A Skin Saving Food
This is a traditional recipe from South India, and a great example of how modern medicine is rediscovering the powerful benefits of many traditional foods.
Every ingredient in this recipe has an important health and skin benefit. The recipe highlights spices, which are what I call a triple threat. Spices and herbs are so powerful because they battle the three main forces that age the skin:
Turmeric is one spice that gets a lot of press, and for good reason. It has extremely potent anti-inflammatory abilities, demonstrated in research study after research study. For example, this research study demonstrates how it lowers levels of TNF-alpha in the bloodstream. (TNF-alpha is a marker of systemic inflammation.)
Yogurt is experiencing a resurgence, because it's a natural source of healthy probiotics. In research studies, the good microbes found in probiotic foods have helped reduce skin inflammation by acting on the body's T-cells. Probiotics have even helped improve skin hydration.
This recipe combines yogurt with spices and also onions, which has another important benefit. Onions are a prebiotic food, which means they help encourage the growth of good microbes in your gut. Combining prebiotics with probiotics helps ramp up the power of this recipe.
In America, we're used to highly sweetened yogurts. However, in many other cultures, tart yogurt is the preferred flavor. This recipe is a delicious savory yogurt dish, and would make a perfect side dish.
8 ounces of yogurt (with live active cultures)
1 TSBP olive oil
1/2 TBSP cumin seeds (whole)
1/2 TBSP coriander seeds (whole)
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 TSP turmeric
1/4 TSP salt
1. In skillet, add olive oil, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds
2. Heat to medium, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes (these spices can burn quickly, so watch closely)
3. When spices are fragrant, add tomatoes, onions, turmeric, and salt
4. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
5. Add mixture to yogurt and stir
Dr. Rajani Katta is the author of Glow: The Dermatologist's Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet. To receive future updates on preventive dermatology and the role of diet, sign up here.