In my conversations with women, I’ve discovered that, contrary to popular belief, not that many of them are keen to look younger.
What they do want is to look healthy and radiant, with a clear, glowing complexion. And to achieve this, you need to work from the inside out.
A lot of us live in hope that the latest creams will solve any problems we have with our skin. After all, it’s difficult not to believe those strong and glamorous advertising campaigns. But the reality is we’re often left feeling very disappointed and ripped off.
Some of us rely on our GP to provide medications in the hope that our unpredictable complexions might suddenly behave like a supermodel’s. With the pop of a pill you’ll be cured, right? And for some there’s no doubt that this is what they need.
But there is an increasing awareness, thank goodness, that the state of your skin is more than likely to be a reflection of your inner health. And a good look at your food and skincare regime could be all it takes to turn things around.
Going with your gut
Hippocrates said: “Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.” And let’s face it, he knew what he was talking about.
Food, or more specifically, the quality of nutrients your body absorbs directly influences your gut, hormones, skin and every organ and system in your body.
There’s growing scientific evidence that our gut communicates directly with our brain, so we need to treat it with the respect it deserves. If you think about it, if you’re feeding your gut CRAP (Carbonated drinks, Refined sugars, Artificial foods and Processed foods) what do you suppose would be the quality of messages sent to your brain? And in turn, the hormones and chemical responses your brain releases into your body?
No wonder most of us are feeling exhausted or in pain all the time!
Unfortunately today, much of our food lacks the levels of nutrients they once had, say in our grandparents day, when organic was the norm. Modern farming methods, depleted soil nutrients and refined, mass-produced, processed foods leave our bodies struggling to function optimally and our skin bearing the brunt.
So how do you know what you should be eating not just for your general health but for your skin?
There’s usually not one standalone reason why your skin might be suffering, but it could be you are lacking in certain nutrients. Topping these up might alleviate your skin symptoms simply as a side effect of taking care of your gut.
Is your skin dehydrated, dry or sensitive?
Dry skin is often indicative of a lack in essential fatty acids, omega 3 and 6, with 3 being the most essential as it can reduce inflammation. Our cell membranes need these so that they can do a better job of controlling what goes in (nutrients and H2O) and out (toxins) of the cells.
When we’re not getting enough good fats, our cells can’t retain water and lose their plumpness, causing dehydration, itchiness, inflammation and redness due to weakened capillary walls.
Your body can’t produce its own omega 3 and 6 so you need to get them from your diet. Try to eat foods rich in good fats or essential fatty acids. You’ll find omega oils in cod liver oil supplements, oily fish like mackerel and salmon, flaxseed, walnuts and chia seeds.
If you get too much omega 6 from processed vegetable oils, soy, snacks and biscuits etc this can actually cause inflammation. So it’s important to get the balance right by eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh meat and fish.
Supplementing your diet with evening primrose and starflower or borage oil can also help with balancing hormones, easing peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms as well as keeping your skin supple, elastic and hydrated. Plus you can use a specialist omega-rich moisturiser to calm the dryness topically,
If you have dry skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema, your may find your symptoms ease with supplementation of omega oils.
There’s been a lot of hype about omega 3, 6 and 9 supplements. However, the body can actually manufacture omega 9 when it needs to so save yourself some money and concentrate on nourishing yourself with omega 3.
In summary, we need natural fats to function properly. We’ve been brainwashed to believe any type of fat is bad for us, but that’s simply not true.
The human race is the unhealthiest it has ever been and that is due to our diet choices. We’ve forgotten what real food is and our poor bodies don’t know what to do with the junk we feed it. And it shows in the rise in fatigue, depression, illness, disease, hormonal problems and skin conditions. Interestingly, none of these symptoms are found in ancient, isolated cultures that modern ways of living haven’t yet reached…
Have a think about how you can improve your intake of essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3. Because that’s what they are. Essential.
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