Healthy, glowing skin and soft, shiny, lustrous hair is what we all want. With all the pollution in the air, scorching sunrays, stressful life and the effect of hormones, your hair and skin really suffer. Many people have dull skin, prone to flare ups, and falling, brittle hair. Even though you may have spent a lot of money on the ‘magical potions’ touted as beauty creams, serums and lotions, you may not have seen much difference in your skin. The cure is not lotions and creams, but a healthy diet which results in a healthy skin and hair. In this article, we will help you devise your own diet plan, with the right kinds of foods perfect for sustaining the health of your skin and hair.
Guide to create diet plan for healthy skin and hair
The diet plan for glowing skin is easy to create and follow, once you get to know the foods which are good for you. We will begin with a sample diet plan, and then with some information about the foods which you can then replace in your diet plan, according to your taste and convenience.
Sample diet plan
Early morning (right after you get up) – 1 cup of water and juice of half a lime. You could have turmeric tea or just plain hot water if lime does not suit. Or 1 cup of water and aloe vera juice is also recommended by dieticians.
Breakfast – I cup of papaya with green tea or milk or soy milk, and 4 almonds. Or 1 slice of wheat or multi-grain bread with 1 cup ricotta cheese, or 1 boiled egg, or 1 cup of oats and 1 cup of green tea.
Mid morning snack – Cucumber and carrots with yogurt or hummus. Or some fresh juice or coconut water, and a bowl of some fresh cut fruits.
Lunch – Lettuce wrap with vegetables, and chicken. Include mushroom and tofu for vegetarian diet plan for lunch and 1 cup of buttermilk. Or make a combination of grilled fish or chicken, or lentils and blanched vegetables and a small portion of brown rice. You can choose to have a salad of vegetables sprinkled with flaxseed oil or olive oil. And if you eat chicken, grilled chicken pieces with a healthy garnish of lime and paprika and some salt with the vegetables will be light enough for lunch on a workday yet filling.
Afternoon tea /snack – Green tea/Black tea, or a freshly pressed vegetable juice and fruit
Dinner – Vegetable or chicken stew, 1 cup of yogurt and 1 flat bread or chapatti. Or 2 flat chapattis, mixed vegetable curry, and I cup raita. You can have lentils and steamed rice with some vegetable.
Bed time – End your diet plan for glowing skin with some warm milk or water, with a turmeric pinch.
Takeaways from the diet chart
The diet chart is an example for you to know how to manage your meals in a healthy manner. It is quite flexible as you can add the vegetables and meats of your choice. But, to do that, you must know the best foods to resolve or maintain skin and hair. Include the main food groups, i.e. proteins, vegetables, fruits and fats (or healthy carbohydrates) in every meal.
Whether you are creating a non-vegetarian or vegetarian diet plan – when it comes to snacking, stick to liquids as far as possible. Freshly pressed juices, fruit and vegetable smoothies, yogurt, coconut water, buttermilk is best.
Consume foods are good for liver and gut which influence the health of your skin. Avoid foods which might cause allergy such as gluten, seafood, peanuts or dairy.
As salads are your best friend, season them with tasty herbs and spices. Similarly, drink as much water as possible, but to make it more delicious, let some fruit soak in water to create some fruit water.
To create your own diet plan for healthy hair and skin, here’s the list of foods you can include:
Dark leafy veggies
Leafy vegetables, especially the dark leafy variety, is considered to be at the top of the list. They are loaded with essential vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants. They nourish your body and the skin heals from within. Spinach, radish leaves, Swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, mustard leaves, coriander and arugula reduces skin dullness and enhances the glow. Spinach especially has beta-carotene, vitamin A and C, fighting wrinkles and combats damage due to air pollution.
Add the leaves in your lunch or dinner, in soup, salads, wraps and so on, to maintain your diet plan.
Walnuts are very high in vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Just a few walnuts on a daily basis work wonders on the texture of your skin, and adds luster to your mane. Walnuts help to retain moisture, thus keeping the body hydrated. It boosts hair follicles to make them stronger and give it body and volume.
Another nuts which you should include in your diet plan for glowing skin are almonds. Almonds are packed with vitamin E and flavonoids, which are essential to have great skin. For people who smoke, almonds can get rid of oxidative damage due to smoking. They are rich in selenium, manganese and protein, which are perfect for shiny hair.
The elixir of life, we cannot survive without water. Drinking a good amount of water daily keeps the body hydrated thus influencing the skin. Water flushes out toxins from the body, and as the skin is hydrated, it becomes supple and fewer wrinkles form. Keeping water next to you is the best way to sip it through the day, rather than some beverage or colas.
Flax seeds have been known to manage eczema and acne, as well as handling inflammation. These tiny seeds help in skin renewal too, as they contain both Omega-6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds should be included in a vegetarian diet plan, as flax seeds are among the few vegetarian options that are rich in both the Omega fatty acids.
