Left: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Marty S.
Superfoods and supplements are the keys to achieving glowing, youthful skin from the inside out. Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet helps fuel your skin cells so that lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging are less likely to develop. However, it can be challenging to keep track of all the superfoods and supplements that are supposed to good for you, especially when it seems like there is a new superfood every week that we must start eating. You don’t want to overly complicate your diet, but at the same time, you want to eat as much as you can so that your skin looks ageless for as long as possible.
Thankfully, now you no longer have to separate the chaff from the real deal when it comes to choosing superfoods and supplements. Ayurveda contains a long list of superfoods and supplements that have been used for thousands of years to radically slow down skin aging. Today, we will be going over 5 of our favorites. Continue reading to learn 5 Ayurvedic superfoods and supplements that are easy to incorporate into your diet and can boost the health, vitality, and radiance of your skin.
1. Bitter Gourd
Bitter gourd, sometimes called bitter melon or karela, might not be your favorite food considering how bitter it is, but you should try to add more of it into your diet. That’s because bitter gourd is well-known for its liver cleansing properties. Preserving a strong, healthy liver is important because, among other things, your liver is responsible for detoxifying your body. Your liver removes any toxins from your blood and ensures that your body will dispose of them. If you aren’t supporting your liver with your diet, however, the toxins in your bloodstream may affect your complexion and you may start to develop premature fine lines and wrinkles.
Even if you disregard its ability to clean your liver, bitter gourd is still a great anti-aging superfood because of its nutrients. Bitter gourd is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and antioxidants that can improve your internal health and make your skin look more beautiful from within.
“I’m loving the results. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about these products. I love them so, so, so much. You can actually feel the difference in your skin.”
Of course, this list would be incomplete without turmeric! We talk all the time about how much we love using turmeric on our skin; after all, you only need a pinch of it to get a seriously stunning glow on your skin. However, we never forget how essential it is internally. Turmeric is a great antioxidant due to the curcumin found in it; antioxidants help mitigate any damage done to your body by free radicals and maintain normal bodily functions in the process. It is also believed that turmeric has anti-cancer properties.
Compared to your skin, you don’t have to worry too much about staining your insides if you happen to use a lot of turmeric. But of course, don’t go overboard! Turmeric is powerful so you should only use as much as what the recipe calls for.
You need zinc for your daily nutrition; in fact, zinc has been used in Ayurveda as an internal supplement for better absorption of nutrition. However, zinc can also minimize premature signs of aging. Zinc is believed to improve cell renewal because of its wound-healing properties; as such, zinc can help your skin produce more cells so that it continues to look youthful and wrinkle-free. People also take zinc as a supplement because of its ability to curb acne. Zinc has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which is useful to curb acne breakouts and get rid of harmful bacteria.
Many people take zinc as a supplement, but you can also incorporate it into your diet through foods like nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
If these superfoods and supplements sound exciting to you, we have a podcast episode where we will share with you even more information. Enjoy and please leave us a review on our iTunes podcast page!
Of all the superfoods and supplements on this list, ashwagandha and shilajit (which we will talk about below) are likely the ones that you are not familiar with. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means “smell of a horse”, but it is not made from horse hairs! Ashwagandha is an herb that is otherwise known as Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha is considered to be tonic in Ayurveda. It has anti-inflammatory properties and it is said to improve energy levels.
Ashwagandha has also been used to decrease stress, which has been linked to premature aging. If you experience stress regularly, your inflammation and cortisol levels are likely higher than normal. Increased inflammation can result in sagging skin, hyperpigmentation, and more pronounced lines and wrinkles. Increased cortisol levels, on the other hand, can lead to more oil production, which, in turn, may clog your pores and lead to acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and dull skin.
As you can see, stress is not good for you mentally or physically so taking ashwagandha as a supplement might help you lower your stress levels and keep your skin youthful. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult your doctor and Ayurvedic practitioner beforehand as ashwagandha may not be safe for you. Thankfully, there are other methods to destress if you are not able to take ashwagandha.
Another Ayurvedic supplement used for thousands of years that you might not be aware of is shilajit. Shilajit is a sticky, tar-colored compound that is the result of the decomposition of plants over the course of centuries. It is mainly found and harvested in the Himalayas. The main active element found in shilajit is fulvic acid. Fulvic acid is significant because it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which, as we’ve mentioned above, repairs free radical damage and slow down the effects of premature aging. Shilajit is also capable of increasing energy levels and may even improve cognitive function.
Shilajit is considered safe to use, but not all products containing shilajit are the same. Low-quality shilajit products may contain trace amounts of heavy metals and free radicals, which are harmful. If you want to use shilajit, make sure you do your research beforehand.
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Go natural. It is good karma!