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Foods that can tame Kapha Dosha

Love food?! Eat more spicy, sour food and even start a meal with a small dessert to enjoy your food love healthily!

“Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need”.  Ayurveda believes that most physical, emotional, mental imbalances are caused by dosha imbalances. And with proper diet and lifestyle changes, you can fundamentally balance the dosha and lead a healthier life.

The Three Tastes of Kapha Dosha – Pungent, Bitter and Astringent

There are six tastes in Ayurveda: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter or astringent.The tastes that work the best for balancing Kapha Dosha are

Pungent (Katu)

  • Katu is the hottest of all the rasas and it is made up of fire and air. These two forces combine to get those digestive fires burning! This leads to an improved appetite, stimulating blood circulation subsequently motivating the senses.
  • The Kapha dosha need this boost to get moving and remove any sluggishness. Also, the air quality of Katu is just what the [Ayurvedic :)] doctor ordered for drying up all the mucous in the body as Kapha tends to have sinus and congestion issues.
  • Pungent foods include: fresh ginger, hot peppers, onions, garlic, mustard and hot spices.

Bitter (Tikta)

  • Air and Space are the qualities that comprise this rasa, giving it cool and drying qualities.
  • Bitter foods help to gently detoxify and cleanse the body as well as the mind; assisting kapha’s sluggish and heavier disposition.
  • The Bitter taste abounds in foods such dark leafy greens, broccoli, sprouts, beets and herbs such as turmeric and fenugreek.

Astringent (Kasaya)

  • Air and Earth comprise this taste. Cool, dry, and light, the astringent rasa has a airy and drying effect, making it  ideal for Kapha.
  • The astringent taste abounds in foods such as: beans and legumes, broccoli and cauliflower, green grapes, cranberries, pomegranates, alfalfa sprouts, and okra.

The tastes to reduce or avoid – Sweet, Sour and Salty

Sweet (Madhura)

  • Sweet is made up of Earth and Water.Its heavy, oily, moist qualities tend to slow down digestion, as it will quickly increase Kapha when taken in excess. It’s often suggested in ayurveda for Kapha to eat small dessert first in the meal if needed J
  • However, sweet taste does not mean only desserts! The sweet taste abounds in foods such as carbohydrates like wheat, rice, grains, oatmeal, fresh/dried fruit and even dairy like milk, cheese etc.

Sour (Amla)

  • The sour taste is comprised of the elements earth and fire. can suffocate kapha with its slippery, grounding nature.
  •  Sour foods include lemons, limes, plums, vinegar, and pickled and fermented foods.

Salty (Lavana)

  • The salty taste, made of fire and water, tends to be a heavy and heaty. Its heating quality fires up the appetite and digestion. Kapha will be attracted to the warmth of salty flavors, but this flavor tends to promote more weight gain and water retention than what Kapha really wants.
  • Salty foods that work are Seaweed, salted nuts, olives and conserved/preserved foods.

 

