Skin issues are becoming more common these days, and can have a dramatic emotional impact on people. Unfortunately, some people use the ‘band aid’ approach and use synthetic creams, toxic skincare and medications such as steroids, antibiotics, as a solution. However this only temporarily addresses the issue and doesn’t look at the actual problem.
The quality of the food you eat profoundly impacts the state of your skin. Of course, there are many factors, such as stress, pollution, mould, chemical exposure and genetics that can contribute to skin issues. So it is important to take a holistic approach when improving your skin health. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, eczema and premature aging can be a result of inflammation, nutrient deficiencies or gut problems, all of which can relate to your diet.
Top 5 nutrients and foods to consider to optimise your skin health:
Zinc – is necessary to improve the health of your skin. Zinc deficiency is significantly linked to many skin issues including acne, dermatitis, skin lesions and rosacea. Liver is one of the best sources of zinc, along with animal proteins, some legumes, nuts and seeds. With some of my clients I recommend them to have a ‘zinc taste test’ to determine if they are deficient or not. If they are, I would recommend them to increase zinc rich foods or possibly supplement their diet with liquid zinc. Try these recipes to increase your zinc levels naturally – gut loving liver pate and crispy bacon liver fry up.
Vitamin C – is crucial for the production of collagen, reduction of inflammation and immune support. Camu camu is an unbeatable source of vitamin C as it contains approx. 460 times more Vitamin C than an orange. I do not recommend synthetic forms of vitamin C unless it is being used therapeutically with a practitioner. Camu camu can be added to smoothies, gummies, icecream, or added to fermented foods to enhance the vitamin C content and other essential micronutrients to enhance its bioavailability.
Collagen – is the most abundant protein in our body, and is found in our skin, bones, tendons, teeth and our guts. You can actually consume collagen rich foods to improve your own collagen production. Combine collagen rich foods with vitamin C and you will have fabulous skin. Some of these foods include organic gelatin, gelatinous meats, bone broths and pure collagen powder.
Omega 3 – is in fact an ESSENTIAL fatty acid and therefore needs to be consumed as the body does not produce it by itself. Omega 3 fatty acids have the potential to reduce inflammation and therefore improve your overall health and skin health. Adequate consumption of omega 3 fatty acids has been linked to benefiting a huge range of skin issues, including the ability to lower rates of skin cancer and the treatment of acne. Begin incorporating salmon with the skin on, sardines, chia seeds, hemp seeds, inca inchi oil and your omega 3 fatty acids will increase naturally.
Fermented foods – gut dysbiosis is strongly linked to skin issues, so if you really want to heal your skin, you need to work on your gut. Of course, by eating a diet rich in real, anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding inflammatory foods, your gut and skin can improve dramatically. However, it is highly beneficial to consider food based probiotics as it is a great way to rebalance the good bacteria in your gut to begin the healing process.
Eating fermented foods rich in beneficial bacteria will also assist to balance your gut. There are many fermented foods you can make from scratch including kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, rejuvelac, kombucha and kimchi.
A stool test is often valuable to determine if there is an overgrowth of pathogenic microbes like parasites, bacteria, yeasts and once treated the skin can improve dramatically.
Personally I add Camu Camu and collagen powder (here or here) into my smoothie daily, eat plenty of broths, jellies, gummies and panna cotta, have fermented foods every day, consume liver regularly and eat fatty fish 3-4 times a week. I also add turmeric in my food.
These food suggestions are delicious and healing to your body. Use food as your medicine to heal your health and skin.
Happy changing habits
Nutritionist & GAPS Practitioner