On the menu
Date: 23 june 2016

Dr Vishakha Shivdasani practices lifestyle medicine and is a pro at tackling chronic lifestyle ailments with a powerful tool—nutrition. Here she name checks the do-good foods we should be eating to get skin worthy of #nofilter - By Parizaad Khan Sethi

This kitchen staple is rich in vitamin C and lycopene — two super antioxidants that bump up collagen production, keeping skin firm. And if you spent too long on a beach leaving your skin looking like the wrong end of a potato skin, chow down on some tomatoes, as they’re great at repairing a sun-damaged hide. Shivdasani’s tip to get max antioxidant levels is to cook them. “Lycopene is most easily absorbed when tomatoes have been cooked, not when eaten raw.”

Alfalfa sprouts
These squiggly powerhouses are chock full of Vitamin A, which is essential scaffolding for healthy skin. “Vitamin A helps in the maintenance and construction of skin that is healthy and glowing,” according to Shivdasani. It helps discard the dry, damaged and dull cells from the top layer so fresh, young perky ones can replace them. Sounds like the way the film industry treats actresses; nature is often cold and cruel, kids. Alfalfa is also packed with skin-clearing nutrients such as (periodic table pop quiz!) Ca, Mg, Mn, P, K, Si, Na, Zn and *deepbreath* C19H19N7O6, plus about a million vitamins.

It’s tempting to dismiss kale as one of the wellness industry’s passing fads, but Shivdasani says it’s one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin—nutrients that absorb and neutralize the free radicals created by UV light, one of the biggest factors in ageing. So your kale smoothie is warding off the baby Benjamin Button look by delaying wrinkles. It’s also high in Vitamin C, boosting collagen production. Looks like chowing down on dinosaur leaves will be a recurring event in our foreseeable future.

Antioxidants like vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K all help add luminosity to the skin, plus revive damaged tissue; and sorry kids, but broccoli contains all of them. It also packs in calcium and folate which support the skin’s healing process and aid the proper function of skin cells. “Eat broccoli raw in a salad or lightly steamed to get the most out of your florets,” advises Shivdasani.

An Omega 3 powerhouse, walnuts contain this essential fatty acid which improves skin's elasticity. They’re also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. Skin laxity is one of the telltale signs of ageing. Think of ageing skin like a deflated balloon—the air (collagen) has escaped and the balloon itself (elastin) has also weakened. Walnuts work double time: they strengthen saggy skin, and then pump up collagen to fill it out, bringing back a youthful bounce. Bonus: they also help shoo away dry flaky skin and eczema.

Parizaad Khan Sethi

is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.