Ten Tips to Nourish Your Skin by Improving Your Diet and Digestive Health
Our skin is a canvas upon which we paint our diet and our digestive health. If our skin is dull, dehydrated and problematic, then chances are our body systems are run down and our digestive tract, in particular, needs some attention.
For all of us, it pays to remember that we are what we eat. If we want to maintain, clear, nourished and youthful looking skin, then we need to be aware not only of what we are putting on our bodies, but also what we are putting inside them.
In the article that follows, I’ve listed ten tips for improving our diet and thus the health of our skin.
1. Fibre Is Our Friend Even healthy eating will benefit us little if our digestive tract is not working efficiently. This is because undigested food can seep from the small intestine into the bloodstream, and the immune system reacts. Poor digestion can create all sorts of problems, increasing inflammation and speeding up the aging process.
Fiber from sources such as flax, apples, pears, and psyllium help to remove toxins from the digestive system and reduce inflammation in the body. I personally eat a breakfast made from slow cooked linseed and seeds every morning and my digestion has never been better. (For those of you who are interested, I’ve included the recipe below!)
2. OMG! Omega 3! Omega 3 fats such as fish and flax oils decrease inflammation and create healthy skin cell membranes. They are also great antioxidants, whilst a recent international study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who ate diets high in fish and seafood had less skin wrinkling. So eat fish high in Omega 3 or, as an alternative, flaxseeds and flax seed oil. I always buy bulk organic flax seed oil which we have in a bottle in the fridge and we use this as a replacement for butter on whole grain toast and also in salad dressings.
3. Hydrate with H2O Water helps to hydrate and plump up the skin, and flush toxins from the body. We should aim to drink around 1-2 litres of water a day, depending on our body weight, exercise levels and the prevailing climate. But in these colder winter months, why not experiment with herbal teas? This will not only help to warm you up, but will also provide you with extra nutrients. Green tea is high in antioxidants, chamomile tea can be good for stressed skins, and dandelion tea is great for detoxing the skin.
4. Eat Antioxidants for Anti-Aging In addition to drinking green tea, try to eat a diet rich in antioxidant foods, think brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Bright orange fruits and vegetables are a good source of carotenes which convert to Vitamin A, an important component in making healthy cells. At the other end of the colour spectrum, deeply coloured berries such as blueberries and cherries are loaded with antioxidants which will help your body fight off blemishes. Finally, tomato-based foods such as tomato sauce and tomato juice are also recommended, as they produce lycopene [the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red]. Lycopene can help improve the skin’s antioxidant status and will help combat free radicals produced from excessive sun exposure.
5. Sugar Is Inflammatory There is too much sugar in modern, western diets. As much as we might love it, it is damaging to our health, inside and out. In the case of our skin, the high blood sugar we get from eating sweets and refined flour attaches itself to collagen in our skin cells. This sugar distorts the skin, eventually showing up as wrinkles and also increasing inflammation. Inflammation and how it affects the skin is one of the hottest topics in the skincare and dermatology world right now. Just as inflammation in the body can lead to disease and aging, inflammation in the skin can cause wrinkles, acne, hives, even eczema and rosacea. With inflammation so prevalent in our bodies and skin how do we protect ourselves? Sadly, for those of us with a sweet tooth, we need to be careful to minimise our intake of highly processed, sugary foods.
6. The Power Of Proteins It is important that we include adequate amounts of protein in our diet as it contains the building blocks to create healthy skin and even repair problem areas. Protein rich foods are red meat, fish, nuts, tofu, eggs, dairy foods and organic chicken. For more information on the value of proteins, you might like to check out the following link on our website http://worldorganic.co.nz/natures-clinicals/factsProtein.aspx.
7. Vitamin C Is Vital Vitamin C is not only a necessary part of our diet, but critical for collagen production in the skin. We should all make it a priority to eat foods high in Vitamin C.
8. The Pros In Probiotics Probiotics contain bacteria that not only help our skin look healthy, but also help us maintain a “healthy gut”. This is vital, because the majority of our immune system is located in our digestive system. Good food sources for probiotics include yogurt (go for the low-sugar types that guarantee live bacteria cultures), buttermilk, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, and certain types of cheese that indicate live cultures like blue cheese and other aged cheeses. We should always check food labels to ascertain we’re getting probiotics. As an aside, eczema sufferers can benefit greatly from a daily probiotic intake.
9. Garlic Does More Than Simply Ward Off Vampires! Garlic is a natural remedy for wrinkles, as it contains sulfur, which helps our body produce collagen. Studies have shown that a diet high in foods that contain sulfur dramatically increases collagen production in joints, which is good for both our knees and our skin. Sulfur is also important for the production of keratin, and contains taurine and lipoid acid, supporting damaged collagen fibers.
10. Our Skin Should Be Full Of Beans Beans help our bodies produce a vital anti-aging substance called hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is what makes cartilage resilient, and keeps our skin resilient as well. Hyaluronic acid hydrates our skin, increases its elasticity and strength and improves our skin’s overall appearance. Eating foods that increase hyaluronic acid production in the body is a cost-effective way of maintaining a youthful appearance.