Achieving Healthy Skin From The Inside Out
By Charlotte Bumstead
“A lot of people say you are what you eat, but I also say you are what you digest,” says registered holistic nutritionist Jenn Pike. “Our body is literally made up of the things that we consume.” This is especially true of our skin. Healthy, glowing skin is not only desired for replenishing our maturing appearance. Our skin also acts as a window into the body. Did you know different areas of the face constitute specific organs in the body? For example, the cheeks represent the liver and kidneys, expressing how healthy these organs are functioning. Whereas the state of the chin and jaw line is dictated by hormones. The skin is the largest organ of the body—it deserves special care and attention. Pike explains how your diet is crucial to the condition of your skin, informing Zoomers of both helpful and harmful attributes.
“Berries are fantastic for the skin, because they’re a rich source of anti-oxidants and phenols,” says Pike. “These nutrients help to protect the cell structure in the body and they prevent oxygen damage to the skin.” Nuts are also helpful to the skin, due to high levels of healthy oils. This includes: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raw cashews and almonds. They also contain vitamin E, which helps keep the skin soft and supple. Ground flaxseeds are another favourable choice, for the high amount of essential fatty acids—the type of fat crucial to maintaining healthy skin. Try adding these snacks to salads, yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal or cereal.
Valuable Vegetables (and Fruits)
You can’t go wrong with tomatoes—served both raw and cooked. “Tomatoes are great, because they have lycopene and they contain lots of anti-oxidants,” says Pike. “When you cook the tomato, it releases more lycopene into the actual food, so having a variety of these two options is important.” Spinach is another contributor to your skin. It is rich in iron, which is important for collagen building. It also contains vitamins A and E, as well as B vitamins. Sweet potatoes are also a promising choice. “One single sweet potato contains over 200 per cent of your daily vitamin A,” says Pike.
There are more ways to benefit than by simply eating these foods. Avocados are advantageous when applied directly to the skin. Pike’s offers her own personal face mask recipe:
– Mash up one avocado;
– Add two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil;
– Apply to the skin, placing two cucumber slices over the eyes;
– Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.
The fatty acids in salmon are an expedient tool for the skin, as they prevent it from drying out. Other options are lean protein choices, such as turkey and chicken; they are not only high in protein, “but they’re also high in selenium, zinc and your B vitamins, which are really important in terms of helping keep the skin healthy from the inside, out,” Pike says. “Selenium and zinc are two of your anti-oxidants as well, that work with vitamins A, C and E.”
What you drink is equally essential. “Water is extremely important to help purify the body, detoxify the skin and keep it hydrated,” says Pike. “A lot of people who suffer from early onset of wrinkling and [who] have really dry skin—they’re very de-hydrated.” Pike also recommends drinking green tea, for its high levels of polyphenols and anti-oxidants. Green tea is also beneficial for lowering cholesterol. Excess cholesterol can contribute to skin issues. Pomegranate juice is another quality choice, and a healthy alternative to sugary juices or sodas.
Try to cut down on coffee, salts, sugar, alcohol, greasy foods and anything that will contribute to congesting the skin, advises Pike. Foods that are difficult for the body to digest and break down are also going to be harmful to the skin. Eggs, wheat and dairy can be common contributors to eczema. Many people have sensitivities to these foods, of which they are not even aware of. Unhealthy fats contribute to oil and acne, as they affect the hormonal system.
It’s also important to be aware of what goes into the products you are applying to your skin. Choose something with natural ingredients that you can understand when you read the label. “The fewer ingredients, the better,” says Pike. “Because ultimately, anything you put on the skin, you’d like to know you could ingest that without having to call poison control.” Visit your nearest health food store to learn more about beneficial washes, moisturizers and/or cosmetics.
Finally, exercise often and sleep well. Getting your heart pumping and your body sweating helps your skin to purge and detoxify. Our bodies require sleep to repair and rejuvenate. By making these positive choices a habit, you are constructing healthy building blocks for your body and your skin.