Beauty Foods: 5 Common Nutrients That Give Your Skin That Glow

As a former Make Up Artist, a Nutritionist, and the creator of a line of natural skin care for babies, I know a thing or two about skin.
Topically, our skin is affected by what we eat, or don’t eat, what we put on it, and by our environment.  Consuming trans and saturated fats can clog pores and promote bacteria production and acne.  Also, high refined carbohydrate consumption can increase testosterone conversion to DHT, which enlarges the pores and increases sebum (oil) production and acne.  Sugar is also a culprit as it is turned into saturated fatty acids by our body and forms a greasy film on our skin. (1)
A lack of nutrients can also cause skin conditions.  A deficiency in zinc, antioxidants, fiber, water and EFA’s can cause acne, premature aging, dehydration and sun damage as your skin is less protected from free radicals. Some foods work well topically to improve suppleness, shine, and clean pores, but some foods contain nutrients which are more effective when eaten.
Of course, a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of water will keep our entire body systems working optimally, but these particular nutrients will help your skin looking its best. 

Liquid EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids): Oils containing EFA’s work better internally rather than topically as they can become rancid if left on the skin and exposed to air.  Internally, EFA’s, such as walnut, sesame, and flax oil, help to improve the skin’s suppleness and makes it less prone to infection.

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Zinc: Zinc is a micronutrient that works particularly well on acne conditions. A deficiency in this mineral can increase the conversion of testosterone to DHT, increase pore size and sebum production. Zinc plays an important role in healing and tissue building. Foods rich in zinc are spinach, oysters, lamb, eggs, nuts and pumpkin seeds.

 

Selenium: A trace mineral that helps to protect against free radicals that can cause premature aging, dryness, tissue damage and even skin cancer. Cold water fish and brazil nuts are excellent sources of Selenium.

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Fiber: This is the roughage of plant material that binds to cholesterol and other toxins in the body and flushes it out. Daily fiber intake is important for our entire body to keep it clean. The skin is our body’s largest organ, so if the body is not clean, the evidence shows on the outside, usually in the form of skin rashes and acne. An excellent form of fiber is ground flax, an ancient seed that is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid, plus protein, vitamins and minerals. It is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and has cancer fighting properties. (2)

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Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E help protect our body from free radical damage that can cause premature aging, tissue damage, disease and the deterioration of fatty acids. Foods high in vitamins A, C and E are berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, wheat germ, carrots, avocado, sunflower seeds, eggs, dairy and spinach.

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Always include exercise in your daily routine. It aids in detoxification of toxins through the skin.  Sweating is good! And, don’t forget about water. You can liven it up with lemons and berries for flavour and an extra boost of antioxidants.

 

Additional sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 
  2. Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill

 

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

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5 Sources of Fibre and Why You Should Be Including Them In Your Diet

When you think of fibre, you probably go straight to bowel health. And, you are correct. Fibre helps clean you out and keeps you regular. But, this essential nutrient has a few other health benefits that you might not associate it with, other than digestion and elimination.

First, fibre binds to cholesterol and eliminates it through your bowels. This is important for those with cardiovascular disease. According to a study, those at risk for CVD have a 40% lower rate of having a heart attack when adding fibre to their diet.

Fibre can help with weight management as it makes you feel more full. It also regulates blood sugar levels so spikes and crashes are not an issue. This is particularly important in diabetes support as fibre helps to slow the absorption of sugar.

Fibre feeds your gut bacteria.  Our body contains both good and bad bacteria and fibre helps to flush out the bad, while feeding the good. Fibre is plant based and our body does not digest it. Instead, along with water, it helps to form stool that is full of bad bacteria, waste, cholesterol, excess hormones and toxins, and then exits our body.

Fibre is either soluble or insoluble and they work in different ways. If you suffer from constipation, you might want to add more insoluble fibre in to your diet. It adds bulk to stool and speeds up transit time. It is found in whole grains and vegetables. Soluble fibre, like chia, flax and nuts, slows transit time by attracting water, and works well for weight loss as it makes you feel full for longer.

Either way, try to get in 30g fibre a day for optimal health and glowing skin. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help the fibre bind to all the nasties that must exit your body twice (yes, twice!) a day. Try adding fibre to smoothies, salads, bliss balls, soups, and hummus.

5 Easy, high fibre additions are chia seeds, whole grain rice, ground flax, walnuts, and quinoa. A little sprinkle will do ya.

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Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy recipes on Instagram.