Get your summer glow on!
Warmer weather means time for the big reveal, but if you suffer with skin issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis or are worried about the sun’s aging effects, read on for some simple tips to help protect your skin from the inside out.
One of the main drivers for skin flare ups and skin aging is inflammation. This may sound abstract but in actual fact and regardless of skin health, if you experience allergies, aches and pains, digestive discomfort, difficulty losing weight or struggle with low mood, it’s highlylikely that inflammation is playing a role.
What is inflammation and how can food help?
Think of when you fall over and cut your knee, as immune system messengers flood to the site of injury you experience pain, swelling and redness – this is inflammation, and a completely normal reaction. This essential acute response helps us heal from injury and protect against infection. The problem is when inflammation becomes chronic, driven by a poor diet, stress, a lack of exercise, excess weight, smoking, alcohol and our environment.
An ‘anti-inflammatory’ style diet can help to keep inflammation in check. This way of eating is a key ingredient in my skin health toolkit and one with which I have seen great results.
Nourish skin from within in 5 easy steps:
Load up with healthy fats
Number 1 are omega 3 rich foods which have been shown to reduce inflammatory hormones in a similar way to anti-inflammatory drugs. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado also provide skin soothing benefits
- Eat 2-4 portions of oily fish per week -salmon, sardines, mackerel.
- Drizzle salads with extra virgin olive oil or omega 3 rich flax or walnut oil.
- Snack on nuts and seeds – walnuts, chia and flaxseed are particularly high inomega 3.
- Steer clear of sunflower oil, peanut oil, margarines and processed spreads high inomega 6 and hydrogenated fats which can upset the delicate balance with anti- inflammatory hero omega 3 and make inflammation worse.
It’s all about the antioxidants
Antioxidants work at a cellular level, helping to neutralise ‘free radicals’ and preventthem causing damage – minimising inflammation. Vitamin C and E are particularly powerful for healthy skin.
- Eat the rainbow – the more richly pigmented your fruit and veg the better. Add blueberries at breakfast, choose dark green leaves for salads and switch carbs like rice or pasta for cauliflower or broccoli rice, courgetti or squash noodles. These days you’ll find them ready prepped in most supermarkets.
- Enjoy a cuppa – regular tea, green tea and coffee all provide protective polyphenols.
- Treat yourself to a glass of red wine, dark chocolate or a spoonful of peanut butter – they’re rich in resveratrol, shown to be a powerful force against oxidative stress and help slow the aging process.
- Dark chocolate is also rich in flavanols that may protect against sun damage, so tuck in before your holidays!
Spice up your life!
Herbs and spices can be as potent as anti-inflammatory drugs at combatting inflammation
- Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric packs a powerful punch and can alsohelp manage blood glucose balance, crucial for weight loss. Add liberally tohomemade curries, or try turmeric tea.
- Combine with black pepper which has it’s own effect anti-inflammatory effects andincreases the absorption of curcumin.
- Compounds in ginger can block the release of pro-inflammatory hormones and isalso rich in antioxidants
- Cinnamon helps to maintain blood sugar balance, important for weight management and keeping inflammation in check.
Pay attention to your digestion
Your digestive system is home to around 100 trillion bacteria, outnumbering human cells by around 10-1, so it’s important you keep these little guys happy and healthy. In addition, between 70% and 80% of the immune system is based in the gut so for keeping skin healthy and inflammation under control, your gut could hold the key.
Include a daily helping of:
- Probiotics – live beneficial bacteria created during fermentation in yoghurt,sauerkraut, miso, kefir, kombucha
- Prebiotic fibre – feeds healthy microbes, found in leeks, onions, garlic, oats, barley, green bananas, asparagus and chicory
Common food sensitivities can often show up in the skin as your immune system respondsto ‘foreign’ proteins so try reducing or removing these foods and you may notice an improvement.
- Dairy – also contains hormones that can encourage inflammation, people with acne and eczema usually see a dramatic difference by reducing dairy
- Gluten – can cause digestive problems and impact skin health too
- Sugar promotes the release of the hormone insulin, too much of which can lead toweight gain, but sugar can also bind to collagen causing skin to become rigid and prone to wrinkles.
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Find out more at www.treatus.co