Feeding Our Skin

Genetics, our environment and our nutrition have in some way or another, an effect on our skin.

I believe, that as long as we eat a predominantly plant based diet, rich in whole foods, healthy fats, and keep our bodies well hydrated, we can absorb all the nutrients we need in order for our cellular processes to function efficiently, and most importantly, give us glowing, healthy skin!

Food serves as “building blocks” to our bodies’ cells, they require nutrients to assist with growth and repair. Consuming antioxidant rich foods, in my mind are one of the most important ways to nourish our cells so they can function properly.

A question I get asked regularly from clients that are having issues with their skin is “is this related to the food I am eating?” it is always a difficult question to answer, as many internal and external factors contribute to the health of our skin and how it looks. There is epidemiological evidence that the food we consume does have a direct effect on the way our cells function, so, in my mind, if we nourish our bodies with nutrients and foods our bodies can effectively function off, we are going reap the benefits both internally and externally.

There is an endless list of beneficial foods I could list that have benefits for our skin, Not all foods are suitable for all bodies, but I have chosen to post some of the foods that I include in my own diet that I feel support beautiful, glowing skin.

  • Salmon: Full of essential fatty acids that help moisturise the skin, keeping it from looking dull, dry and tired. Omega 3 and 6, which we are unable to produce in our bodies, so we need to supplement these through our diet. Omega 3 also has an anti-inflammatory effect that dulls down any inflammatory processes in the skin!
  • Nuts and seeds: Specifically brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds- these nuts are packed full of selenium, vitamin E and elements such as copper, magnesium, potassium and calcium, all crucial for encouraging oxygen to our cells, reducing inflammation, and assisting with cellular regeneration.
  • Chia seeds for their ability to keep you hydrated, they absorb 10 times their weight in water, also high in omega 3 which is has anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation within the skin causes wrinkles, and reduced barrier function).
  • Avocado- full of mono-saturated fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, fibre, potassium and magnesium which are extremely beneficial for protecting the skin from UV damage, reducing and fighting against free radical injury to the skin.
  • Berries: Anti-inflammatory, high in vitamin C, essential to collagen production, skin integrity and encouraging healthy cell growth. Also full of antioxidants that are responsible for minimising the damage to our skin from free radicals.
  • Seaweed: Seaweed (specifically nori) contains high levels of vitamins A and C, and calcium. iodine, potassium, selenium, iron, and magnesium, the amount of mineral traces in seaweed are significantly higher than in vegetables, as these minerals are concentrated in sea water.
  • Lots of leafy greens: Especially kale and spinach, which is high in lutein- a potent antioxidant. Copper supports collagen maturation, vitamin A assists the body in red blood cell formation- red blood cells carry oxygen to our cells which helps maintain healthy skin cell function!
  • Whole grains: I try to avoid processed foods and refined sugar when possible (this definitely doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge in the above!) As this can create inflammation within our skin, opening us up to accelerated aging of the skin, patchy redness, pimples and dry flaky skin. The benefits of eating unprocessed foods are to reduce inflammation and also reducing insulin spikes which can wreck havoc on our skin.
  • Fermented foods: Foods that have gone through a process called lacto fermentation, lactic acid is produced from the process of natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starch in the food. This process creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. These enzymes and probiotics are very beneficial to our gut health- which I believe plays a significant role in the health of our skin. Consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha ( there are many more out there) will introduce beneficial bacteria into your body and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between poor digestive health, impairing the integrity and protective function of our skin, which is a scary thought seeing as the main function of our skin is to act as a defence system! So when that barrier is impaired, we open ourselves up to increased rates of infection, and chronic skin conditions.
  • Red wine: potent source of resveratrol, an complex antioxidant compound with free radical fighting abilities.
  • Water: Keeps our skin hydrated, which in turn improves the appearance of fine lines, it also flushes our toxins which help improve the brightness of our skin, and reduces the incidence of breakouts.

It can take 6-12 weeks for new healthy flourishing skin cells to come to the surface, so be patient and make it your goal to really focus on filling your plate with nutrient rich foods that support skin health. Topical creams and serums play an integral part of ensuring you are doing the best by your skin, and they absolutely have their place in encouraging cellular turnover, stimulating cellular growth, hydrating and brightening.

My approach is to look at the body holistically, and for achieving beautiful skin, I believe addressing the internal elements of our bodies is the basis of good skin health, and will set you in good steed for making the most of your treatments. Not only will the serums and cosmetic treatments you have look better, they will last longer, and look even more natural. Dermal filler placed into a deflated jowl area will last a lot longer, and look a lot better if you have well hydrated, healthy cells and nourished skin.

Louise Highet