Skin health and appearance depends very much on the quality of nutrient-dense foods we consume and the frequency with which we consume them. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found increasing fruit and vegetable intake improved peoples’ appearance.
The research found that eating an additional 2.91 portions of fruit or veg per day would make you look healthy and, if you bumped that up to extra 3.3 portions of fruits and veg – you appear more attractive to other people! Amie Skilton, herbalist and nutritionist talks about how to look better by eating better.
In addition to increasing the amount of fresh, seasonal produce we consume, there are some other key nutrients to consider for great skin all year round, but some are even more important with summer here:
Good quality protein
Collagen is made up of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine and studies have shown that supplements like branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) and royal jelly can boost collagen production. If you’re going to take a protein powder to supply these amino acids look for a 100% whey protein isolate (WPI) product for optimal bioavailability and results.
Essential fatty acids
Most people have heard of omega-3 fatty acids as they are nourishing to the skin, but omega-7 is less well known and produces even faster results. It is ideal for moisturising dry skin from the inside out which is great if winter has taken its toll – but it is especially recommended if you have a dry skin condition like eczema or psoriasis.
Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption will increased your antioxidant status, and you can increase this even further my drinking green tea on a daily basis. However lifestyle and environmental factors can increase the demand for antioxidants and there are some specific antioxidant supplements that specifically benefit skin. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) from grape seed extract, as well as resveratrol, have been shown to help to reduce the impact of UV damage on the skin.We know that vitamin C is specifically required for collagen synthesis, and glutathione (both totally and topically) has some incredible skin benefits as well.
If you have congested or acneic 200mg of lactoferrin daily can significantly reduce skin oiliness and breakouts. It is a great complementary supplement to accompany any skincare treatments you may be having.
If your skin is inflamed or irritated in any way, the use of a high potency, broad spectrum probiotic can help to calm the immune system down and support healing. Speak to a healthcare practitioner about which one would most benefit you.
– Sunscreen: the balance between adequate sun exposure to limbs for vitamin D production, and adequate protection from UV-induced damage, is a delicate and personal balance. However, when using sunscreen opt for a mineral-based, physical block for optimal protection against premature ageing and hyperpigmentation.
– Sugar-Free: sugar is extremely damaging to the whole body, but shows up quickly in the skin. Sugar consumption results in a process called glycation, in which the molecules attach themselves to collagen fibre causing the skin to become less elastic and more vulnerable to sun damage, lines, and sagging.
– Stress Management: stress has a huge impact on our wellbeing and our skin can reveal just how taxing it can be. The hormones released in response to stress affect digestion, hormonal balance and the immune system – which all have a negative impact in the health and appearance of skin. Getting adequate rest at night, and utilising stress management tools like meditation, exercise and journalling during the day, will go a long way to support the health of our skin – and the rest of our body!