10 Foods for Increasing Skin-hydration
So many of you have THIRSTY skin. Sometimes it seems like nothing will quench it. Not creams, lotions or serums. But what about internals?
When we think of hydration, we think of drinking water. Glugging litres of water is a whole industry with handy canteens and apps that remind us to sip all day. But we don't frequently consider the water in the foods we eat.
Think about this: it's not just about how much water we drink, but how much hydration we absorb. How much we retain and how much we get from our foods as well.
Now, my family has been eating water rich foods for as long as I can remember. And being too expensive is no excuse not to eat healthy (you would be surprised how often I hear this - and fast food is actually pricier than a trip to the fruit and veggie market).
As newly landed immigrants, my grandparents had to find cheap ways to eat fresh foods. I remember my grandmother steaming ice berg lettuce (a lil spice and sesame oil drizzled on this actually makes for a delicious dish).
If you see my grandfather, who is well into his 90s springing around, you will see the benefits of water-rich foods. Well, he also has a flip phone with dangly heart-shaped cellphone charms on it - so I think being young at heart has something to do with it too.
Nonetheless, below are my top ten foods for increasing skin hydration.
Does the celery juice craze have validity? Sure, why not? But, while I don't think it's magic, I do think it's incredibly hydrating. Celery is refreshing and has that little bit of bitter that really cools internal heat (according to Asian Medicine). Dehydration not only comes from a lack of water but from an excess of heat in our bodies. The theory is that "heat" burns up the water.
Celery, because of its high water-content, also is said to encourage weight loss as it takes more calories to digest and process than it contains.
Watermelon ain't called "water" melon for nothing. This melon is packed with moisture.
But those with high Kapha need to limit their watermelon consumption (though it's hard!) as its high sugar increases Kapha.
Flax seed oil
You cannot exclusively think of fruits and veggies when looking to increase hydration; oils are also important.
Like with skin creams, oils help protect as a barrier against water loss and also lubricate our digestive tract to help eliminate and detoxify hardened toxins. Cold-pressed flax oil is especially good for our skin.
I used to travel with caps of flax seed oil as they helped me prevent eczema flare-ups triggered from airplane flights. They were a lifesaver.
We all need to watch our pocket books and organic produce is expensive. Here is a cheap, cheap veggie option.
Beansprouts are not as rich in nutrients as other vegetables, but their water-content can't be disputed. Plus, they add some lovely crunch to many dishes and soups.
I love using red, yellow and orange bell peppers in my cooking as they give dishes a beautiful rainbow of colour.
As I'm sure you've heard, you should be eating at least three different coloured fruits and vegetables a day to get a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
Berries are not only excellent for hydration due to their high moisture content but their seeds are also fantastic for encouraging the movement of our bowels. Keeping a clean G.I tract is important for absorbing moisture and nourishment.
It's also great that they are a lower sugar fruit.
Putting slices of cucumber in water makes it tastier. Secretly, I hate drinking water so I gotta spike it with things like this.
You can also eat them with a squirt of lime and sprinkle of cayenne. Mmmm.
Remember, we want to increase our intake of foods that have cellular hydration and decrease foods like dry starches and red meat, which are dehydrating.
If you are going to eat a lot of starch, I recommend eating rice. Rice is more moist as it is grown in water, as well as cooked in water - making it naturally more moist and therefore less dehydrating.
These sweet sprouts cook in less than 3 minutes or can be served raw and give dishes a great crispness.
They're high in collagen-supporting vitamin C and also have some iron content (also important for skin texture and quality).
Cilantro is pacifying for Pitta (internal fire) and I started to drink crushed cilantro leaves in water as it is a natural blood cleanser and helps the body purge heavy metals.
Of course, I also use it in my cooking. It is the key ingredient in making a mean guacamole.
Nothing is more lovely than a cup of hand blended herbal tea! But I am also suggesting Rooibos because it is a great alternative to caffeine-laden beverages.
My pal Tahlia, an esthetician and nutritionist, told me last week that she suggests that her clients who are addicted to caffeine to opt for tea in the morning instead of coffee. "At least they should start their day hydrated and not begin it by dehydrating their body".
Image by Gareth Hubbard via Unsplash