Whatever is going on inside your body will manifest itself in many ways. One of these ways is through your skin. While much of this can be hormonal, you can also change the state of your skin through what you eat. Ayurveda translates to the “knowledge of life” and is a system of healing and a spiritual view of the universe. Ayurveda says that the universal life force manifests in three different energies, also known as doshas, called vata, pitta, and kapha. Everyone has a unique mix of these three energies that they were given at the time of their conception. This mix of your doshas is called your praktiti, or nature. Your doshas are influenced by your environment, diet, the climate, your age, and many other things. Identify your dosha here.

Important things to eat to keep your skin healthy:

1. tomatoes: the lycopene in tomatoes protects against sunburn. Eat about a cup a week at least and pair it with healthy fats like olive oil or avocado. The fats help the body absorb the nutrients.

2. nuts and fish: the omega 3 fatty acids in nuts and fish hydrate the skin and reduce wrinkling. eat 12 ounces of fish per week and one ounce of nuts (like almonds or walnuts) daily. You will notice a significant change in your skin in about 6 weeks if you are vigilant about this.

3. kiwis, blueberries, and sweet potatoes: rich in antioxidants which kill free radicals from the sun and pollution and prevent the denaturing (breaking down) of DNA and thus the aging of skin. eat 2.3 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables daily.

4. red meat, kidney beans, yogurt, oysters: high in zinc which is important for collagen formation. Eat 3 ounces of beef, 1 cup of yogurt, or 1/2 cup white kidney beans daily.

5. green leafy vegetables like spinach: reduces the risk of skin cancer.

6. dark chocolate:  the chemical flavanol in dark chocolate improves circulation, giving you a healthy glow. allow yourself an ounce a day. choose ones that have at least 60% real cacao in them.

7. green tea: antioxidants galore. drink at LEAST a cup a day but watch your caffeine intake as this can disturb sleep patterns if consumed too late in the day. I usually try not to have any caffeine past 3 pm.

8. Water. Obviously. Stay hydrated for the thousands of reasons your body loves water. Don’t forget we are 80% water by nature. Immerse your body in its natural element. Your skin will thank you.

9. Sleep. Everyone is different but most people need at least 7 hours a night. I find  that if I don’t get this minimum, I am noticeably less effective in everything I do during the day and my skin looks haggard.

also see Yoga Journal’s article on more Ayurvedic approaches to taking care of your skin. Sources: Yoga Journal and Oprah

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