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Your guide to glowing skin!

Daniel O’Shaughnessy, the Naked Nutritionist, shares the secrets to glowing skin…


Most of us want better-looking skin, especially as we get older. Aside from pills, potions and expensive creams, there is a lot you can do with your nutrition and lifestyle to have healthier looking skin, whether it’s fewer wrinkles, less acne and better complexion. Additionally, skin health can be a good indicator of the health of the body and in fact reflect what you eat, how well you absorb the food you eat and also show the impact of stress and pollutants of the modern world.



The skin is the largest biological structure of the body and often is a telling sign of someone’s health and nutrition status. The healthier you eat, the better your skin will look. Inversely, if you have an unhealthy diet, it may show in your complexion.


If you're suffering from any kind of skin disorder, you need to consider your current diet and lifestyle. If your diet is unhealthy or there is an imbalance, no matter what cream you use or supplements you take, you won't get the results you desire on a permanent basis.


Skin disorders can have many possible causes, which can include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Food sensitivities

  • Digestion and absorption issues

  • Hormone imbalances

  • Stress

  • Toxin overload

  • Genetics

  • Environmental factors and allergies

It’s therefore important to consider each of these factors in cases of long-standing skin issues. There are, nevertheless, some things you can do which can help you achieve healthy, glowing skin. Apart from trying to implement a healthy diet, consider the following:


Vitamins, minerals and fatty acids

Deficiencies may be due either to not getting enough nutrients in your diet, absorption issues or extra demand from nutrients from factors like stress and inflammation.


Nutrients that can be deficient include protein, vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc and essential fatty acids (omega-3).


Eat rainbow-coloured foods

Consuming bright-coloured foods rich in antioxidants can help protect our skin from free radicals caused by factors such as smoking and pollution.



Consume fermented foods

The relationship between skin health and the gut is being researched closely and more links are being drawn between poor gut health and skin health. Aside from addressing gut health, fermented foods may support good skin health and improvement of skin disorders.


Consider vitamin C intake as it acts as a cofactor in collagen synthesis

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in tendons, fat and ligaments. Having enough collagen helps your skin appear strong and youthful. There are also many collagen supplements available that show promise in improving skin quality. Choose marine collagen as this seems to have the most evidence around it to improve skin health [1].

Drink water

Most people don’t drink enough water, but it’s important to help hydrate the skin, help the body flush toxins and get rid of waste products. This in turn may contribute to better skin and help prevent breakouts. As a rule of thumb, drink 35ml of filtered water per kg of body weight.


Have a green smoothie

Vegetables are packed with fibre and nutrition so having a smoothie can help you reach your vegetable intake for the day, leading to more vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake. An example is:


250ml water

1 apple or pear

1 kiwi

¼ cucumber

Handful of spinach

1 knob of fresh ginger

Collagen powder supplement (optional)



Go organic

Food that's not organic can be genetically modified, contain pesticides and fungicides. Exposure to pesticides can lead to a number of health issues that can impact fertility, digestion, hormones, skin and breathing, and is also linked to the development of cancer [2].


So if possible, consider investing in a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box which gives you a variety of in-season produce. If you are mindful of your budget then try to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables because they will naturally be lower in pesticides. The Pesticide Action Network UK produces a ‘dirty dozen and clean fifteen’ food list which shows the percentage of different fruit and vegetables found to have multiple pesticide residues.


What to reduce

  • Smoking: There is no question that this ages and depletes nutrients from the skin as well as damaging collagen and elastin (which keep your skin firm and supple), which can result in premature ageing and wrinkles.

  • Sun exposure: Sunlight in moderation is good for us but excess sun exposure can damage the skin, allowing wrinkles to develop and increasing the risk of skin cancer.

  • Stress: Raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol can make skin conditions flare.

  • Alcohol: This is dehydrating for the skin and acts as an anti-nutrient for the body.

  • Sugar: Imbalanced blood sugar and excess consumption of sugar can exacerbate skin problems as well as impact general skin health by increasing inflammation and ageing of the skin by loss of collagen and elasticity.

  • Foods which you may be sensitive to: Skin disorders can be a result of sensitivities to some foods. Common foods include dairy and gluten. You may benefit from doing a trial of removing gluten or dairy (or both) for a period of three weeks and see how it impacts your skin.

 

Bottom line: There are many ways to improve the health of your skin but as always you should work through the list and see what is relevant to you and then take one or two changes per week to make sure they are lasting and you aren’t too overwhelmed by the change of diet.


Want to learn more about IBS, click here.


Daniel


Daniel O'Shaughnessy

The Naked Nutritionist

Award-winning BANT Registered Nutritionist

Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner


A note from Beingwell: If your organisation would like Daniel to deliver a workshop, or want to find out more about the many ways he can help your employees to eat better, pop us an email hello@beingwellgroup.com. Find out more about Daniel here.



References:

  1. Skin Antiageing and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study (2016). Hindawi.

  2. Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture (2016). Frontiers in Public Health.

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