For healthy, radiant skin, add these items to your grocery list.
When it’s luminous skin you seek, it’s tempting to focus your efforts on the surface. After all, moisturizing lotions, oils, skin treatments and facials hydrate and smooth your complexion directly. Ultimately, though, glowing skin is healthy skin — and that begins with what you put into — not onto — your body.
To find out which foods, spices and herbs you should pile on your plate, we went to Ananta Ripa Ajmera, Ayurveda consultant at THE WELL, for insights.
This vibrant yellow-orange spice has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and for good reason. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties could help protect and heal your skin from damage such as wrinkles and sunspots over time. “Turmeric is excellent for improving the complexion, tone and texture of your skin,” says Ajmera.
Enjoy the benefits: Eat a quarter teaspoon of turmeric mixed into any savory dish like tikka masala or coconut curry.
Saffron is another Ayurvedic spice known for lightening up dark circles and improving the overall complexion of the skin, says Ajmera. This is thanks to a significant dose of flavonoids, plant-based nutrients that help fight damage from free radicals, per a recent scientific review.
Enjoy the benefits: Make golden milk by bringing fresh cow’s or almond milk to a boil, adding in a sprinkle of coconut sugar, cardamom and three to four strands of saffron and swirling to mix, Ajmera says. Another option: Add a few saffron strands to a side dish of white basmati rice.
The yellow flowers that line your garden come springtime could also impart a natural glow to your skin, says Ajmera. Marigolds (tagetes erecta) are rich in plant-based antioxidants, most notably lutein, which helps protect skin from sun damage and wrinkles.
Enjoy the benefits: You can eat a small handful of marigold petals (yes, they’re edible!) by garnishing a savory dish with them — similar to how you’d sprinkle on cilantro. Or, boil the petals in hot water to create a tea, Ajmera suggests.
If you don't have access to fresh marigolds, you can order edible flowers online from Etsy or Alibaba. You can also get marigold tea from Amjadi Organic or Shamans Garden.
4 Aloe Vera
A staple of plant-based skincare products and traditional medicine alike, aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties help reduce redness and swelling and heal your skin from damage — granting you healthier-looking skin.
Enjoy the benefits: Drink aloe vera in the form of a rejuvenating morning elixir by removing the gel from an aloe leaf and blending with lemon, cucumber, ginger and a cup of water, says Ajmera. You can also apply fresh aloe gel directly to your skin for a soothing sensation.
Amalaki, also known as Indian gooseberries, can help improve your complexion thanks to vitamin C and flavonoids, which help protect and heal your skin from stress-induced aging.
Enjoy the benefits: Consume as a tea by stirring Amalaki powder into hot water, Ajmera suggests.
2 Red Lentils
Also known as masoor dal, these are rich in natural chemicals called polyphenols, which can help keep your skin young by warding off redness and swelling over time.
Enjoy the benefits: Eat spiced lentils for lunch or dinner, or create a medicinal kitchari, a traditional Indian porridge made with lentils, yellow or green mung lentils, and rice. In New York City? Stop by THE WELL Kitchen & Table to try our delicious homemade kitchari, served daily.
Naturally antibacterial, honey has long been used in skin products thanks to its ability to lock in moisture and support healing — benefits that are backed by science as well as tradition. While it can be applied directly to the skin, eating small amounts of honey may be beneficial as well.
Enjoy the benefits: Start your day with a tablespoon added to tea, yogurt or oatmeal.
Rosewater may be known for its luxurious, feminine scent, but it also fights aging by tamping down inflammation.
Enjoy the benefits: Rose is a common ingredient in skin oils and facial toning mists. You can also find more bottle drinks that contain this floral note.