Beauty really is an inside job. How many of us stop to consider that our outer layer is merely a reflection of inner processes, completely reliant on the health of the 50 trillion cells that you are made of? And the health of those cells is impacted by everything from the food you eat, the nutrients present or missing from your blood, and the hormones and messages your body makes based on whether your thoughts are fearful or loving. Really think about that.
When most people think about improving their appearance, they usually focus on a product, another “quick fix.” However, when we do this it may mean that we don’t address what has caused this to happen in the first place, which usually requires an inside out approach to address aspects of our nutritional status or biochemistry. Optimising inner health has the power to affect your outer beauty by improving the health of your skin, transforming the shape and movement of your body, and allowing you to express a radiance that inspires those around you.
The skin is your largest organ, not just a layer that keeps your insides on the inside. It is a barometer of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from eczema to acne to the appearance of ageing, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs. Without great food, nutrients, hydration, digestion, liver, thyroid and kidney function, as well as sex hormone balance, just to name a few, it can be a challenge for our skin to be nourished.
The skin performs a multitude of tasks, most of which go unnoticed and are unappreciated by many. It protects us from disease and our daily exposure to particles in the air. It cools us when we are hot and warms us when we are cold. It heals wounds inflicted on it, often without any assistance from us. It absorbs sunlight and produces vitamin D, critical to our bones, teeth and immune function, and it keeps itself moist, slows its own ageing, and every day attempts to renew and restore its beauty. While skin accomplishes all of this on its own, it still needs support. With every blemish, rash, and wrinkle, the skin is asking us to understand its nature and to support its efforts at self-renewal. Unfortunately, many of us respond to changes in our skin with practices that may actually assault and injure it further, consequently accelerating the ageing process, whether that is visible immediately or not. Others may do nothing for their skin, but nonetheless expect it to remain clear, beautiful, and youthful. Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, consider what you can do to help your “beauty bits”, as I like to call them, to flourish from the inside out.
Dr Libby Weaver author of Women’s Wellness Wisdom shares some suggestions to get you started.
Amp up your intake of antioxidant-rich plant foods
Vitamins A, C and E and selenium are potent antioxidants that help to reduce damage caused by free radicals, which are generated by many processes including increased respiration and exposure to smoke and pollution. Vitamin C, found in lots of fresh vegetables, citrus fruits and berries, is also critical for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural protein of our skin. Dark green leafy vegetables contain beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) in addition to vitamin C, and brazil nuts are rich in both selenium and vitamin E, making them great skin foods.
Enjoy plenty of ‘real food’ fats
Skin loves fat! Fat helps the skin to maintain its moisture barrier which helps keep skin soft and prevent drying. Nuts and seeds, avocado and coconut are real whole foods that are rich in nourishing fats. Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly helpful for skin, and this is the type of fat that most people are deficient in. Oily fish like sustainable sardines or salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts are all great sources.
Fluids help to flush out any harmful substances from the body and prevent these substances from needing to be excreted through the skin, where they can cause damage. To keep our skin plump and youthful, it’s important that we stay hydrated and listen to the signs our body gives us when it needs some extra hydration. Science currently tells us that healthy adults need 33 millilitres of water for each kilogram of our body weight. So, a 70 kilogram person theoretically requires 2.31 litres of water per day. However, we tend to forget that many plant foods have a high-water content, and this contributes to our overall hydration status. Herbal teas and soups also add to our total fluid intake.
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