The wonderful thing about eating a nutrient rich diet full of beneficial plant-based foods, is that you not only become healthier on the inside, but your appearance improves as well!

Below are 7 powerful foods that not only prevent disease but can also help improve the health and appearance of your skin, hair, nails, figure and overall ‘glow’.

FOR SKIN AND HAIR HEALTH:

Berries-
Berries are tri-doshic. That means they do not provoke the doshas and can be eaten by anyone. They are also among the most antioxidant rich foods on Earth. Their high antioxidant content helps keep you looking young, decreases wrinkles and fine lines, helps the prevention of dark circles or discoloration under the eyes, and protects against skin blotchiness, rashes and irritation.  Enjoy them fresh and in season.

Ayurvedic Tip: Fruits should not be combined with dairy products. They also ferment in the GI tract when eaten in combination with other foods. Enjoy fruit as a snack, between meals. Or eat fruit at the start of the meal so it digests easily.

Melon-
Different varieties of melon contain antioxidants such as lycopene which help protect skin against damage from the sun. High levels of vitamin C & A, potassium, beta carotene, and other antioxidants together boost immunity, skin radiance, eye health, and hair shine and strength.

Ayurvedic Tip: Melons do not digest well in combination with other fruits. Eat melon by itself for optimum digestion.

Cucumber-
Due to cucumbers being 95% comprised of water, they do a great job of hydrating your body and flushing out toxins. You have probably seen people place cucumbers slices over the eyes to help prevent puffiness, and this trick does work thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. The silicon and sulfur in cucumbers also help to stimulate hair growth and strength. Finally, daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a natural remedy for digestive health and prevention of constipation due to their fiber and hydrating properties.

Ayurvedic Tip: Cucumbers are great for Pitta dosha as they are cooling and soothing to heat. During the hot summer months or when Pitta dosha is high, enjoy cucumbers in salads, slaws and juices.

FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT:

Bell Peppers-
Thanks to their high vitamin C content, peppers help to keep skin looking young by fighting off collagen depletion. They can also help keep your figure looking slim and healthy due to the positive metabolic effect of capsaicin- a substance found in all pepper varieties- that helps keep a certain amount of fat cells from maturing and leading to weight gain. Beyond just preserving your looks, peppers have powerful prevention benefits against stroke, heart disease, cancer and more.

Ayurvedic Tip: Bell peppers are good for Pitta and Kapha dosha. They are provoking to Vata dosha.

Dark Leafy Greens-
There is almost nothing that leafy greens don’t help the body with. They keep your skin and hair looking healthy and nourished because of their hydrating water content and high vitamin and mineral content. More importantly, they also prevent basically every known chronic disease- including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, digestive issues, hormonal problems, and more. Leafy greens are full of crucial disease-fighting phytochemicals. They are rich in fiber and protein as well to keep you satisfied between meals and therefore less likely to snack on unfavorable foods that can sabotage your health and appearance.

Ayurvedic Tip: Dark leafy greens are tri-doshic and their fiber helps keep the shrotas or body channels open. Eat some amount on a daily basis.

Pineapple-
Pineapples help to reduce inflammation and therefore pain associated with conditions like arthritis, gout, and carpal tunnel syndrome, helping your body to stay fluid and active longer. A substance in pineapple called Bromelain helps keep the digestive system working properly which prevents bloating, cramps, and other stomach pains. Eating pineapple will also help strengthen your gums, so your teeth stay healthy and strong and your smile vibrant. On top of this, pineapple contains a good dose of vitamins C and B which support shiny, strong hair.

Ayurvedic Tip: Pineapple is good for Vata dosha. Pitta dosha can enjoy sweet pineapple, as opposed to sour pineapple. Pineapple is too heavy for kapha dosha.

 Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.