Beauty: Ten Foods For Increasing Skin Hydration, by Kristen Ma

My family has been eating water-rich foods for as long as I can remember. As newly landed immigrants, my grandparents had to find cheap ways to eat fresh foods. I remember my grandmother steaming iceberg lettuce (with a little spice and sesame oil drizzled on, this actually makes for a delicious dish). If you see my grandfather who is springing around well into his eighties, you will see the benefits of water-rich foods. Here are my top ten water-rich foods for increasing skin hydration.

1. Celery – I could eat celery all day. It’s refreshing and has that little bit of bitter taste which really cools my heat. Dehydration not only comes from a lack of water, but also from an excess of heat in our bodies. The heat burns up the water according to Eastern Medicine. Celery, because of its high water content, also has been said to promote weight loss as it takes more calories to digest and process than it contains.

2. Watermelon – Watermelon ain’t called “water” melon for no reason. 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 content increases Kapha.

3. Flax seed oil -We cannot just think of fruits and veggies which increase our hydration – oils are also important. Like our skin creams, oils help protect as a barrier against water loss and also lubricate our digestive tract to help us eliminate hardened toxins. Cold-pressed flax oil is especially excellent for our skin. I used to travel with caps of flax seed oil as it helped me prevent eczema break-outs triggered from airplane flights. They were a true lifesaver.

4. Bean sprouts – Another cheap, cheap veggie. Bean sprouts are not as rich in nutrients as other vegetables, but their water content can’t be disputed.

5. Bell Peppers – I love using red, yellow, and orange bell peppers in my cooking as they give dishes a beautiful rainbow of colour. According to many holistic nutritionists, you should be eating at least three different coloured fruits and vegetables a day to get a variety of vitamins and phytonutrients.

6. Strawberries – These delicious fruits are excellent for hydration because they are full of moisture. 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.

7. Cucumbers – I put slices of cucumber in my water to make water tastier. But you can also eat them with a squirt of lime and sprinkle of cayenne. Remember, we want to increase foods which have cellular hydration and decrease foods like wheat and red meat which are dehydrating. If you are going to eat a lot of starch, I recommend eating rice. Rice is naturally more moist and hydrating as it is grown in water as well as cooked in water.

8. Pea Sprouts -These sweet sprouts cook in less than 3 minutes or can be served raw and give dishes a great crispness. They are high in vitamin A and C and also have an abundance of folic acid which is especially important for women.

9. Cilantro -Cilantro is pacifying for Pitta (internal fire). 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, too. It is the key ingredient in making a mean guacamole.

10. Rooibos Tea – Rooibos is an anti-inflammatory for our digestive systems and has a natural sweetness to it. I was given a bag of green rooibos blended with other sweet herbs to make a caramel-tasting tea for my birthday which was a new take on my old fav. 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. Tahlia, an esthetician at our Pure + Simple Yorkville location and nutritionist, told me last week that she suggests to her clients who are addicted to caffeine to at least opt for some tea in the morning instead of coffee. “At least they should start their day hydrated and not begin it by dehydrating their body.”

Kristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine. She blogs regularly at Holistic Vanity.