06 Mar Get Your Glow Back
Most people don’t give a second’s thought to their skin – unless they’re scowling at the wrinkles or wobbly bits in the mirror. It’s already doing a fabulous job keeping your insides in, protecting you from infection and radiation, and keeping you warm. There’s also a huge amount you can do to keep your skin looking healthy and fresh and – I’m happy to tell you – stave off the wrinkles without buying that expensive anti-ageing cream. Read on to find out how.
Ditch the bad guys
Alcohol, caffeine, food additives like flavourings and colourings, salt, sugar, and tobacco are full of cell-damaging free radicals, which play havoc with your skin. Ideally, cut them out altogether but certainly reduce them as much as you can.
Eat back the clock
Stock up on antioxidant-rich fruit and veg. These are crucial for your entire body – not just your skin. They reduce the speed of skin ageing and degeneration. Eat them raw or lightly steamed as cooking for long periods destroys enzymes, minerals and vitamins and can create skin-damaging free radicals.
A couple of simple exercises are these:
- Make a concerted effort to add at least one extra portion of veg every night this week to your evening meal.
- You should also aim to ‘eat a rainbow’ over the course of the week – that means picking as many different colours of fruit and veg as you can.
As a very general rule, each different colour group contains a different set of plant chemicals. Scientists now know that bringing a variety of different antioxidants into your diet has a synergistic effect, which means the combined result is more powerful than the individual parts.
Essential fats found in fish, avocados, nuts and seeds keep cell membranes soft and smooth – they’re nature’s perfect skin plumpers. Just in case the word ‘fat’ sends a red flag up for you, I want to reassure you that scientists have finally admitted all that ‘fat is bad for you and makes you fat’ propaganda was flawed. Eating the right fat is not only not bad, it is really, truly GOOD for your health.
Keep skin cells plump and full or your skin will look shrivelled and dehydrated – a long cry from that radiant glow you’re going for. Cells also need water to rebuild and to remove the build up of waste products (toxins). It’s a very simple (and free) step that most people don’t prioritise and yet the results can be striking. Aim for at least 1.5 – 3 litres a day depending on weather conditions and your level of exercise. You’ll soon see the benefit for you skin.
Helpful nutrients for skin health
Vitamin C for collagen production. Foods to include: blackcurrants, red peppers, kale, collard leaves, broccoli, kiwis, oranges, courgettes, cauliflower and spinach, citrus fruit.
Vitamin D. Skin cells produce a chemical that is converted into vitamin D in sunlight. It’s important for many functions in the body, including immunity, blood sugar balance and bone health. Lack of Vitamin D can result in muscle and bone pain, as well as acne. Eating foods rich in this particular vitamin will keep pimples and blackheads at bay.
It’s hard to get enough vitamin D from food alone, but do try to include more sardines, salmon, tuna, swordfish, eggs, fortified cereals – and don’t forget a daily dose of getting out into the sun!
Vitamin K. Perhaps a less appreciated vitamin than C or D, vitamin K present a lot of benefits when it comes to preserving your skin. K helps with blood clotting, which means it plays an important role in how our wounds heals. Therefore, it helps to reduce scarring, dark circles and spider veins. Dark circles can be caused by sleep deprivation. The skin becomes paler, and the patches of dark skin and blood vessels underneath start to show. In the same way it treats bruises, vitamin K is proven to help dark circles become less apparent. For that reason, it should be your new best friend after a short night. It can also help with spider veins.
Thankfully, a varied range of foods contain this little helper: kale, for instance, is rich in Vitamin K, as well as dairy products and fruits like blueberries. It’s also contained in liver, although it might not be everybody’s cup of tea
Vitamins A, C, E and selenium are antioxidants that limit the damage done to collagen and elastin fibres by free radicals. Foods to include (aside from the vitamin C foods, above, and the vitamin A foods, below): sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, papaya, mustard greens, asparagus, peppers, Brazil nuts, fresh tuna, some meats including pork, beef, turkey and chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, brown rice, sunflower seeds, spinach, oats, mushrooms.
Vitamin A is great to protect the longevity of your skin, as well as to quicken your skin’s ability to repair itself and it helps control the rate of keratin, the protein that makes up your skin, hair and nails. A lack of vitamin A can result in dry, rough skin. Foods to include: sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce.
Zinc for the production of skin cells. A lack of zinc can result in poor skin healing, eczema and rashes. Foods to include: venison, fish, ginger root, lamb, lean beef, turkey, green vegetables, oats, nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, scallops.
Omega 3, 6 and 9 are three types of fatty acid that play a crucial role in the well-being of our cells, such as making cell membranes. They are essential for your health, hence they’re known as Essential Fatty Acids. EFAs. EFAs help with skin elasticity, skin barrier repair and with the retention of moisture, so a lack of EFAs causes cells to dry out too quickly, resulting in dry skin.
Omega 3 can specifically help with a number of things, but as far as the skin is concerned, it is particularly good for inflammation. The body cannot produce Omega 3 acids itself, which means they must be ingested. The body doesn’t produce Omega 6 either. The body does however, produce Omega 9, which means it’s not necessary to have some in our diet or take in a supplement.
Foods to include: oily fish (salmon, sardines, halibut, scallops), flaxseed, walnuts, soya beans, tofu.
Vitamin B12. Also known as cobalamin, Vitamin B12 is present in the metabolism of every cell of our body, and plays a role in how we absorb protein. It’s important for our nervous system and the production of red cells in bone marrow. When it comes to the skin, B12 helps preserve its elasticity. Foods to include: Meats, poultry, eggs, shellfish and dairy all contain Vitamin B12. If you’re vegan, a good source is fortified nutritional yeast, although you have to eat a lot to get your daily B12 intake!
Watch what you put on your body, too
The skin is the largest organ in the body with a surface area about the size of a double bed. It soaks up everything you put on it, and what soaks in ends up in your bloodstream. So if your shampoo and conditioner or shower gel (all of which wash over you as you shower), or your body lotions or creams contain nasty chemicals like parabens or sodium lauryl/laureth sulplate, you are feeding yourself synthetic oestrogens that can wreak havoc with your hormones. Check labels for ingredients – often they may be marked as paraben-free.
Learn how to deal with problem skin
A targeted nutrition plan can work wonders for skin problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis and so on. This kind of personalised nutrition is often poorly understood and isn’t really talked about in the media. It doesn’t work to just add to your diet a single ‘superfood’. However, a bespoke plan that takes into all of your skin – and health – concerns can make a huge difference. Ask me how. I’d love to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit my website at https://www.oskunutrition.com