There is increasing awareness of the relationship between our inner health and outer beauty. Our dietary choices have a dramatic impact on our skin’s health and ageing processes.
As it turns out, we really are what we eat. Diet has profound effects on appearance, and not just at the waistline. The glowing skin and healthy hair we covet depends on what we put into our tummies.
Our bodies are in a state of constant transformation. Did you know that every seven years almost all the cells in the human body are replaced? You literally are not the same person you were a few months ago. Managing this continual process of transformation is the key to radiant beauty.
Deficiency in any nutrient will cause changes in the skin, hair, and nails, as well as in blood circulation, which supplies nutrients to the skin and removes toxic waste products. Certain nutrients are essential for skin health. Food with refined carbohydrates, and fried and burnt food also creates damaging free radicals.
Consuming a low glycaemic diet is key in aging healthily. However, many vegetables are rich in antioxidants; which can help combat the effects of free radicals and have a noticeably positive effect on skin health and age.
Sugar, the demon of the moment, is especially damaging to the skin. Sugar molecules create advanced glycation end-products, which cause stiffening, weakening and noticeable ageing of the skin. So, less sugary food has anti-aging effects.
Collagen and elastin are protein structures, and therefore, an optimal intake of dietary protein is important for maintaining healthy skin structure. Omega-3 essential fat rich oily fish and some types of nuts and seeds are a few good sources of this essential nutrient.
A quality fish oil supplement can combat inflammation and dry skin, helping maintain a healthy, supple complexion. Antioxidants help protect the skin from free-radical damage.
Zinc trace mineral helps maintain collagen and elastin fibres that give skin its firmness and help prevent sagging and wrinkles. Poor intake of almost any B vitamin can cause dry or scaly skin, itching and a burning sensation. Vitamins B2 and B6 also are important in maintaining the oil-producing glands, which keep skin moist and smooth. The fat-soluble vitamin A is essential for maintaining epithelial tissues. Skimp on this vitamin, and your skin can get dry, scaly, and rough.
Veggies are naturally rich in water, so they provide moisture within your skin, plumping the cells and filling the crevices. Think of them as your body’s natural lotion, plus a whole lot more. Also, vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, which keeps skin hydrated and restores fluid balance, so it does not look wrinkled and withered.
The good news is that the nutrients needed for a healthy glow also revitalise your whole body, so making dietary changes to improve your skin and hair will have an even larger positive effect. It’s not always easy to eat right. Health often takes a backseat to busy schedules, family commitments, and social obligations. But here are some suggestions for how even the busiest person can incorporate skin and hair benefitting healthy food into their diet for the day:
At least nine colourful fruits and vegetables, five or more servings of 100 percent whole grains, three servings of calcium-rich food, two servings of iron/zinc-rich foods such as extra-lean red meat, chicken breast, seafood or legumes, and at least eight glasses of water.
Taking a miracle pill or slathering on promising skin cream actually take a lot of effort, and cost far more than simply fighting the effects of ageing with wholesome, anti-ageing foods. Save your money and focus your energy on comprising your diet with the green tea, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Do your best to mitigate stress. When we are stressed, it interferes with our digestion and our ability to detoxify, making us look older. Being constipated does not reflect well on the skin.
To prevent this, make sure you consume foods rich in fibre and well known for helping maintain a healthy digestive system. Sleep deprivation can make you look older than you really are, so sleep at least 7-8 hours a day.
True beauty starts with your diet. When you give your body the right nutrients, it will help you stay healthy, active, and attractive. The skin mirrors a well-rested body, endowed with vitality and health.
To glow from the outside, adopt a healthy lifestyle that cleanses your inside. When the gut is healthy, your skin looks healthy too!
Consulting Nutritionist and Assistant Creative Director, Protishabda Communications