nails. So make sure you eat at least a bowlful of sprouts or daal every day.
“Olive Oil is a great source of healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidant-rich vitamins. Use it to dress salads and even cook with it. Olive oil moisturizes skin from within, regenerates skin cells and protects against free radicals,” says Setalvad. Did you know that the ancient Greeks and Romans considered olive oil a key component of their beauty routine? A Lancet Oncology study reports that olive oil actually protects skin against sun damage and keeps it supple.
It’s one of the easiest and most economical ways of getting glowing skin. Eggs contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that provide four times the protection against UV damage that causes wrinkles, brown spots and skin cancer. Eat eggs regularly for softer, firmer skin; just one egg daily is enough to ward off macular degeneration, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition.
Whole grain like wheat, jowar, bajra, ragi, brown rice and barley are rich in antioxidants, and eating meals comprising veggies, fruits and grains can bring a glow to your skin. This is especially important as the body’s level of natural antioxidants decreases when we are stressed. In the run up to the wedding make sure you include at least four to five servings of whole grains daily.