Tag Archives: Skin

Beauty is Skin Deep

beauty is skin deepThe face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. Saint Jerome (church father & saint). Indeed… But not only the mirror of mind, face is a mirror of our nutritional status also. Our skin, hair, nails show the correct picture of our internal body. So to keep this picture beautiful it is important to take good overall care of ourselves. This care includes taking a well balanced diet (for beauty from within) along with a regular skin and hair care regime.

There are certain nutrients which can be rightly termed as beauty nutrients and are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.

Vitamin A

Helps in preventing acne and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin A along with adequate protein intake is helpful in keeping the hair healthy. Look for yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (carrot, papaya, tomato, bell peppers, mango, apricots, etc.), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, fenugreek), liver, eggs, dairy products and fish liver oil for food sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin C
Fights wrinkles and helps the body produce and maintain collagen which in turn maintains elasticity of skin and prevents sagging. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits (lemon, orange), guava, grapefruit, melons, cherries, kiwi, strawberries, gooseberries (amla), red and green peppers, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes to name a few.

Zinc
Works with vitamin C to make collagen and supports the action of vitamin A. Also nails and hair contain zinc. Zinc is found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, oat flour, oysters (shellfish), lean red meat, brewer’s yeast, Eggs, Legumes, Mushrooms, Spinach.

Vitamin E
Helps the body in retaining moisture and can prevent damage due to sun and thus prevents premature aging. Sources: Cold-pressed wheat germ oil and safflower oil, Whole grains, Wheat germ, Milk, Asparagus, Broccoli, Egg yolk, Leafy greens, Liver, Olives, Soybeans, Sunflower seeds, Nuts, Vegetable oils.

Selenium

This mineral helps with dry skin of scalp (which we commonly know as dandruff) and enhances vitamin E absorption. Selenium is found in garlic, onions, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, Asparagus, Bran, Broccoli, Chicken, Egg yolk, Milk, Seafood, Tomato, Whole grains.

Proteins

Hair, nails and skin are made up of protein. If you have brittle nails, poor skin and hair that breaks easily, it may be because you don’t include enough protein in your diet. Protein-rich foods are an excellent source of biotin, which is a B-complex vitamin and is essential for healthy nails. Some other dietary sources of biotin include egg yolk, soy bean flour, milk and peanut butter. Sources of protein: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, oilseeds, pulses, legumes and wheat germ.

Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in keeping the skin hydrated, nails glossier and more flexible, and help hair retain moisture. Flaxseeds, salmon are the best sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

B-Complex Vitamins

A deficiency of these vitamins can result in various skin problems and hair loss. B complex vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods like whole grain cereals, pulses, fruits like bananas, green vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and meats including turkey and liver.

Water

Drinking plenty of water transports nutrients to skin cells, and keeps them nourished. Having lime water, coconut water, fresh fruit juices, soups, buttermilk or green tea also provides necessary liquid content to the body. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and other fizzy drinks as a fluid source.

Include all these beauty nutrients in your daily diet and observe the transformation unfold before your eyes.

Image Courtesy: Stuart Miles

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The Magic Healer

My mother developed Paronychia (a fungal or bacterial infection leading to redness, swelling and pus formation around the nail) in her right big toe nail just before my sister’s wedding. She was in so much pain that she could hardly move about leave aside doing any work. When my grandmother arrived and saw her state, she quickly plucked a leaf from a pot in the balcony, slit it halfway after heating and covered the toenail with it. Mom not only felt better but the infection also subsided in a few days.

Do you know what that magic plant was? It was Aloe vera.

Aloe vera also known as Aloe barbadensis, quargandal or ghrita kumari is a shrub which grows in dry areas of India, Africa, China and other dry places. There are around 300 known varieties of this plant but only few of them have medicinal properties. The plant is known worldover for its multifold benefits.

Benefits of Aloe Vera:

  • Digestive System: useful in acidity and related problems, ulcers, constipation. It has a soothing effect on digestive tract lining and also acts as laxative.
  • Heart: lowers cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes: decreases blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
  • For Women: considered one of the best medicines in Ayurveda, for female reproductive system.
  • Wound Healing: Aloe vera may be effective in treatment of wounds. Some studies have shown that it promotes the rate of healing in first and second degree burns.
  • Skin and Beauty: purifies blood, promotes healthy hair and provides natural glow to skin. Helps in skin conditions such as acne, pimples, allergy rashes (when applied as a cream), scalp problems, falling hair, dandruff etc. Stimulates production of collagen & elastin (proteins), which are necessary to prevent aging.
  • Other Benefits: Anti-cancer effects, enhances immune function.

It can be ingested as juice or gel, applied topically as a gel or an ingredient in creams, moisturizers, etc. Numerous research studies are underway to ascertain the mechanism of action or dosage to be taken for these above mentioned benefits.

Aloe vera also has an excellent nutritional profile. It is a mixture of more than 200 constituents, including amino acids,
enzymes, vitamins (A, B1, B6, B12, C, E & Folic acid), minerals (Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc), Hormones, etc.

Though this magic healer has shown its magic in healing Paronychia, we still need lots of studies to include Aloe vera as a medicine for serious ailments like cancer, ulcers, etc.

Let’s wait and watch!!!