Eating for healthy skin
Just as what we put on our skin affects what goes on in our bodies, so what we eat has a huge impact on the health of our skin. Every cell of our body is continually renewing itself. It does so from the materials we provide for it, and if we don’t provide enough of the necessary vitamins and nutrients in the food we consume, the body will take it from it's own stores causing imbalances and deficiencies. It is therefore important to eat a varied diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables, proteins and healthy fats, and lots of fresh filtered water.
There are some foods in particular that will boost and support natural skin function.
ANTIOXIDANTS such as Vitamins C & E fight free radical damage and slow the ageing process. Free radicals are the result of the splitting of weak bonds that leave unpaired electrons and unstable molecules looking to pair with another electron. This in turn damages surrounding molecules, causing them to become free radicals. Cellular damage from free radicals can cause inflammation, ageing and promote skin cancer. Foods which are generally high in antioxidants are berries, green tea, raw cacao.
VITAMIN C (water soluble antioxidant) boosts collagen production which is a protein that gives skin its firmness and strength. Foods which are high in Vitamin C include kale, capsicums, strawberries, tomatoes and citrus fruits.
VITAMIN E (fat soluble antioxidant) this one is particularly related to slowing the ageing process. Nuts (particularly almonds), olive oil, oats, spinach, broccoli and avocados are particularly high in Vitamin E. These foods need to be eaten with healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee or grass fed butter, as Vitamin E is fat soluable.
VITAMIN A (fat soluble ) regulates cell growth and helps skin rebuild tissues, decreases sebum production, promotes a healthy cellular membrane, improves hydration in and around cell, improves structure and tone of skin. Foods which are high in Vitamin A include beetroots,kale, carrots and broccoli.
SELENIUM is a trace mineral in which it is common to have deficiencies as many parts of the world now have poor levels of it in their soils as a result of modern farming methods. It plays an incredibly important part in the function of an antioxidant. Brazil nuts are particularly high in selenium. Also eggs, fish and meats, particularly organ meats.
Other important foods are those high in essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3. These, including omega 6, are not made by the body and need to be obtained from the diet. In addition to promoting healthy brain function and cardiovascular health they are required for healthy skin. They are needed for healthy and functioning cell membranes and being deficient in them can cause the skin to dry out. Foods high in Omega 3 include fish, chia seeds and flaxseed oil.
All the foods mentioned are very nutrient dense and rich in other important vitamins and minerals essential for skin health such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, protein and folate. The most important thing though, not just for skin health but for overall health and wellbeing, is to have a varied diet made up of lots of fresh whole foods and plenty of water.
FOODS TO AVOID
Unfortunately much of what is labeled as food these days really does not deserve it, being filled with large amounts of sugar, artificial colours and flavours, fillers, flavour enhancers, bulking agents and preservatives.
These are yet another source of toxins and chemicals which place extra strain on our already over burdened bodies. In additions these foods do nothing to nourish our bodies or provide the necessary requirements for proper function. And they dramatically affects skin health.
Unhealthy insides do show up on the outside in the form of breakouts, inflamed conditions, rashes and flaky skin. The answer to healing many skin conditions lies in healing the gut and eating foods that support healthy gut flora, while avoiding those that feed bad bacteria and cause bacterial overgrowth. Foods to avoid are alcohol, large amounts of caffeine, sugar, processed packaged foods, and for some people dairy and gluten.