Our skin is our largest organ. Its function is to:
- Eliminate waste
- Process sensation
- Provide protection
- Regulate body temperature
- Manufacture vitamin D
- Storage our internal organs, muscles and skeletal system etc
- Protect the body from UV damage from the sun
The health of our skin is closely linked to the health of the blood that feeds it. The health of the blood is mostly determined by the quality of the food we eat. A healthy, balanced diet should consist of whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, protein, carbohydrates and good fats that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Some believe that a modern diet consisting mostly of chemical additives, foods such as sweets, biscuits, coffee and alcohol, contribute to congestion in the body (waste matter) which then leads to congested skin. Often a modern diet leaves people overfed and undernourished, for some people this can cause the skin to become slow and inefficient with a build up of metabolic waste. This is thought to lead to skin conditions such as acne. Build up of excess waste in the cells of the lower layers of the skin can also accelerate the ageing process.
Foods high in certain vitamins and minerals are especially beneficial to the skin, for example:
• Beta carotene is found in most fruits and vegetables, it is a precursor form of vitamin A, which means the body converts it to vitamin A when eaten. Beta carotene protects the skin from free-radical damage. Foods abundant with beta-carotene often have orange pigments, such as pumpkin and carrots.
• Foods high in Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) are important for oxygenating the skin with blood, these include asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds and green peas.
• Vitamin B3 (Niacin), abundant in mushrooms, tuna and sea salt, is important for skin health and also plays a vital role in oxygenating the skin.
• Vitamin C can help to both prevent ageing and maintain elasticity in the skin cells. Citrus fruits, spinach and red peppers are high in vitamin C.
• Vitamin E protects from free radicals, and is available in avocados, nuts and olive oil.
• Minerals that are beneficial to the skin include chromium, which is important for regulating blood sugar levels and is available in whole grains and potatoes.
• Selenium is an important antioxidant that promotes activity and is an anti-inflammatory. It can be found in brazil nuts, prawns, tuna and sunflower seeds.
• Silica is available in cucumber, green peppers and leeks, and is important for long term skin health.
• Zinc balances hormones that can impact the condition of the skin, and it is also helpful in regulating sebum production. It is found in shellfish, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms and spinach.
“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake”
Tisserand, R B. 1977. The Art of Aromatherapy. Essex, UK. The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd
Pinnock, D.2012.The Clear Skin Cook Book, UK. Constable & Robinson Ltd