9 summer beauty foods for no-makeup-needed skin

cucumber water
Shvitzing? Try cooling cucumber and mint! (Photo: We Heart It)

If the summer temps are taking a toll on more than your natural deodorant supply—and starting to affect your skin with no-fun breakouts and heat-related rashes—you might want want these cooling, summer beauty foods in your crisper.

In the summer, nature adds more fuel to the skin-freakout fire, says Dr. Karuna Sabnani, ND, founder of Karuna Naturopathic Healthcare in New York City and an Ayurvedic practitioner. According to principles of that 5,000-year-old healing science, “toxic heat aggravates the skin, and often brings out skin conditions like acne,” she says. “But if you eat foods that help keep that heat in check, you’ll see more of a benefit to your skin.”

cooling foods, summer beauty foods, Karuna Sabnani
Get this, Dr. Karuna Sabnani says drinking hot tea will help you cool down—and in turn, make your skin glow. (Photo: Karuna Naturopathic)

Just what foods can cool you off, while helping your skin, too? Here are nine, many of which might already be in your fridge. “What you eat is more important than what you put on your skin,” Dr. Sabnani says. “If you eat these,” she promises, “you’re going to glow.” —Molly Gallagher

1. Peppermint
While mint is very uplifting, it’s also relaxing to the body, says Dr. Sabnani. “Whenever you’re relaxed, that’s going to help reduce your stress hormones, which in turn is kinder to your skin,” she says. Stress is a trigger for acne and for premature aging. Mint also may help reduce androgens, which can cause oil production and acne. (Can you plant mint on a fire escape?)

2. Red grapes
Grapes are only cooling if they are sweet, she says. Green grapes, for example, won’t do the trick. “Sour, salty, and pungent foods are more heating, you want grapes that aren’t sour,” Dr. Sabnani explains.

3. Cucumber
These refreshing slices are way more than a facial accessory. Cucumbers are similar to watermelon in that they’re hydrating foods, she says. “I really like cucumbers because the silica in them also has anti-aging qualities,” Sabnani says. I mean, who can argue with a two-for-one?

4. Turmeric
This root is super anti-inflammatory, which means it helps with flareups of all kinds over time, whether it’s an acne breakout or ow-y knees and joints following your long runs.

watermelon_we heart it
(Photo: We Heart It)

5. Watermelon
The summertime favorite, which Dr. Sabnani calls “medicine” will definitely bring your temperature down. “It’s not just cooling. It’s cold. I never touch it until summer,” Dr. Sabnani says, abiding the Ayurvedic seasonal eating philosophy. She recommends that you don’t eat it with other foods, but instead wait to snack on it about an hour after your meal.

6. Coconut water
The buzzed-about beverage got its rep for a reason—it’s very cooling, balancing, and has a lot of electrolytes, which we lose when we sweat during the summer. “Coconut water is God’s gift,” Dr. Sabnani says.

7. Cilantro
Dr. Sabnani likes this garnish because it’s flavorful and has culinary uses, yet it’s detoxifying and cooling, which makes it your skin’s friend in summer. She whips up a mint and cilantro chutney, which sounds just delish. (Recipe, Dr. Sabnani?)

8. Fennel
“Many spices naturally bring ‘warmth’ to your body, but fennel brings ‘cool’ to your body,” Dr. Sabnani says. Thinly slice raw fennel over a salad and enjoy the cabbage-like crunch and better digestion, which helps promote clear and glowing skin.

9. Chrysanthemum tea
Tea in the summer? It might not sound refreshing, but it’ll cool you off, she promises. The tea reduces heat—and even counteracts the heat from eating a little too much, um, BBQ.

Fore more information, visit www.karunanaturopathic.com

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