Principles of food that help tame Kapha Dosha

  • People with Kapha dosha love food! Watch out for eating too much food and putting on weight, a typical kapha tendency. Kaphas need to watch the consumption of too much sweet foods or fatty foods.
  • Foods to eat: The best foods for Kapha dosha are – Warm, light, dry food, cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar. Eat lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. The food needs to be stimulating with pungent (spicy), bitter, and astringent tastes. Select hot food over cold food whenever feasible. Dry cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing) are preferable for Kaphas over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling or poaching.
  • Foods to avoid: On the other hand foods that are sweet (yes – desserts!), sour and salty should be avoided. Avoid deep fried foods. Keep an eye on the salt consumption also, which tend to result in fluid retention in Kaphas. Also avoid ‘cold’ foods in general – in temperature and energetically – take a glass of hot water instead of ice water.
  • Breaking the fast: Try hot ginger tea to kick-start your sluggish digestive system or take honey, hot water, lemon juice and ginger. Kapha breakfast should be hot (spiced cider, hot oatmeal or bitter cocoa with skim milk and a touch of honey). Avoid cold cereals, cold juice or milk, and sugary pastries. Avoid breakfast meats like Bacon, sausage as that aggravates Kapha due to their salt and oil.
  • Best Fats: In general, for Kapha dosha, fats are recommended in small quantities only. Pungent fats are better than sweeter fats – so mustard oil, sunflower oil, corn oil work better for Kapha dosha
  • Staples: In general, ‘lighter’ carbohydrates are good for Kapha- Barley, millet, corn, buckwheat, rye, quinoa, couscous and oats and whole grain breads (toasted). Whole wheat, rice and cooked oats should be reduced as hot cereals and steamed grains, in general, as they are too moist and heavy for Kapha.
  • Vegetables:Pungent and bitter vegetables are best for balancing Kapha dosha. . Some recommended veggies are – all green leafy vegetables, carrot, beets, artichoke, broccoli, corn, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, bell pepper, green beans , peas, sprouts, tender radish etc.Avoid or reduce sweet juicy vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini, tapioca, winter squash etc
  • Dairy: Don’t overindulge on dairy foods. Butter, ice cream, and cheese are among the worst foods you can take as it aggravates the Kapha. Take warm low fat milk. Avoid heavy cheeses and milk shakes.
  • Meat: In small quantities – White meat, turkey or eggs works the best. Avoid Red meat and seafood as they aggravate the dosha.
  • Drinks:Spicy, Astringent or Bitter beverages work the best. Chai ( spiced indian tea) is the best for the dosha. Pomegranate or prune juices give you astringent tastes.  Juices of bitter and astringent veggies like bitter-gourd and Jamun are excellent for Kapha.
  • Fruits: Dried and/ or astringent fruits are great for Kapha. Good examples are
    apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, figs, peaches, pears, prunes, pomegranates etc. Avoid fruits that are too sweet, sour or very juicy like avocados, bananas, coconut, dates, grapefruit, grapes, melons, oranges, papayas, pineapples, plums etc
  • Spices: All spices are good, except salt. Specially ginger tea or a pinch or ginger to stimulate appetite. Heating spices like  black pepper, cumin, mustard seeds, ajwain, saffron, hing, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, coriander, dill, mint, garlic, nutmeg, tamarind are especially beneficial to this dosha.
  • Sweetners : Kaphas have a sweet tooth. So, cutting down on sugar is difficult for many of them. Cutting sugar is highly recommended. Take honey instead, but avoid taking more than a spoonful of honey a day.

Remember the golden rules in regard to food; eat only when hungry; eat small meals; eat your last meal at least four hours before bedtime; and eat food chosen from the food list from your Dosha. Meals should not be consumed when anxious, stressed, or depressed. If you are hungry before bed then take suitable fruits only.

Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.

Foods that can tame Pitta Dosha

Can eat everything? Doesn’t mean you should! Sweet, juicy, cooling foods work better to douse your raging digestive fire!

“Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need”.  Ayurveda believes that most physical, emotional, mental imbalances are caused by dosha imbalances. And with proper diet and lifestyle changes, you can fundamentally balance the dosha and lead a healthier life.

The Three Tastes of Pitta Dosha – Sweet, Bitter and Astringent.

There are six tastes in Ayurveda: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter or astringent.The tastes that work the best for balancing Pitta Dosha are

Sweet (Madhura)

  • As Sweet is made up of Earth and Water it has a calming effect on the burning Pitta fire.
  • This taste is great for Pitta as many foods in this Rasa are cooling, heavy and moist, helping douse those flames! It has a calming and restorative effect for the “live-wire” Pitta.
  • However, sweet taste does not mean only desserts! The sweet taste abounds in foods such as carbohydrates like wheat, rice, grains, oatmeal, fresh/dried fruit and even dairy like milk, cheese etc.

Bitter (Tikta)

  • Air and Space are the qualities that comprise this rasa, giving it cool and drying qualities. It is ideal for Pitta- especially in aiding digestion when an imbalance is present.
  • Bitter foods help to gently detoxify and cleanse the body as well as the mind; enhancing clearer vision. Pitta’s creativity will flourish as the body and mind have been cleared of any ‘junk’
  • The Bitter taste abounds in foods such dark leafy greens, broccoli, sprouts, beets and herbs such as turmeric and fenugreek.

