Guest post by Kim Holmes – Nutritionist & Owner at The Healthy Little B
‘You are what you eat’ – I love to be guided by this as it shows in your health and most obviously, your biggest organ, your skin. Let’s face it, we all like to look our best and have that healthy glow. One of the best ways to do this is to nourish from the inside out. I am talking about feeding your body with lovely, real, whole foods. Un-processed, fresh foods in their most natural state are abundant of nutrients that are essential to great looking skin. I am so excited to be writing about this today. I will share with you my favourite nutrients for skin health as well as some other tips to get you glowing!
Nutrients for great skin:
Let’s start with what I like to call the ‘ACE’ vitamins; vitamin A, C & E. Not only are they beneficial in their own right but they are all antioxidants. Antioxidants, among other things are fabulous for skin health. They act to ‘mop up’ free radical damage caused by oxidants such as pollution, stress, alcohol, smoking, poor diet & pesticides. These free radicals can cause an array of problems internally, manifesting externally as lack-lustre, lifeless, dull skin. No wonder they are at the top of my list!
Vitamin A – found in cod liver oil, egg yolks and dairy (I like to choose organic dairy), apricots, green leafy vegetables & sweet potatoes. Vitamin A has been used to treat acne, dry skin, psoriasis and eczema.
Vitamin C – citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, pawpaw, capsicum, strawberries are just some great sources. Acting as a great anti-oxidant by reducing effects of UV damage but also it is used to synthesis collagen; as we know collagen gives us plump gorgeous skin! Vitamin C is widely used in many skincare products, so why not increase it naturally as well?
Vitamin E – the scar healer. Topically great for scar reduction but also internally as a potent anti-oxidant. Enjoy avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds & wheat germ.
Next are the wonderful essential fatty acids or what we can call EFA’s. They are called essential as our body cannot make them, so we have to obtain them from our diet or in some cases supplementally. If dry, flaky skin sounds like you, more than likely your skin could be crying out for some good fats. Omega 3 fats are great for skin health and can be found in lovely oily fish such as salmon & sardines, in flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. If you have very dry skin anywhere on the body, you made need also to supplement with a good quality, ethical fish oil tablet.
The mineral zinc is a great internal and external skin healer; used to treat acne and assist wound healing by increasing new cell production. To increase your stores, enjoy eggs, pumpkin seeds, organic meats, oysters & quinoa.
A cheeky little tip of mine is the every amazing coconut oil – a great fatty acid that topically makes for a wonderful, gentle and natural cleanser and eye make-up remover. In terms of diet, coconut oil is one of the best oils to use when cooking at higher heats. It won’t go rancid (hence reducing nasty little oil oxidation that can occur with some oils).
A word on sugar & inflammation:
Look out for sugar; reduce or eliminate. Number one on my list and what I tell all my clients as a general rule. It unfortunately is hidden in more foods than you think. Its impact on skin health? Inflammation. After all, sugar has an inflammatory impact on the body and most definitely shows in the skin. This can result as acne, redness and puffiness. Sugar can also cause something called ‘glycation’. This process (without going into all the scientifics), can deplete collagen levels in the body; and we don’t want that! As mentioned above, collagen is what gives our skin that lovely plump, healthy look.
Other causes of inflammation in the body that can affect the skin include; gluten & dairy. If you eliminate or reduce these in your diet for even a few weeks, you may notice a reduction in puffiness and redness. In many people, you will also find a better functioning digestive system. If our digestion is on point, our bowels work effectively and we have a healthy immune system = feeling fabulous!
Love your Liver:
I won’t go into great detail as this is a whole other topic, but our liver processes toxins, hormones and many other things, if it is placed under stressed, it can show in your skin. A good general detox can do wonders for your skin. You don’t have to go ‘hard core’. Try removing for just 7-10 days; alcohol, sugar, coffee, red meat, processed foods, starting the day with lemon water (which you should do always!) together with a whole foods diet; hello clearer skin.
Oh and…. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Even more so now that we are experiencing a gorgeous hot summer. Drinking loads of (filtered) water each day to flush toxins and moisten the skin.