As we age, the nutritional state of the body declines and the cells in our skin – and body – become less able to replicate properly to work efficiently. Eating better; so there is enough nutrition available for our skin to use, helps achieve anti-aging from the inside and reduces the signs of age naturally. Making wise food choices also optimizes our general health to protect from diet -related illness.
It’s amazing to think the surface of the skin renews itself every 20 days: that’s 2 square meters of new skin every 3 weeks. Skin is the last organ to benefit from food: from the body’s point of view your outer beauty is low down on the list of priorities! This is why taking care of your skin with plenty of the right vitamins is so important – for anti-aging and to keep skin in the best health possible.
External and Internal Anti-Aging
External and internal factors can speed up the rate at which skin ages. We all know it’s wise to use products with sun protection. But using creams is only part of the picture. Other elements that we’re exposed to every day can increase damage to skin. Pollution, smoking, eating burnt and highly processed foods and even our metabolism all cause oxidative damage to body cells by producing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that affect the condition of the skin and it’s ability to produce healthy new cells.
Inner Health and Skin
Your inner health affects the appearance of your skin, and good health on the inside equals good health on the outside. Illness, stress, dehydration, hormonal fluctuations and lack of sleep affect how your skin behaves. Allergies and food intolerance may appear as spots, dryness, rashes or eczema. The lining of the gut is a continuation of the skin on the outside of the body and anything that unsettles you internally will show externally.
One of the main reasons skin problems appear is due to digestive imbalances. Good digestion enables food to be absorbed for the thousands of functions the body performs. Research is beginning to show how absolutely vital it is to have the right balance of gut bacteria – not only for digestion but for general health and disease prevention (1).
‘Optimum nutrition is the medicine of the future’ Dr.Linus Pauling
Antioxidants to Eat for Anti-Aging
Packing your diet with skin-loving nutrition is a really delicious way to give your body the care it needs. Antioxidant vitamins and minerals protect against oxidative damage by free radicals and these are the first step to healthier skin:
Vitamin A is found in oily fish, eggs, dairy food, brightly coloured vegetables and fruit like carrots, broccoli, peas, dark green leafy vegetables, peppers, pumpkin, mango, apricots and melon
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit, kiwi fruit and ‘berry’ fruit like strawberries and blackberries and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin found in tuna, salmon, avocado, sunflower seed, almonds, hazelnuts and cold pressed sunflower and nut oils
Copper is a mineral found in shellfish, liver, nuts, mushrooms and wholegrains
Manganese is a mineral found in nuts and wholegrains
Selenium is a mineral found in meat and offal, seafood, wholegrains, Brazil nuts, seaweed, avocados, sunflower seeds
Zinc the last vital mineral – found in shellfish, lean meat, chicken, eggs and dairy, wholegrains, nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Omega oils: skin friendly essential fats
Increasing the Omega 3 and 6 fats in your diet promotes skin health by enabling the cells to hold on to valuable water: so increasing the plumpness and moisture content of skin. Oils reduce inflammation in the body. Oily fish contain the fatty acids DPA and EHA that the body makes from the omega oils, consequently eating fish sidesteps part of the digestive process. A combination of fish, nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils are the best way to get a balance of these essential fats.
Omega 3 oils can be found in flaxseed, hemp, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Omega 6 oils are in corn, safflower, sunflower and sesame oils.
DPA and EHA: herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, tuna and sardines
For more information on nutrition and oils, read Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition Bible (Piatkus)
Water keeps skin plump and soft. All our body cells need water to function properly. Water clears debris, bacteria and other waste elements that would otherwise build up inside the cells and stop them working properly. The best time to drink water is between meals, otherwise it can cause problems with digestion.
Tip: Calculate out how much water you should drink:
- Find out how much you weigh in pounds.
- Divide the figure you get by three.
- The result is the amount of water you should drink a day.
(e.g. if your weight is 150 lbs, divide 150 by 3 = 50. Drink 50 fluid ounces of water a day, or 2.5 pints/1.4 litres)
Enjoy looking great!
Elaine Bartlett Dip.ITEC, Nut. Cert - Natural Health Therapist
- Probiotics: their role in the treatment and prevention of disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16597207