Astringent (Kasaya)

  • Air and Earth comprise this taste. Cool, dry, and light, the astringent rasa has a cooling effect. The gentle coolness helps moderate Pitta’s fire and continues to be present during and post-digestion too; making it a long-term solution for an imbalanced Pitta dosha.
  • The astringent taste abounds in foods such as: beans and legumes, broccoli and cauliflower, green grapes, cranberries, pomegranates, alfalfa sprouts, and okra.

The tastes to reduce or avoid – Pungent, Sour and Salty

Pungent (Katu)

  • Katu is the hottest of all the rasas and it is made up of fire and air. It significantly increases fire in Pitta, unbalances the Dosha and gives rise to most gastro-interstinal issues Pitta Dosha suffers from on a going basis.
  • Pungent foods include: fresh ginger, hot peppers, onions, garlic, mustard and hot spices.

Sour (Amla)

  • The sour taste is comprised of the elements earth and fire. Its heating quality fires up the appetite and digestion, often causing more heat than what Pitta can handle with already raging fire.This can create acid indigestion, hyperacidity, heartburn, and ulcers.
  • Sour foods include lemons, limes, plums, vinegar, and pickled and fermented foods.

Salty (Lavana)

  • The salty taste, made of fire and water, tends to be a heavy and heaty. The heat can add to the already hot Pitta’s system, sometimes causing hypertension and heartburn
  • Salty foods that work are Seaweed, salted nuts, olives and conserved/preserved foods.

Principles of food that help tame Pitta Dosha

  • Since Pittas have strong efficient digestion, they can generally eat just about everything. Most Pittas get into trouble by continued use of too much salt, overuse of sour and spicy food and overeating all of which are “heating” to the body.
  • Foods to eat: A pitta pacifying diet favors juicy, cooling foods with high water content with a balance of whole, freshly cooked foods and fresh and raw foods.Its recommended to take cool, refreshing food like Salads (with a not too acidic dressing). Since Pitta is a hot & fiery dosha, warm, cooling foods such as these are good for stabilizing Pitta.
  • Foods to avoid: On the other hand foods that are pungent, sour and salty should be avoided. Hot foods (both energetically and in temperature), extra spicy (like Chili and cayenne peppers.), highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, “TV” dinners or pastries) are not very good for persons with Pitta imbalance.
  • Best Fats: GHEE (clarified butter) is the best fat for Pitta, both for cooking and applying externally as it pacifies the fire. In case of heavy Pitta imbalance, it’s even suggested to start the day with a spoonful of warm ghee (can take with warm milk). However, in case of people with cholesterol & heart issues, it should be taken in moderation. Coconut oil, unsalted butter are other options that works very well as its heavy nature settles the dosha.
  • Staples: In general, ‘good’ carbohydrates are good for Pitta as they help douse the fire. The recommended choices are – Whole wheat, rice (esp. basmati rice), barley and oats.Barley is considered the best Pitta grain, due to its cooling, drying and alkalizing effects. Other grains that work are – granola, couscous, and quinoa. Corn, Millet, Rye and even short-grain brown rice are best reduced or avoided, as they tend to heat up the bodies.
  • Vegetables:In general sweet and bitter vegetables are good for Pitta dosha.  Some recommended veggies are – Green leafy vegetables, Carrot, cucumber, beetroot, pumpkin, okra, cabbage, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
    Cucumber, Lettuce, Peas, Potatoes, Sprouts, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Zucchini etc. Reduce Pungent vegetables like garlic, hot peppers, raw onions, radishes etc.
  • Dairy: All dairy is good in moderation, esp. cold dairyis suitable for Pitta. Cold milk, Ghee, soft cheeses and cottage cheese works best. Goat’s milk and soy milk also compliment this dosha.
  • Meat: Given the fire existing in this dosha, vegetarian food is the best, as meat tends to heat up the body. In small quantities – White meat or eggsworks the best. Avoid Red meat and seafood as they produce more fire.
  • Drinks:Bitter or sweet juices work the best. Juice of aloe vera, apples, berries work great. Juices of bitter and astringent veggies like bitter-gourd and Jamun are excellent for Pitta. Herb teas are usually good. Prefer mint, licorice root or other sweet fruit teas. Avoid coffee is also pitta aggravating due to the acid in coffee.
  • Fruits: Sweet and ripe or astringent fruits are great for Pitta. Good examples are ripe pineapple, ripe mango, dates, coconut, pomegranate, grapes, black berries , prunes, avocado and watermelon. Avoid fruits that are sour or un-ripe like sour plums, strawberries, cranberries etc.
  • Spices: Spices are generally avoided as too heating. In small amounts, the following sweet and astringent spices are fine – Cardamom, Cilantro(green coriander), Cinnamon, Coriander seed, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Saffron, Turmeric etc.  Best to avoid all pungent herbs and spices. Take only the minimal amounts of the following – Barbecue sauce, Catsup, Mustard, Pickles, Salt ,Sour salad dressings, Spicy condiments, Vinegar

