Treating Skin Holistically: What Should I Eat?
For us at The Beauty Elixir, a discussion about healthy skin always starts off with “what have you been eating?” Skin health starts in the gut, and many clients we see with acne, rosacea, eczema or general skin sensitivities often can be traced back to a leaky gut, which has likely been caused by long term poor diet choices (hello coffee, alcohol, sugar and meat!), stress, antibiotic use or chronic illness. We love nothing more than educating and empowering our clients, arming you with the knowledge of which foods might be adding to your skin issues, and which foods you should be eating like it ain’t nobody’s business!
If you’re just looking for a quick dose of inspiration, and haven’t booked yourself in for a Skin Health Assessment yet, here is a cheat sheet of foods to include, for your healthiest skin this spring!
The 6 Key Nutrients for Healthy Skin
Vitamin C is one of the key nutrients that is widely available and abundant when you’re eating a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables. Organic is always best, but for those of us who are time poor (who isn’t) a hack we love is to keep frozen veggies on hand at all times, for those nights when you need to whip a dinner up quick-smart. Vitamin C is vital for the production of collagen (the stuff that keeps our skin firm and plump), helps with wound healing, strengthens capillaries, supports liver function and is a super powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the skin (and body). Free radicals come at us from every angle - UV, environmental pollution, non-organic foods (pesticides) and even screens attack us! So antioxidants are supremely crucial for healthy skin and body.
The best sources of vitamin A are once again your fresh fruit and veggies. These contain betacarotene, one form of vitamin A. This form actually has a special affinity with your skin, and it hides in the fatty tissue waiting to scavenge up and protect you from free radical damage. The best sources are your orange vegetables, such as kumara and pumpkin. We love steaming these together, mashing them and drizzling over our Bestow Beauty Plus Oil!
Essential Fatty Acids
EFAs that your body doesn’t make but are essential for overall health as well as healthy skin, are omegas 3 and 6. To get good quality EFAs (at the right quantity) from your diet alone can be difficult, so we recommend the Bestow Beauty Plus Oil. There’s a lot of talk around omega 6, specifically whether we need to supplement with it or not. The questions raised are due to the fact that the standard western diet is considerably high in (poor quality) omega 6 fatty acids. These poor quality fats increase the body’s inflammation, where good quality omega 6 (and 3) lower inflammation. Add to that that omega 6 is essential for a healthy acid mantle, and yes we recommend you take some good quality omega 6 and 3 every day.
The B vitamins are essential for reducing stress and your emotional response to stress, which has a physical effect on your body and skin. The B’s also help your body to assimilate your EFAs better, so we often recommend taking them together. B vitamins also help with skin cell regeneration, so lead to a healthier, stronger, more youthful looking skin. B vitamins can be found in the diet, however often the foods high in B’s can be irritating to the gut (think grains and legumes), so we often recommend a supplement. Other food options high in B’s include spirulina and nutritional yeast.
Zinc is another one we usually choose to supplement, unless you’re eating a ton of oysters daily! Zinc is a co-factor is over 200 enzymatic actions within the body, and a key player for skin (and gut) healing. If you’re suffering from acne, your skin is often crying out for zinc.
This goes without saying, but of course water is one of the key nutrients for healthy skin! Literally every client we see is dehydrated, and also tells us “I like water, but I forget to drink it”. It’s time to drink your water, baby. That stuff is not only vital for healthy skin, but it’s vital for LIFE! However, on the skin side of things, it’s what’s really going to get your skin g-l-o-w-i-n-g. So sip on it all day, err-day.