Eat your way to healthier skin
Want glowing, clear skin this summer? Don’t reach for expensive creams that are often chemical laden to solve your skin’s woes as beauty always starts from within. What you put in your mouth is even more important than what you put on your skin.
Water, DRINK MORE!
Our skin is our largest organ and is made up of approximately 70 percent water. Water source is key to keeping the skin cells more hydrated, resilient, glowing, looking plumper and therefore less prone to wrinkles.
Spring well water is best, but you can also get a good filtration system. Avoid tap water, as it is full of chemicals and even traces of hormones that can affect our own hormonal system and cause blemishes.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. When hydration is low this will slow the digestion and cause dry stools.
Eat foods rich in water, such as fruit, vegetables, soups and casseroles. Herbal teas are another great way to keep hydrated. Some good ones for the skin include:
-dandelion, nettle, burdock, echinacea and milk thistle for cleansing, blood purifying and prevention of break-outs;
-rose, hibiscus, calendula and chamomile for calming and balancing
-white, green, jasmine, rooibos, chaga, oolong and olive leaf tea for anti-ageing.
You can also add slices of cucumber and mint to your water for flavor and extra nutrients. Coconut, birch and maple water contain electrolytes and are great to hydrate the skin.
Colourful fruit and vegetables
Create a masterpiece on your plate with a rainbow variety of colourful organic fruit and vegetables. These are rich in powerful antioxidants and nutrients that help protect the skin from cellular damage.
Beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, which the body converts as required, is found in green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, watercress, kale) and orange fruit and vegetables (apricots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin).
Vitamin C, his powerful antioxidant vitamin protects against liver damage and assists the liver in performing its many functions. Vitamin C also helps form and repair collagen (the elastic tissue in skin that declines with age) which helps restore skin elasticity and heals scarring.
The richest food source of vitamin C is found in camu camu berries and acerola cherries. Other good sources are sprouted chickpeas, amla, sea buckthorn juice, red peppers, blackcurrants, blueberries, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries, sweet potatoes, maca, baobab and black pepper.
Broccoli is also high in vitamin c and contains a compound that helps boost DNA repair cells, as well as folate, which is needed for healthy new cell production.
A great way to consume large amounts of fruit and vegetables is in juices, smoothies, soups, stir-fry’s and casseroles.
Repair and balance with zinc
Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage, speed up healing and keep skin soft and supple whilst balancing hormones and boosting the immune system. Nuts, seeds (particularly pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds and pine nuts), shellfish, chickpeas, mushrooms, cacao powder and dark green leafy vegetables are full of zinc. Lack of zinc can lead to stretch marks and stubborn blemishes. A dull complexion, white spots on fingernails, and dandruff can be signs of deficiency. Our British soils are deficient in zinc so it is wise to take a good ‘food grown’ ‘whole food’ or ‘food state’ zinc supplement at night as it is better absorbed then. A zinc capsule or tablet can be crushed and applied topically to blemishes also. I recommend zinc from either Cytoplan or Wild Nutrition.
Essential Fatty Acids
Adequate essential fatty acids make the skin glow. They not only protect your skin, but also help repair it and ward off dryness. EFAs are responsible for healthy cell membranes and because the cell membrane holds water, the stronger the barrier the better your cells hold moisture. And that means plumper, younger-looking skin. Foods rich in EFAs include hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (soak nuts and seeds for better digestion), pine nuts, avocados and oily fish. Beware of the quantities of oily fish you consume due to heavy metal contamination. Make sure it’s wild caught and not farmed. The foods mentioned above are also great sources of vitamin E that protects skin from oxidative cell damage and supports healthy skin cell renewal. Organic and cold pressed hemp oil has the perfect ratio 2-1-1 of omega 3, 6 & 9, and according to eastern wisdom has a ‘cooling’ energy so acts as a great anti-inflammatory. Coconut contains triglycerides, which are healthy fats that plump up skin membranes and cells by keeping them hydrated. Without these fats, the skin becomes dehydrated no matter how much water you drink. Add coconut oil to your smoothie or use as a spread.
Avoid Sugar and prevent break-outs
High blood sugar can weaken the skin by affecting tissues like collagen and leave you more vulnerable to lines and wrinkles. Replace refined sugar with small amounts of raw honey (cold pressed to retain active enzymes and also great to use as a face mask), organic coconut palm sugar, xylitol, molasses, date syrup or stevia.
Avoid high GI carbohydrates like refined grains and sugars as they lead to production of insulin, which may damage collagen and accelerate wrinkles. Instead eat slow-releasing carbohydrates plenty of vegetables, short grain brown rice and oats (soak in water the night before cooking for easier digestion), quinoa, buckwheat, beans, pulses. These release sugar into the blood stream gradually, providing you with a steady supply of energy. Millet is another slow releasing carbohydrate and is rich in silicon, which is vital for healthy skin, hair, teeth, eyes and nails.
