Natural Clear Glowing Skin Starts With Good Diet.
You know that saying, ‘You are what you eat’? Oftentimes that phrase is used to demonstrate the importance of being mindful with our food choices because it shows up on our bodies. But there is a deeper meaning than overall health and nutrition, it applies to how our skin looks and feels. For instance, if you were to eat highly processed foods (white bread, cookies, chips, packaged snacks) along with low fiber fruits and vegetables everyday you might notice changes in your skin color, texture, and experience more breakouts or redness. Researchers have found a correlation between nutrition and various skin conditions such as acne, premature aging and other inflammatory skin conditions. I am going to share specific nutrients and living probiotics that should be incorporated into your diet. But first, let’s start with the basics. What is the importance of our skin?
Skin: The Largest Organ
Human anatomy is based around the study of the body structure, from molecules to bones and how they interact to form once functional unit. Our body systems are a true marvel! Skin is considered an organ that plays a significant role in anatomy. In fact, it is the largest organ on the human body. Our skin can cover a total area of about 20 square feet. Our skin as 3 main roles:
- Protection: Skin plays such an important role in protecting us from foreign microbes, and toxic elements from invading. This also includes mechanical impacts and pressure, variations in temperature, and chemicals.
- Regulation: It will help to regulate body temperature through sweat and hair, and changes in circulation and fluid balance. It also acts as a reservoir for the synthesis of Vitamin D.
- Sensation: Skin has a network of nerves that sends signals throughout the body when it detects a change in the environment. Sensations from touch, heat and cold.
The 3 skin layers:
- Epidermis: The outermost layer of skin that acts as a barrier to our environment and create our unique skin tone.
- Dermis: The layer beneath the epidermis, made up of strong connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands.
- Subcutaneous Tissue: Also known as hypodermis layer, is made of fat and connective tissue.
Unaware of the damage we cause to our skin, there are foods that accelerate aging and exposure to skin conditions.These foods include:
- Dairy: Although there is not a definite link between dairy and acne, there are some strong theories to support it. Skin expert, William Danby, explains the dairy-acne connection in relation to hormones. Testosterone may cause a stimulation of oil glands, leading to acne prone skin.
- Sugar: There is evidence that eating more refined carbohydrates could increase your risk of acne outbreaks because increased insulin levels can stimulate oil production. This being a pre-curer to diabetes.
- Gluten: Even without a diagnosis for celiac disease, people often have a sensitivity to gluten products. Oftentimes this reaction is first noticed by the development of a rash on the body. Underarms, stomach, face are all common areas to check.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it will dehydrate your skin if consuming too frequent. This results in an inflammatory response causing blood vessels in the skin to dilate, worsening the affects of acne and redness on the face. Alcohol also indirectly effects skin health in its ability to cloud our judgement. Poor food choices is common to follow a night of drink as people tend to crave salt, fried and processed foods.
Gut – Skin Connection
The gut communicates with the skin through pathways such as the microbiome and its metabolites,
with the gut having a larger impact on the health of our skin. Some skin problems have resulted from poor digestive health or GI conditions.
- Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO): The excessive amount of bacteria in the small intestine causes malabsorption and digestive issues. Rosacea has been be associated with SIBO. A recent study found that a higher number of patients with rosacea tested positive for SIBO.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Chronic condition that causes inflammation to parts of the intestinal lining. IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is suggested that those with IBD are at a higher risk of developing inflammatory skin conditions such as: psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea.
- Celiacs Disease: Celiacs is considered an auto-immune disease. The body attacks it’s self when coming in contact with foods containing gluten: barley, wheat, rye. Dermatitis herpetiformis, is a chronic skin rash that is associated with celiacs disease, presenting more skin problems rather than gut issues.
Good Nutrition, Good Skin
The food choices you make can impact your skin complexion. It has been found that your diet has an even bigger impact on the health of your skin then anything cosmetics put on your face. In a recent study, researchers identified prevention as the most effective way to work against skin aging effects. What they were referring to as prevention was establishing a well regulated lifestyle (caloric restriction, body care and physical exercise) with low stress conditions and a balanced nutritional diet, including anti-oxidative rich food. Let’s take a deeper dive into what a nutritional diet for skin health looks like.
- Vitamins C: (also called L-ascorbic acid) is water soluble and is not naturally synthesized making it a vital molecule for skin health. One of the great uses for l-ascorbic acid is it’s ability to stabilize the structure of collagen, iron absorption and increase the bioavailability of selenium. Natural sources of vitamin C are found in citrus fruits, blackcurrant, rose hip, guava, chili pepper or parsley.
- Carotenoids (vitamin A, β-carotene, retinol): It has been suggested that our skin is enriched in lycopene and β-carotene, suggesting it’s specific function of hydrocarbon carotenoids in human skins. β-carotene supplementation for 7 weeks has been shown to reduce the rate mitochondrial mutation in human dermal fibroblasts after UV exposure. Foods such as: Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya all contain quality sources of carotenoids.
- Vitamin D: Also known as the ‘Sunshine vitamin’ is acknowledged for its importance in bone structure but recently evidence is pointing towards the improved function of skin tissue and the immune system. The skin is a key organ of the human body vitamin D endocrine system. There are a few natural sources of vitamin D including: cod liver oil, egg yolks, salmon, mackerel, tuna and beef liver.
- Probiotics: These living microorganisms in the intestinal tract are beneficial to our digestive system and skin health. Our gut contains over 300 species of bacteria which contributes the bacteria in our skin. Several studies have found relief from skin conditions when taking probiotics orally. It is suggested that specific strains of bacteria support immune homeostasis that is altered by UV exposure, preserving the skin homeostasis by modulating the skin immune system. For example, the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been found to reduce dermatitis and eczema. A stabilized gut microbiome should be reflected in the health and beauty of your skin. Good sources of probiotics include: Kashaya Probiotics, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, pickles, kombucha.
- Essential Fatty Acids: Seen as one of the key elements in a natural skin care diet. The fatty acids like omega-3s and 6s are made up of polyunsaturated fats and are essential to the structure of healthy cell membranes. They help build the skin’s natural oil barrier, keeping the skin hydrated, plump and firm. Sources of essential fatty acids include: cold water fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and plant based oils like flaxseed oil, and avocado oil.
- Polyphenols: Known for their antioxidant properties and possible role in preventing diseases associated with oxidative stress. Polyphenols are a promising group of compounds to boosting the body’s ability to protect and repair from damage, topically and internally. It is often looked as a great chemo-preventive agent in healing from skin cancer. Found mostly in fruits, vegetables and plant derived drinks such as fruit juices, tea, coffee and red wine.
Recipe: Superfood Smoothie for Glowing Skin
Try out this superfood smoothie that’s jam-packed with nutrients. Berries and oranges containing polyphenols and vitamin C. Sweet potato or pumpkin puree that is full of vitamin A. Blended with Kashaya, a great source of probiotics and chia seeds for those omega-3 fatty acids.
- 1/2 cup Kashaya probiotics (or dairy free yogurt of choice)
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (organic)
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 steamed/cooled sweet potato (or pumpkin puree)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3/4 cup soy milk or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- A dash of pink mineral salt
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Beauty Comes From Within
Always remember that beauty comes from the inside. In combination with using natural, organic made skin products, it is important to feed your skin a wholesome diet. Not only will eating a balanced diet make you feel good but give you a huge confidence boost when you look your best.