by Kristen Ma – HolisticVanity.ca
So, as I move through my 30 day 2 litres of water per day challenge, a question I am asked often is “Don’t you have to pee all the time”? Well, the answer is: “Yup”. But this is due to my body’s low kidney energy and compromised system. But I have been finding it actually getting better as I drink more water. Also, I want to emphasize that we cannot drink a litre in a sitting – but sip throughout the day so our bodies can gradually absorb this moisture. I am quite happy with the results of this challange, and those taking it with me have even commented on how their skin feels more hydrated already.
But for those of you who choose to very slowly increase their water-intake to ease themselves into this hydrating habit, I advocate starting with increasing the water content in your diet. Because it is not just about how much water we drink, but how much hydration we absorb, how much we hold onto, and how much we get from our foods as well.
Now, my family has been eating water rich foods for as long as I can remember. And being expensive is no excuse not to eat healthy (you would be surprised how often I hear this – and fast food is actually pricier than a trip to the fruit and veggie market). As newly landed immigrants, my grandparents had to find cheap ways to eat fresh foods. I remember my grandmother steaming ice berg lettuce (a lil spice and sesame oil drizzled on this actually makes for a delicous dish). And if you see my grandfather who is well into his 80s springing around, you will see the benefits of water-rich foods. Well, he also does have a flip phone with dangley heart-shaped cellphone charms on it – so I think being young at heart has something to do with it.
Here are the top ten foods for increasing skin hydration:
1. Celery – I could eat celery all day. Its refreshing and has that little bit of bitter that really cools my heat. Dehydration not only comes from a lack of water, but 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 encourage 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 its hard!) as its high sugar increases Kapha.
3. Flax seed oil -We cannot just think of fruits and veggies which increase our hydration, but oils are also important. Like with our skin creas, oils help protect as a barrier against water loss and also lubricate our digestive track to help us elminiate and detoxify hardened toxins. Cold-pressed flax oil is especially good 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 lifesaver.
4. Beansprouts – Another cheap, cheap veggie. Beansprouts 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 nutrients.
6. Strawberries -Strawberries are not only excellent for hydration because they are full of moisture, but also their seeds are fantastic for encouraging the movement of our bowels. Keeping a clean G.I tract is important for absorbing moisture and nourishment.
7. Cucumbers -I have posted that 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 more moist as it is grown in water as well as cooked in water – making it naturally more hydrating.
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) and 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. It is the key ingredient in making a mean guacamole.
10. Rooibos Tea -Last blog I raved about Rooibos as it 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 carmel-tasting tea for my birthday which was a new take on my old fav. Nothing is more loveley than a cup of hand blended herbal tea! But I am also suggesting Rooibos Tea 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 that 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”.