Ayurveda for Skin Health
You may be surprised to learn that the morning smoothie you’re having everyday - with fruits, veggies, dairy, nuts, protein powders, etc - is creating havoc in your digestive system, and manifesting in skin eruptions or skin abnormalities.
According to Ayurveda, skin problems can arise when one or more of the following is done consistently for extended periods:
Eating incompatible food combinations (such as fruit with dairy, like milk and banana)
Eating too much food during a meal (making digestion difficult)
Eating a lot of uncooked food (like large raw salads)
Eating when the previous meal is not fully digested (snacking)
Eating primarily “hot” foods, especially Pitta dosha (chillies, garlic, onion, nuts, butter, cheese, packaged yogurt, chicken, eggs)
Do you eat until you're completely full at every meal? Do you mix many kinds of food groups? Is every dish super spicy? These kind of eating habits can exacerbate all three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The unbalanced doshas can then negatively affect the skin, blood and tissue, and manifest physically as discoloration, dryness, lesions, boils, pimples, acne, inflammation, redness...basically any kind of skin problem.
The way to healthy, glowing skin is to keep the doshas in balance. The first important step is to know your specific dosha type (constitution) and eat according to that. For example, green leafy vegetables are excellent in helping to cleanse the blood and skin, however how it should be consumed is different for each dosha type. Kapha types can eat lightly steamed greens without much seasoning or dressing, Vata types must eat them well-cooked in ghee and spiced, and Pitta types should consume them lightly cooked, not too hot, and without chilllies or yogurt.
If you’re trying to recover from unhealthy skin, all dosha types should avoid fried and oily foods, excessive salt, meat and sugar. Daily breakfast of warm porridge or kitchari cooked with ghee, turmeric and ginger are excellent for all dosha types in leading one back to healthy skin. A more severe skin problem can be treated with a detox diet and Ayurvedic protocol.
Khadira Arishtam is one of the best Ayurvedic herbal preparations for skin diseases. (Check with your physician before starting any herbal supplement.) Also, consider triphala and neem, known for their skin healing qualities.
Remember that your skin irregularity is not the problem in itself...it’s often a symptom of a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. So don’t ignore it when you notice something different about your skin. Have it checked with your physician first, and then depending on the diagnosis, look at natural alternatives to heal yourself. Sometimes a simple vitamin supplement is all that you need. (See last week’s article on B12 deficiency.)