Turmeric has long been a part of some cultures for thousands of years. It is ingested and applied as paste on the body for the benefit of the skin. The main phytonutrient in turmeric is Curcumin, which is the reason why turmeric is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory as well as antifungal. Raw turmeric can be consumed after washing with milk, or you can have it as turmeric tea. You might notice the results within a few days of consuming turmeric. However, people who use heart medication should consult their doctors before consuming turmeric tea or raw turmeric.
Avocado is considered to be one of the superfoods for skin and you must include it into your diet plan for healthy hair and skin. Avocado is desired for the healthy fats and vitamin E it contains. You must include healthy fats in your diet, and of the best ways to do it is by making the famous guacamole, or other delectable avocado recipes. Avocados can prevent wrinkles, acne, skin dullness and can lock moisture.
One of the go to home remedies for skin problems, aloe vera can be found in many skin products. This is because it contains hormones gibberellin and auxin, which are anti-inflammatory. So when you consume aloe vera or apply it on the skin, you can get all the benefits for skin. Have it as a juice or as a supplementary food. Word of caution: never, ever consume aloe vera gel straight from the plant.
Salmon, mackerel, anchovies and any other fish which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids should be on your diet plan. The fat in the fishes is great for hair growth and can tackle hairfall. You can get the glowing skin and shiny hair you desire by eating fatty fish.
Fruits are nature’s way of packing a whole lot of nutrition into small packages. They are chock full of minerals, vitamins and fruit sugar. Your body needs sugar, but instead of getting it from artificial products, you can consume fruits to get the required sugar your body needs. Different fruits have different properties, such as:
- Banana – rich in vitamin A, E, and B, and antioxidants. Can prevent wrinkling of the skin.
- Mango – rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. Can retain skin elasticity, facilitate growth of skin cells, and prevents premature aging.
- Papaya – helps to shed the dead skin and clear impurities from the body and thus the skin.
- Apples – maintains the tone of skin and makes it look younger.
- Oranges and kiwis – rich in the vitamin C, delays wrinkle onset and boost the synthesis of collagen, and so fruits rich in this vitamin should be part of your diet plan.
- Guavas, strawberries, grapefruits – also vitamin C rich, and has the same properties as kiwis and oranges. Vitamin C also protects skin from the damage from sunrays, promotes cell growth and preserves the beauty and youth of the skin.
- Berries – immunity booster and antioxidant. Can get rid of the age/dark spots naturally.
Coconut as a fruit should be consumed to get the healthy fats and the vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin K, minerals. Coconut oil has been traditionally used for hair growth and to add shine to the hair. Coconut water is a miraculous natural healer, as it hydrates the body and has natural electrolytes. Coconut water not only washes out the toxins, bacteria and viruses out of the body, it also moves nutrients into cells. Coconut water should be consumed regularly in your diet plan.
Coconut oil can be swapped for vegetable oil as it has a high smoke-point, i.e. it is suitable for cooking at high heat.
Coconut oil applied on the scalp is effective also to prevent protein loss from hair, when you apply it before washing the hair.
Carrots contain beta-carotene, antioxidants and vitamin A. They have the capacity to flush out toxins, and some studies have found to be anti-carcinogenic. Protect the skin from sun damage, prevent wrinkles and aging by eating carrots in salads, soups and as juice.
Eggs have a high content of sulphur and are great for the production of keratin and collagen in the body. Eggs in any form can be included in your diet plan – have it as a boiled egg, sliced cold with salad , poached or sunny side up. The sulfur also is good for liver function and you should have an egg whenever you can.
Red bell pepper
Till now, it was thought that oranges contained the maximum amount of vitamin C. But actually, red bell pepper contains more vitamin C than oranges. Eating red bell pepper in your salads and steamed or stir fried will reduce the damage caused due to sun. When the sun’s rays hits the suns, free radicals are created which can lead to aging. The antioxidants in these peppers attach them to the free radicals and neutralizes the action of the free radicals. Consuming the red bell peppers regularly will keep your skin young and healthy.
Garlic should be in your diet plan, as it is one of nature’s remedies for preventing breakouts. Garlic can maintain a clear skin, and keep it safe from bacterial skin infections as it has anti-bacterial properties. To get the most of its infection fighting properties, crush or chop garlic and leave it on the chopping board for some minutes before you cook.
To reduce the brittleness of hair, eat oats regularly. It is high in zinc, magnesium, potassium and biotin. A deficiency in these can lead to hair breakage. Oats for breakfast with any form of dairy or simply with water is best for hair, heart and skin health.
Tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, collard greens, pineapples and oysters are some of the other wonder foods for healthy skin and hair. Include all the above foods in your diet plan and see the difference in your skin as well as hair.