 Remember the golden rules in regard to food; eat only when hungry; eat small meals; eat your last meal at least four hours before bedtime; and eat food chosen from the food list from your Dosha. Meals should not be consumed when anxious, stressed, or depressed. If you are hungry before bed then take suitable fruits only.

Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.

 

Foods that can tame Vata Dosha

Lucky Vata! Bring on the butter and the sweets! Nourishing, heavier textured, rich and warm food is just what the doctor ordered!

“Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need”.  Ayurveda believes that most physical, emotional, mental imbalances are caused by dosha imbalances. And with proper diet and lifestyle changes, you can fundamentally balance the dosha and lead a healthier life.

The Three Tastes of Vata Dosha – Sweet, Sour and Salty

There are six tastes in Ayurveda: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter or astringent. The tastes that work the best for balancing Vata Dosha are

Sweet (Madhura) 

  • Sweet is the most grounding and wholesome taste. As Sweet is made up of Earth and Water it has a calming effect on the nervous energy that Vata tends to possess.
  • This taste is great for Vata as it is heavy and moist, adding bulk to the Vata’s slight frame and lubricating dry skin and joints.
  • However, sweet taste does not mean only desserts! The sweet taste abounds in foods such as carbohydrates like wheat, rice, grains, oatmeal, fresh/dried fruit and even dairy like milk, cheese etc.

Sour (Amla)

  • The sour taste is comprised of the elements earth and fire. Its warming quality fires up the appetite and digestion leading to more effective elimination of waste and toxins from the body. Vata often needs a helping hand when it comes to a weak digestion. The sour taste has moistening properties that serves the ‘dry’ Vata well.
  • Sour foods include lemons, limes, plums, vinegar, and pickled and fermented foods.

Salty (Lavana)

  • The salty taste is comprised of fire and water and tends to be a little heavy and moist. Its grounding and moistening properties are just what Vata needs to pacify the ‘wind’, hydrate and thus helping them to center.
  • Salt stimulates digestion, helps maintain electrolyte balance, softens tissues, and has a mild laxative effect when taken in moderation.
  • Salty foods that work are Seaweed, salted nuts, olives and conserved/preserved foods.

The tastes to reduce or avoid – Pungent, Bitter, Astringent

Pungent (Katu)

  • Katu is the hottest of all the rasas and it is made up of fire and air. It significantly increase air and unbalances Vata Dosha
  • Pungent foods include: fresh ginger, hot peppers, onions, garlic, mustard and hot spices.

Bitter (Tikta)

  • Air and Space are the qualities that comprise this rasa, giving it cool and drying qualities. Best to avoid for Vata as it increases the dryness and air.
  • The Bitter taste abounds in foods such dark leafy greens, broccoli, sprouts, beets and herbs such as turmeric and fenugreek.

