Amazingly, the best thing you can do for your skin is eat delicious foods from Mama Earth. It’s that easy! These are my go-to ingredients that I try to incorporate into my diet as much as possible, whether adding them to salads or grain bowls, using them as substitutes for less-healthy options, or snacking on them throughout the day. True beauty is about nourishment, not denial, and these foods will help you have lustrous hair, glowing skin, and juicy ojas.
I snack on almonds throughout the day, and soaking them first makes them easier to digest. They are full of vitamin E and biotin—which help repair brittle hair and nails and prevent dandruff—and copper, which aids in elastin production. (You know, that stuff that prevents wrinkles!)
Aloe juice is excellent for soothing dry skin and helps fight aging by keeping skin hydrated and firm. It also aids in digestion.
I feel so lucky to live in California, where you can find avocados at every farmers’ market or sometimes on the sidewalk! Avocados contain carotenoids, like alpha- and beta-carotene, which the skin needs to feel toned and dense.
Avocados’ monounsaturated fats help skin maintain moisture, and their vitamins E and C help prevent free-radical damage.
I deeply love animals, and I honored this for most of my life by being a vegetarian. Eventually, I learned that I was deficient in specific vitamins and nutrients you can get only from animal protein, and now I supplement my diet with bone broth. In addition to providing necessary amino acids, it has collagen and gelatin, which support healthy hair and skin.
Full of flavonoids, an antioxidant that gives flower petals their pigment, helps create collagen, and improves skin conditions like eczema. Cacao has forty times the antioxidants of blueberries. It is also one of the best plant-based sources of iron and magnesium.
Chia contains protein and mineral-dense nutrients and is high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. The seeds can keep you full and help with weight loss while providing a needed dose of healthy fat.
I love everything coconut: coconut water, coconut oil, coconut meat, and coconut milk. Coconut water is a fantastic source of calcium and electrolytes to help the skin and hair. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which fights inflammation and strengthens hair and skin. In addition to being delicious, coconut meat is full of beneficial live enzymes and skin-beautifying minerals like magnesium, potassium, and copper. Coconut milk is creamy like dairy and rich in fatty and lauric acids for skin, hair, and bones. It is also full of electrolytes.
In India and many parts of the Middle East, dates are a staple food almost everyone consumes. They are less prevalent in the West, but they should be! Dates are rich in vitamin B5, which helps repair damaged cells and keep hair healthy. They are also a good source of antioxidants.
Ghee or traditional Ayurvedic clarified butter keeps you supple and juicy; it might be my top beauty food. It is rich in vitamins A, E, and K, which are beneficial for hair, nails, skin, and joints.
It increases digestive fire, improves the absorption of nutrients into the body, nourishes the ojas, and strengthens the nervous system and the brain. Ghee contains conjugated linolenic acid, which inhibits cancer cell growth and is a good cholesterol source. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as a topical cure for blisters and burns, ghee may also help minimize stomach acid while simultaneously repairing the gut’s lining. I like to take a spoonful of ghee every morning, or you can use it instead of cooking oil in most recipes.
Hemp seeds are superseded, high in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and B vitamins, and easily digestible protein. They are perfect as a topping for breakfast oats or in a smoothie.
Think peaches, mangoes, papayas, and watermelon. When ripe, fruits can turn into rasa, or “nutritional fluid,” enhancing ojas. You nourish your body with juicy moisture and nutrients and your spirit with bright colors and sweet flavors.
As many of us have been taught to avoid using oil on our skin, we’ve also been introduced to avoiding oil in our cooking. We are missing out on necessary healthy fats. There are so many beautiful oils that you can use to cook with, dress salads, or add to smoothies. My favorites are almonds, sesame, coconut, olive, hemp, and flaxseed. Experiment with different ones for different uses, and find what best suits your palate and your body.
Raisins contain resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol that helps protect against aging free-radical damage, cancer, and heart disease. Polyphenols are also rich in vitamins A and E, which help support the production of new skin cells.
Sesame seeds are one of the oldest foods known to man. They are rich in minerals like selenium (which prevents UV damage, hyperpigmentation, and inflammation) and magnesium, high in protein and amino acids, and rich in zinc, which can help prevent acne. I also love to use tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds) in salad dressings and dips.
Sunflower seeds are a good source of protein and are rich in amino acids like tryptophan, which give them a calming effect.
The vitamin E, high folic acid count, zinc, and B vitamins sunflower seeds boost hormones, and a handful of sunflower seeds daily can increase testosterone in men and support their sperm count.
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins C and D, which help produce collagen to keep skin youthful and elastic.
Processed grains can cause your insulin levels to spike, which results in acne and other inflammatory skin problems. Whole grains don’t do this; they are also rich in selenium. I like quinoa, forbidden rice, and gluten-free oats.