Our skin is our largest organ and what we put into our bodies directly effects the quality and appearance of our skin. Some foods in particular can leave our skin looking dull, dry and contribute to skin conditions such as acne or eczema. This is why eating a balanced, wholefoods diet is essential for overall healthy skin.
Our Naturopath Natalie Koshka has identified the five essential nutrients for healthy skin and particular foods to avoid.
Zinc is one of our most important nutrients for skin health. Zinc helps maintain healthy skin due to its anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. Interestingly, research suggests people suffering with acne have lower blood levels of zinc. Foods containing the highest bioavailable levels of zinc include red meat and shellfish, however nuts, seeds, legumes and egg yolks are also good sources.
Vitamin A is particularly important for the maintenance of healthy skin due to the role it plays in tissue growth, skin repair and keratin production. Vitamin A is also important for skin cell turnover which is essentially our bodies own way of exfoliating! Food sources of vitamin A include eggs, fish and meat.
Vitamin C is one of our most important antioxidants. It also plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen/connective tissues (hello anti-aging!), aids wound healing and supports our immune system. Foods to enjoy include citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, cherries, kiwi fruit, red/yellow capsicum, acai and broccoli.
Omega 3 fatty acids keep skin hydrated, decrease inflammation, reduce incidence of acne, assist with wound healing and can be very beneficial for improving eczema. The highest sources of omega 3 are found in oily fish such as mackerel and sardines. Other great sources include salmon (wild caught), avocado, olive oil, flaxseeds, hempseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Good hydration is essential for healthy skin. Drinking at least 2.25 litres of filtered water per day will ensure your skin cells are well hydrated. Adequate water intake prevents dryness and aging because water acts as an internal moisturiser! Water intake also assists with improving our lymphatic system and detoxification pathways which are both important for healthy skin.
Limit / avoid
Is a common culprit when it comes to skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Not only is cow’s milk inflammatory and a common food intolerance in patients suffering with eczema, it also contains substantial amounts of hormones. Dairy increases insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Insulin and IGF-1 stimulate the production oil in the sebaceous gland which can cause acne. Furthermore, IGF-1 can also increase circulating androgens, resulting in acne.
Sugar and/or excess refined carbohydrates
Similarly, to dairy, consumption of excess sugar and/or refined carbohydrates dramatically increases blood sugar resulting in a subsequent rise in insulin which can be problematic for acne sufferers. High levels of insulin promote increased oil production and an increase in androgens leading to inflammation in the skin.
Excess saturated and trans fats
Saturated and trans fats are pro-inflammatory meaning they increase inflammation in the body. They also compete with the anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 fatty acids which can lead to inflammation and acne.
Do you want to know more about how diet and nutrients can improve skin or help with a particular skin condition such as acne or eczema? For a personalised plan, book a consultation today with Natalie. You can book a free 15-minute call with Natalie to see how she can help you.
Natalie’s Glowing Skin Smoothie Recipe:
- 1 cup of either coconut water, almond milk or coconut milk.
- 1 small frozen banana or half a large banana
- 1 serve of Nutra Organics Collagen Skin Hair Gut Health Powder (available from reception at Mullen Health)
- ½ cup of frozen raspberries or berries of choice
- 1 tbsp of flaxseeds
- 1 tbsp of pepitas
- 1 tbsp of hemp seeds
- ½ cup of ice
- Add everything to a blender or Nutribullet and blend till smooth – enjoy!
*Added extras: a serve of plant based protein powder of choice