Astringent (Kasaya)

  • Air and Earth comprise this Rasa/Taste. Cool, dry, and light, the astringent rasa has a cooling effect making it bad for Vata. To identify ‘Astringent’ taste, think of things that leaves your mouth ‘dry’ and needing water after eating.
  • The astringent taste abounds in foods such as: beans and legumes, broccoli and cauliflower, green grapes, cranberries, pomegranates, alfalfa sprouts, and okra.

Principles of food that help tame Vata  Dosha

  • All soothing foods are good for settling disturbed Vata. Vata people should take food that is warm, moderately heavy texture, not too dry, soothing, nourishing, and rich with added butter and fat.
  • Foods to eat: Use foods such as: warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, and fresh baked bread. Since Vata is a cold dry dosha, warm, nourishing foods such as these are good for stabilizing Vata.
  • Foods to avoid: On the other hand cold foods such as cold salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and fruits and greens are not very good for persons with Vata imbalance.
  • Best Fats: OILs are very good for Vata, both for cooking and applying externally as it pacifies the air. Nut butter is another fat that works very well for Vata dosha as its oily,heavy nature settles the dosha.
  • Staples: In general, ‘good and heavy’ carbohydrates are good for Vata. The recommended choices are – Wheat, cooked oatmeal, Rice (cooked and not puffed), Semolina, noodles/pasta (preferably brown), quinoa and amaranth.
  • Vegetables:In general eat cooked vegetables, with juicy sweet vegetables being the best. Avoid raw or frozen vegetables, cold salads in general. Veggies that are good for Vata are:Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, green beans, pumpkin, squashes, watercress.
  • Dairy:All dairy is good in moderation. However, avoid having it cold (i.e. cold milk, ice creams, cold cheeses etc.).  A good way to drink milk would be warm with few warming spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Meat: White meat or seafood in small quantity. Avoid Red meat.
  • Main meal:Breakfast is highly recommended for Vata Dosha. Use hot cereals such as cream of rice or wheat or any other breakfast that is warm, milky, and sweet. Warm milk is good. You can add a little sugar or honey to it if you prefer.
  • Drinks: Vata dosha should have warm or hot water instead of ice water and drinks or hot or herbal tea with snacks in the late afternoon. Avoid drinks with high caffeine as it disturbs Vata.
  • Snacks: Best snacks for Vata is salted nuts that are heavy and oily as opposed to dry salty snacks. Avoid eating candies as it disturbs Vata.
  • Fruits:All sweet fruits are Ok for Vata. Avoid unripe fruits and fruits like cranberries, figs etc. as they are astringent.
  • Spices: Warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves, black pepper in moderation. Avoid extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.

Remember the golden rules in regard to food; eat only when hungry; eat small meals; eat your last meal at least four hours before bedtime; and eat food chosen from the food listfrom your Dosha. Meals should not be consumed when anxious, stressed, or depressed. If you are hungry before bed then take suitable fruits only.

Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.

15 Simple Home Remedies for Acne and Pimples

Don’t you hate it when you have that all important date or meeting and there pops in the dreaded enemy! An acne or a pimple! These home remedies will help you put your best face forwards.

Don’t you hate it when you have that all important date or meeting and there pops in the dreaded enemy! An acne or a pimple!! Always at the wrong place at the wrong time! Acne is a problem plaguing a majority of youngsters worldwide, however many men and women in early to late twenties also develop acne and pimples.

From an ayurvedic standpoint, Acne and pimples may show imbalance across all 3 dosha’s, but it’s most common to have Pitta dosha and rakta dhatu (blood) involved.

pictureThe first stage of Pitta acne is the formation of blackheads, which form when oil and dead cells block skin pores and turn black. This is followed by redness, inflammation and formation of pimples over the affected areas. Acne can appear over the face, neck, chest, back and scalp.

A large number of factors are responsible for acne – pitta imbalance, hormonal imbalance, unhealthy diet, sleep deprivation and stress being some of them. In some people, it is hereditary. Sometimes simply the lack of skin care deprives you of clear skin. Oily skin is more prone to pimples and acne. Some people eat the wrong foods and at irregular times, which leads to constipation. Consequently the body accumulates toxins in the bloodstream leading to skin troubles.

