The skin is one of the largest organs of the body and the only one we have on-going sight of. It provides a visible reflection of our health and age, and it can be clear to see when it’s unhappy and not in the best health.
Many people are on the look-out for a magic lotion or potion to keep their skin in tip-top condition, but what most don’t realise is that the one of the secrets to happy and healthy skin isn’t just what you rub on it, but also the foods you do (and don’t) put in your mouth.
To eat your way to healthier, happier skin, try the following:
1. EMBRACE FATS
Including healthy oils in your diet is hugely significant for skin health, as lipids form the membrane of every single cell in the body. These oils keep the membranes fluid, flexible and supple and protect them from damaging external environmental factors, such as pollution and weather, as well as internal free radicals. To enhance your healthy oil intake, focus on foods which are rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and organic grass-fed meat, as well as plant-based sources like flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts, although these are generally less easily absorbed.
Try to also include Omega 9’s found in macadamia nuts, olives, avocados, as they help to regulate blood sugar levels and support the balancing of hormones, such as insulin, which can also have a knock-on effect on the skin. Saturated fats such as organic butter, ghee and coconut oil, milk and butter also provide good sources of fat, as well as other nutrients that can be beneficial for the skin.
2. A-C-E YOUR SKIN VITAMINS
Vitamin A is one of the most widely recognised nutrients for skin health, as it supports cell replication and regeneration. It also suppresses sebaceous gland activity e.g. excessive oil production, which can contribute to conditions such as acne. Vitamin A deficiency can often show in scaly skin and raised bumps on the back of the arms. To boost your intake of Vitamin A, try eating foods such as liver organic butter, yogurt and cheese, which have the most easily absorbed levels of this essential vitamin, as well as those in the provitamin form, most notably beta-carotene, that you can get from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash.
Vitamin C is essential for building structural protein collagen, which is crucial for the stability and plumpness of the skin. You can find this in peppers, berries and kiwis, as well as green vegetables which are another great source, especially the brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower, which can assist with helping balance hormones, which may also affect the skin.
Vitamin E found in all nuts and seeds helps to prevent premature ageing and DNA cell damage, so why not sprinkle them over your morning porridge or salads and vegetables to boost your daily intake?
3. FEED YOUR GUT:
Skin can often be influenced by gut health, so helping to support a thriving gut microbiome (aka the trillions of microbes in the gut) should also be part of your skin ‘regime’. Poor gut health can result in a lack of absorption of nutrients, reduced production of anti-inflammatory substances and a compromised immune system that can manifest itself in conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, cheese and kefir, as well as veggies such as sauerkraut that also contains sulfur can help support collagen production and reduce premature ageing. Including a diverse and plentiful repertoire of fibre in your diet is also integral to a healthy gut, so vary your intake of veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds and wholegrains as much as possible.
4. REST & DIGEST:
Mitigate factors from your life and diet that can create stress, whether external or internal, as this can cause stress for your skin too. Excessive amounts of sugar (whether ‘healthy’ or not) or any other white refined products can contribute to form a process called glycation, which can prematurely age the skin and leave it more susceptible to environmental damage.
However, it is important not to get too stressed about what you are eating, or not eating as this can also have a negative impact on the skin and body. Aim to strike a balance and enjoy what you like once in a while.
Dehydration can also create general stress for the skin. Think of a plant that does not get watered and becomes wrinkled and shriveled up. If you want healthy glowing skin, then ensure you get enough H20 in your diet. Make water more interesting by adding lime juice and pinch of cayenne. There are also some great hydrating skin treatments which can breathe life back into your skin, and quickly. The Peel Bar at YOUNG LDN offers a range of facial treatments which can revive, hydrate and brighten your skin in as little as 20 minutes, boosting collagen & elastin, as well as removing dead skin to achieve a healthy glow.
Also, the timing of your meals can also have an impact on your skin’s health. So, ensure you space your meals out adequately throughout the day and try not to eat too late at night, as this can have an impact on your blood sugar levels, allowing time for repair and regeneration, including the skin.