We are now onto the biggest and best part of our ‘eat your way to clear skin’ series. And finally we are onto my FAVOURITE subject….FOOD!!!
DIET – Most people do not realise how huge the connection between diet and skin is. Your skin is a reflection of your inner world so if that inner world, say for example your gut is not functioning as well as it should and absorbing nutrients from food, your skin will not have the building blocks it needs to be clear and glowing. The great thing is, this part is something we are TOTALLY in control of. It just takes a choice to make educated decisions when putting food on your fork. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest culprits which will not be helping your skin:
SUGAR – Quitting sugar will make you feel better as well as look better. Clinical studies have shown that people who have acne do not process sugar very well. (Abdel, K. et al ‘Glucose tolerance in blood and skin of patients with acne’ Int J Derm, vol 22, pp 139-49 (1977)) Some people with acne do not transfer sugar into their cells properly so the excess sugar stays in the bloodstream and will cause inflammation which will then come out in the skin.
HIGH CARBOHYDRATE DIETS – High carbohydrate diets can affect the skin in a multiple of ways. Firstly increase sebum production is associated with increased levels of insulin like growth hormone (IGF-1). IGF-1 is increased with a high refined carbohydrate diet. Secondly, when eating a high carbohydrate diet it will normally mean eating a lot of grains, gluten and sugary snacks. Grains and gluten can damage the gut lining, causing inflammation which will in turn affect the skin.
PASTEURISED MILK AND DAIRY- Dairy increases IGF-1 production so has a similar affect as high carbohydrate diets. Pasteurised dairy can also cause inflammation as many people lose the digestive enzyme, lactase to break down lactose in dairy. This means the gut will be irritated and inflamed. Raw dairy is a better option as it still contains lactase to help break down the lactose, but if really suffering with your skin, my best advice is to cut it out for the next 4-6 weeks. There are so many alternatives on the market. One point to mention – don’t opt for soy milk. This will have a huge impact on hormones as it is an oestrogen mimicker. If you are concerned about a food intolerance, an intolerance test may be a good option for you. Feel free to contact me with regards to how to go about this.
TOP TIPS TO EAT YOUR WAY TO CLEAR SKIN
Remember sugar is sugar no matter what form it comes in. Refined sugar in the form of cakes and biscuits is the obvious one but also consider how much fruit you are eating. Are you drinking fruit juices? Do you have a lot of dried fruit, honey etc? Swap to xylitol or stevia which will not have the impact that sugar has on your blood sugar. Swap tropical fruits and bananas for berries and green apples. Have more vegetables as your ‘5 a day’ rather than fruits.
Balance blood sugar to reduce cravings
Eat good quality protein and fats, especially first thing in the morning to set yourself up for the day. If you start the day with a bowl of cereal or toast, not only will you be setting of the blood sugar rollercoaster, you will also more than likely be having gluten, grains and other ingredients that will not do your gut lining any favours. Adding cinnamon to your breakfast/morning regime will help blood sugar balance throughout the day as will taking a chromium supplement. 200mcg twice daily will do the trick.
Increase antioxidant rich vegetables
We are told ‘5 a day’ is what we need but in reality it is actually more like ‘9 a day’ and the majority of those should come from vegetables rather than fruits. It really isn’t hard to hit your quota. Add a handful of spinach into your morning smoothie, have a leafy side salad with your lunch, nibble on some vegetable crudites in the afternoon and cover half of your plate with vegetables in your evening meal. Veggies don’t need to be bland and boring. Add garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to them/ saute in coconut oil with chilli and garlic/roast them in the oven with sweet smoked paprika.
Have enough fibre
This will come from an increase in vegetables and you can always add some chia seeds, nuts and flax seeds to your diet. Acne could be a result of toxins building up in the colon. Fibre will help to clear those toxins out. Think of it like a bath plug that gets clogged with hair – nothing can get down the plughole and the bath just gets worse and worse until you clear it out. It is the same with your body. You need to be able to get rid of those toxins by clearing your drain! This means the toxins won’t get reabsorbed back into the body.
Add probiotics and probiotic foods to the diet
Quite often, acne sufferers are prescribed antibiotics to reduce inflammation in the skin but unfortunately this is a quick fix. Yes it may show results but it wipes all of the good bacteria from the gut which are vital for breaking down food, producing vitamins and making sure the bad bacteria which can release toxins into the body don’t run riot. Eat sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) drink Kombucha (fermented tea) and add a good quality probiotic supplement into your daily regime. Happy tummy = happy skin.
Increase zinc rich foods
Zinc deficiency is often linked to poor skin. Add seafood, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds to your diet.
So many people do not drink anywhere near enough filtered water. We are 75% water so as you can probably imagine, if you are not hydrating yourself you aren’t going to look or feel to spritely! Carry a BPA free water bottle with you EVERYWHERE! Set alarms to remind you to drink, download the app ‘water balance’ – anything you need to do to remind yourself to hydrate.
Increase omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet
These will keep the skin supple and smooth. Many people have their essential fats out of balance and have way more omega 6 than needed. We need both omega 6 and omega 3 but in the right balance. Omega 3 is considered anti inflammatory and omega 6 in considered pro inflammatory. Inflammation is an important mechanism in the body but low level, constant inflammation is not a good thing. Omega 6 is abundant in our diets nowadays as it comes from vegetable oils which are in the majority of ready made and shop bought foods. By increasing your omega 3 consumption and lowering your omega 6 consumption you can really support your skin and body. Have more oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herrings, anchovies, sardines and herrings.
Limit pre packaged foods
Even things like olives are packaged in vegetable oil rather than olive oil which drives me MAD! But it is cheaper to produce and so that’s why it is used in abundance. Swap vegetable oils in your own cooking for coconut oil which is also anti bacterial and antifungal so will work wonders for your skin. Make sure your meat is organic and grass fed as it has a better ratio of omega 3 to 6 where as conventionally reared grain fed cattle are much higher in omega 6. Don’t be afraid of fats. You need them if you want to be healthy.
Phew…I told you that was a biggy! Now can you see how big the impact of food is on your skin?
Be sure to check back for the next blog where I will share some supplement recommendations to support your new found health regime to accelerate that path to beautifully clear skin.