The best way to manage the acne trouble is to balance the Pitta dosha. Diet plays a major role both as a cause as well as a treatment for acne. Drink lots of water to get rid of the toxins in your body. Avoid oily, fatty and processed foods, sweets and carbonated drinks. In the short-term though, there are several simple and effective home remedies which can be tried to get rid of acne.

1. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is an natural anti-bacterial wonderful for skin troubles and can be used in many ways. You can simply rub a piece of lemon over the affected area, which will not only dry out the pimples but also kill the bacteria. Alternatively, lemon juice mixed with rose water in equal quantities and applied for 20 minutes daily provides a clear, glowing skin. Applying a mixture of fresh lemon juice and groundnut oil on the face prevents formation of blackheads. A homemade face wash can be prepared by adding lemon juice to unboiled milk.

2. Oranges: Oranges are a delight not only for our taste buds but also for our skin. We can sun dry some orange peels and grind them into a powder. This powder mixed with some water can be used as a face mask to overcome the problem of acne.

3. Tomato: The vitamin C and acid content of tomato helps to ward off acne and pimples. You can simply rub a slice of tomato over the pimples. Alternatively, tomato pulp applied over the affected area for 45 minutes and then washed with cold water also does the trick.

4. Honey and Cinnamon: Honey has an anti-bacterial action whereas cinnamon is anti-inflammatory by nature. Use a mixture of honey and cinnamon powder over the pimples overnight and wash it the next morning. Follow this routine for a fortnight and see the magic it works on your pimples.

5. Turmeric: Turmeric, nature’s anti-biotic,  has been used as a skin care product since ancient times. A mixture of turmeric and neem (Indian lilac) leaves makes an effective face pack for acne. We can also use coriander leaves instead of neem leaves.

6. Fuller’s Earth: Commonly known as multani mitti, Fuller’s earth is a traditional ingredient in beauty masks. It makes a healing face pack for pimples when mixed with rose water and sandalwood powder. It works as a magical potion by drying the skin and clearing the pimples. You can buy Fuller’s earth at your local general store.

7. Potato: Potato is high in vitamin B and vitamin C both of which boost skin health. Shredded raw potato is an effective skin remedy and gives a glow to the skin.

8. Fenugreek: Application of a paste made by grinding fenugreek (methi) leaves for 15 minutes every night and then washing it off with water is another measure to put an end to the pimple problem.

9. Garlic: Crush some cloves of garlic, mix them with water and apply over the affected area. Garlic has an anti-fungal and antibiotic action on pimples and acne. Consuming 3-4 cloves of garlic daily for a month also helps.

10. Cucumber: Cucumber has always been known as a soother for the skin. Ground cucumber can be applied on the face. It helps in drying out the skin and making it pimple free. It also helps in exfoliating dead skin cells.

11. Apple: Grate a piece of apple and mix it with some honey to make a paste. Use this paste on the affected spot for 20 minutes. The redness and inflammation will subside after some time.

12. Green Tea: Make some green tea and freeze it into ice cubes. Rub these cubes on the pimples a few times during the day. These act as an astringent and reduce  redness and swelling.

13. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar diluted with water acts as a toner and helps to exfoliate dead skin. It maintains the pH balance of the skin and gives it a healthy glow.

14. Aloe Vera Gel:  Cooling Aloe vera gel is one of the most popular multipurpose natural remedies. Applying aloe vera gel to the pimples gives a quick relief.

15. Egg White: Separate egg white from the yolk, whip it up and dab it on the pimples at bedtime. Leave it overnight and wash with warm water in the morning.

Apart from diet and home remedies, remember to keep your skin clean and wash your face at least twice a day with a mild face wash. Do not touch or scratch your pimples as it can lead to ugly scars. A good night’s sleep also gives a healthy glow to the skin. A healthy lifestyle is the key to clear and glowing skin.