Clean eating, Whole 30, Paleo diets and superfoods – when it comes to eating right, there’s no right or wrong, just what works for you. But what happens when eating right leads to a glowing, blemish-free face? Now these are some side-effects we wouldn’t mind having. We talked to five top nutritionists in the country and here are their recommendations of nutritious foods that just happen to lead to flawless skin.
Delhi-based food and wellness consultant, Jia Singh, looks East for inspiration. According to her, “Seaweed and marine foods like blue-green algae might be difficult to attain, but are nutritional powerhouses – bursting at the seams with iron, copper, selenium, iodine, omega 3 and zinc.” While zinc is a well-known part of ensuring a healthy immune system, it is also one of the essentials of great skin and that elusive inner glow. Singh recommends that you add seaweed liberally to your soups and salads, or enjoy it with your sushi.
Another tip? “Edamame has been a closely guarded secret of how the Japanese stay so trim and keep their skin looking healthy and youthful,” she reveals. Since it is high in isoflavones, which work to preserve skin-firming collagen and prevent wrinkles,it ensures a flawless visage. Remember to check with your doctor though, if you have a thyroid or endocrine issue, before adding a recommended dose of soy to your diet.
Edamame can be sourced online at foodesto.com/fresh and costs ₹800 for 300 grams and Nori Seaweed at naturesbasket.co.in/ priced at ₹450 for 38 grams
Sports nutritionist Kinita Kadakia Patel has worked with athletes and she has noticed that a few ingredients, in addition to building strength, happen to nurture that inner glow. Her go-to picks are from the land of many great civilisations – South America. Cacao, originally discovered by the Mayans, and maca, a root plant from the Peruvian Andes, are her secrets to healthy skin.
Cacao contains magnesium, which is an essential mineral to help the body synthesise serotonin, which is essential for managing stress, while maca root powder enhances keratinocyte, which increases collagen synthesis. According to Kinita, a tablespoon a day can be consumed, since no evident side effects have been observed, but just because it’s beneficial, don’t overdose. Additionally, she adds, “Maca has a slight nutty taste and cacao tastes like pure, bitter cocoa. So it is best to consume it with a fruit, in a shake or with breakfast cereal.”
Organic maca powder is at ₹900 for 80 grams and raw cacao powder is available at ₹400 for 200 grams on sattvicfoods.in
Good fats and vitamin C
Dr Kiran Lohia, a cosmetic dermatology expert, is no stranger to lasers, botox and fillers, but when asked, she too has a few natural recommendations for that elusive flawless skin.
First, she picks flaxseed or sunflower seeds because they are chock full of essential fatty acids. “As we get older, our skin loses the essential fats that keep our skin barrier strong. These essential fatty acids prevent drying of skin and also ageing,” she explains.
Her second pick? The old Indian kitchen staple, amla. “ Amla is a great addition to your diet because this powerful fruit has the largest amount of vitamin C, which works to prevent pigmentation, improve collagen synthesis and help you keep your tendons and gums strong. Add it to your juice or have it daily as a fruit,” she adds.
Raw sunflower seeds at ₹275 for 250 grams and organic amla powder at ₹107 for 100 grams, available on gourmetdelight.in
C for collagen
According to Dr Ryan Fernando of Qua Nutrition, a basic balance of macro and micro nutrients is essential for a healthy life. Great-looking skin is a bonus. All foods, according to Fernando, are divided into triggers and enhancers of good skin. While cheap oil, gluten and heavy metals – and in some cases gluten and lactose – are the most obvious triggers of bad skin, water and a “gender balanced diet” of proteins, carbohydrates and fat are the basic enhancers.
To prevent the deterioration of skin due to aging, Fernando recommends a collagen peptide supplement, since this natural bioactive ingredient will ensure better skin elasticity and moisture. He suggests a supplement like Amino Glow, in tiny 5 gram capsules.
Collagen peptide from Meiji skin glow capsules, available on aminocollagenindia.com for ₹2,200
For Dr Shonali Sabherwal, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and author of the newly-released The Detox Diet, the secret to perfect skin is in exotic ingredients. Like the lesser-known Umeboshi plum.
These plums have a powerful alkalising effect on the body, and since acidity in the blood is the main cause of pimples and acne, the these plums are a great neutraliser.
They also stimulate digestion (cleaner digestion means more nutrient absorption) and promote the elimination of toxins and the absorption of calcium.
Her second choice is one that’s sure to make any gourmand happy – Shiitake mushrooms. “Since ancient times, shiitake has been highly valued as both food and medicine,” says Sabherwal. “Traditional Chinese physicians knew the power of the dark, meaty, capped, forest mushroom to activate the “qi” or “life force” and promote longevity.”
Shiitake mushrooms contain an active compound called lentinan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to strengthen immune system response.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are available online on gourmetfoodindia.com at ₹1,985 for one kg. Umeboshi plums, on iherb.come and cost ₹1,177 for 200 grams
DISCLAIMER: Please check with your doctor/physician before consuming any of the recommended items.