The Foundation Of Healthy Skin
Fats have a central role to play in your health, being the second largest compound in the body after water. Unfortunately many people have been misled into believing that fat should be avoided. The right fats are crucial to our overall health, and when the right fats are missing from our diet, health will be compromised. The reason for this is that the right fats are required in every single cell membrane, so if they are missing, every single cell in your body will be unable to do its job effectively.
Skin cells are special because you can see them
Obviously skin cells are special because unlike the cells inside our body we can see them very clearly. Common symptoms of skin lacking the right fats are: dry, flaky skin, prematurely aging skin like wrinkles, skin disorders like rashes or eczema, thin skin and skin that bruises easily.
Having healthy cell membranes is therefore the foundation of all health, including skin health. This is why it is generally possible to see how healthy someone is by looking at their skin.
Replacing the bad fats in the membranes of your skin cells with the right fats will result in significant improvements in the quality of your skin, simply because your skin cells can function more effectively, by replacing themselves and retaining moisture more efficiently.
In summary – the right fats in the membrane of your skin are the foundation to healthy and good looking skin.
Other aspects to skin health
Although the right fats form the foundation of healthy skin, there are some other aspects to skin health that you may have to consider if your skin is not 100% healthy yet.
- Water is the number one compound in the human body – Water has a number of very important functions to perform in your body and brain, and can transform the way your skin looks, because of these functions. Water flushes wastes and toxins out of your cells, excreting them through your kidneys, bowels, and skin. Water has the ability to carry nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, as well as other nutrients, to every cell in your body – and brain. So, dehydration will affect your skin and the nutrients it receives from your blood stream, making your skin look dry, pasty and unhealthy. Drinking fruit juices and soft/soda drinks doesn’t supply water to the body, although they are liquids, because the body has to break them down first, due to their sugar and salt content. So the body treats them like food initially, using digestive juices to break them down. If there is a little water left over, it is not sufficient to provide adequate water to the body. Only real, pure water can do that. Drink 300ml’s for every 10kg’s of body weight.
- Sometimes a specific food can be your skins enemy – Food allergies or intolerances are often noted on the skin, simply because the skin is second largest organ in the human body. If you are eating a specific food that your body battles to digest, and absorb, then understandably your skin may reflect that problem. By removing a suspect food from your diet for a period of 2 weeks – 3 months, you will be able to note any changes in your behaviour and physical health. The most common foods that provoke an allergic response are as follows, with food additives known to cause skin reactions at the end of the list:
- Wheat (and other gluten grains, such as oats, rye and barley)
- milk or dairy products
- fish (including shellfish)
- legumes (soya, green peas, lima beans, peanuts)
- MSG (E621/621)
- Sulphites/metasulphites/metabisulphites (E221/221 and E223/223)
- Tartrazine(E102/102) and BHA (E320/320).
Undergo this elimination diet under the guidance of an expert in food allergies, and sensitivities, who will be able to help you eliminate all the possibly offending foods, and guide you in choosing suitable alternatives.
- Manufacturers make food that won’t go off – but your skin can
Processed foods and sugar can play havoc with your skin. We weren’t designed to consume nutrient deficient food, so our bodies don’t cope well with it, and unfortunately, one of the first places to see the damage of such a sugar-laden diet, is on your skin. Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause blood sugar imbalances and poor skin quality. This is because collagen, the specialized protein that skin is made up of, is especially sensitive to refined sugar. Sugar causes skin to look lacklustre, and also causes breakouts. Tiny compounds called Advanced Glycation End products are formed through the action of sugar on collagen, which cause wrinkles.
- Skin loves fresh, colourful foods
Fresh foods, such as green and coloured vegetables all provide potent nutrients, as well as enzymes that help food digest properly. Fresh produce, especially capsicums, pumpkin, tomatoes and carrots also contain Vitamin A, which apart from being a potent antioxidant, is also responsible for cell turnover and skin brightness. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are especially useful, as are sulphur rich vegetables, such as leeks, garlic inions and shallots. Leafy green vegetables also provide a natural form of iron, which is very helpful in getting oxygen to your cells, to keep them well energized. Berries and citrus fruits are especially good for skin because they are packed with vitamin C, which helps restore a glow to skin and slow ageing. Special compounds called anthocyanins protect collagen, the protein in skin, stopping free radicals from wreaking havoc with this delicate protein.
- Tiny compounds that help your food work properly
Digestive enzymes are very important little compounds, because they help your body to function optimally, by helping you digest your food, by breaking food down into smaller parts. This enables your body to obtain nourishment. They also help different biological reactions to take place in your body, which are essential for your health and wellbeing, so they can be helpful to your skin.
- A healthy gut leads to healthy skin
Your skin needs the right nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients and other important compounds found in your diet to stay healthy. But these can only be absorbed if your digestive system works well. Probiotics found in yoghurt (choose unsweetened, organic varieties to maximise benefit) or probiotic supplement will help your digestive system to work optimally and provide your skin with all the nutrients that your diet supplies.
- The sun can be your skins friend
You do need a certain amount of sun exposure, as the sun, acts on your skin to produce Vitamin D, which has a number of important functions to perform in your body. However you can get this sun exposure at safe times during the day.
- Skin irritants in your surroundings
Environmental irritants, such as dust mites, chemicals in our homes, washing powder residue on clothes, shampoos, as well as certain fabrics can all irritate sensitive skin. When the skin is inflamed and sensitive due to essential fat deficiency and lack of nutrients, it is very susceptible to environmental irritants. And it is wise to avoid any known irritant while the skin is healing. However, it is never a good idea to expose yourself to chemicals – whether your skin is healthy or not. Unfortunately, many people concentrate on avoiding environmental irritants, without looking to the real cause of the skins distress.
- Important skin nutrients that you may be missing out on
Zinc is a very important mineral for maintaining good quality skin, and is unfortunately one of the minerals that most soil is deficient in. This means that most fresh produce is deficient in this important nutrient. Zinc supplementation may be necessary to get glowing skin if you are very deficient in this mineral.
Selenium is another important mineral for good skin, and a deficiency may be due to refined food consumption, and lack of essential fats. Mushrooms, cabbage, courgettes, avocados, lentils, seaweed and Brazil nuts contain this important mineral.
Vitamin A and E, are both very important for skin health, and if your diet doesn’t include carrots, apricots, melon, red asparagus, tangerines, peppers, broccoli, squash, mango, sweet potatoes, watercress, papayas, pumpkin, tomatoes, parsley and green leafy vegetables, as well as fresh seeds, nuts, cold pressed vegetable oils, beans and peas, you will be deficient in these important vitamins. They are also potent anti-oxidants, so they keep your skin young, as well as healthy.
Vitamin C is also very important to attain and maintain healthy skin and fresh produce is often missing this important vitamin, due to long storage times and the distance that some fresh produce has to travel to get to the consumer. You will find good quantities in citrus fruits, melons, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, watercress, cabbage, peas and kiwi fruit.