Healthy gut healthy skin
Not only are there microflora that live in the human gut, but there is also a skin microbiome. The skin microbiome has been shown to protect against unfriendly bacteria, pollution and free radicals, all of which can accelerate aging. Probiotics help skin to uphold moisture. Acne sufferers who supplement with probiotics, particularly lactobacillus acidophilus and the yeast saccharomyces cerevisiae, will often see their symptoms improve. Probiotics have also been shown to help eczema and psoriasis symptoms in patients suffering from the conditions. Good bacteria in the gut can help eliminate the toxins and free radicals that can damage skin and cause early signs of aging. Introducing probiotics will not only flush out bodily toxins, but repair the harmful damage caused by free radicals, as well. Probiotics have also been proven to strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
As your colon is your main elimination route it is vital to support it with fibre to bind to toxins and eliminate them via the colon instead of coming out in the skin in the form of spots.
Fibre acts as a gentle ‘bulking’ laxative absorbing water and helping to lubricate ‘sweeping’ and exercising the muscles of the gut.
Fibre also helps maintain healthy gut bacteria and has an ability to bind with toxins and excess oestrogens and gently eliminate them from the body.
MSM Is an organic sulfur found in our bodies, as well as in some plants.
MSM is a building block for collagen and connective tissues and combining it with vitamin C aids collagen production. MSM works together with Vitamin C to build new, healthy tissues. MSM has powerful detoxifying and anti-inflammatory benefits, strengthens the skin’s support matrix and helps combat the symptoms of conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis. MSM makes your cells more permeable. This means that it allows toxins and metabolic waste products to easily be moved out of the cells, while essential nutrients and hydration can move in.
Hyaluronic Acid keeps collagen synthesis up. It also helps retain skin moisture as it’s a powerful humectant (aka moisture-binding ingredient) that keeps skin plump and hydrated. The medicinal mushroom Tremella is thought to be the richest food source of HA. Bone broths, bananas and root vegetables like sweet potatoes are all sources of HA. Try Hybrid Herbs tremella or Wild Nutritions Hyarloraonic acid.
Sun Chlorella is the pyronoidosa strain of chlorella that contains high amounts of CGF. CGF is a “nucleotide-peptide complex” known as a “fountain of youth”, containing nucleic acids and nucleic-acid derivatives, like amino acids, peptides, nucleotides, nucleosides, polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and other beneficial substances that help rebuild healthy cells from the very depths of the body at the DNA level.
CGF stimulates rapid cell regeneration and detoxification. It enhances RNA/DNA functions responsible for the production of proteins, enzymes and energy at the cellular level, stimulating tissue repair and protecting cells from toxic substances. Chlorella aslo contains fibre to cleanse the colon. Staying clean on the inside keeps you healthy, youthful and radiant on the outside. Toxins can make the skin look sluggish, dark circles under the eyes and cause blemishes. Being in constant contact with environmental pollutants, skin is prone to free radical damage that causes premature aging. Chlorella binds toxins, heavy metals and pesicides to safely eliminate them from the body.
Medicinal mushrooms are antioxidant rich super foods that are amazing for the skin. Chaga is the richest food source of SOD, a group of enzymes called Super Oxide Dismutase. These enzymes play an important role in protecting our body against the destructive effects of uncontrolled oxidation and free radicals. Chaga also contains massive amounts of the natural black pigment known as melanin, which has high antioxidant levels due to the amount of polyphenols it contains. In fact, chaga has the highest ORAC score (the measure of antioxidant potency) of any superfood.
Reishi, known as the herb of immortality has the ability to cure various external skin issues, such as wounds, sunburns and rashes. It does this with a harmonized functioning of its anti-histaminic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-allergenic properties, the combination boosts your immunity, blood circulation and heals the skin. Reishi mushroom extract contains a high content of polysaccharides, responsible for the skin’s natural ability to hydrate and retain water, and which are also imperative for skin repair and renewal. The extract also helps reduce skin inflammation, puffiness, wrinkles and free radical damage, while promoting cell regeneration.
And a few other helping hands
Oils applied topically to the skin in replacement to a cream are very nourishing whilst still allowing your skin to breathe. My favourites are sea buckthorn, rosehip, argan, pomegranate, avocado, prickly pear and olive oil.
Add the essential oils geranium to balance sebaceous glands and Lavender to calm and and for anti-bacterial properties. You can apply lavender essential oil directly to blemishes to calm redness and dry the spot out.
Skin brushing is one of the best ways to stimulate circulation around your body, tone your skin, move lymph and eliminate cellulite. 5 minutes a day is as effective as 30 minutes of exercise at toning the skin.
Sleep well to allow your skin to repair. Make sure you are in bed by 11pm as much as possible to allow your liver & gall bladder to effectively filter itself from this time.
Regular exercise is essential for skin health and good circulation. Skipping is particularly good to move the lymph to create better skin tone and get fresh blood pumping around your body. Sauna’s are also great particularly a Far Infra Red sauna.
Cleanse regularly Keep your system cleansed and digestive system healthy. Inflamed skin usually originates from inflammation in the colon so keep your colon healthy for clear, healthy skin. Supplement with a good probiotic for optimal digestive system support.
Once you make changes to your diet, don’t expect an overnight miracle. It takes 4-six weeks for new skin to emerge up to the surface, so the visible benefits from dietary changes will take just as long.