Healthy, glowing and radiant skin starts with proper nutrition and digestion. You can use all the expensive creams, lotions and potions but if your diet is bad your skin won’t be great. The cell renewal process of the skin takes about 4 weeks, so a change in the diet can take a little while to get the results but you will and it is worth it.
For years many people have shunned away from fats in the diet, thinking they will pile on the pounds, increase cholesterol and blood pressure. This is all not true. The right kinds and right amounts of good fats will actually help you lose weight (or maintain), lower your cholesterol and can help stabilise blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, it is the incredible effect on the skin that we are interested in for this Blog.
Years of low fat dieting (and dieting in general) is shown on the face. Sallow, hollow, dull and dry skin is the result. We all want our skin to be plump, glowing and radiant. By going down the fat free or no fat route you will not achieve great skin, however much money you throw at products.
Each skin cell is surrounded by two layers of fat, this is the cell walls. Known as the phospholipid layer, it is made up of the fats we eat (or don’t) eat in our diet. The more good fats we eat the plumper and more radiant our skin is.
Which Fats to Eat?
The most important fat to include in your diet is Omega-3 essential fatty acids. It is Omega-3 that becomes part of the cellular structure of skin and thus making it plump and of good quality. Omega-3 also has anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties and can help reduce spots and breakouts. Essential fatty acids cannot be made in the body, so have to be included in the diet. If not, the skin will show dryness, spots, redness and generally look dull and lifeless. EFA’s also help with hormone function/balance and moods. It is thought that a diet high in Omega-3 can help with depression.
Where to get Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
• Oily Fish – sardines, maceral, salmon, sea bass etc
Almonds (my favourite)
Full of Vitamin E to help prevent ageing. Protects the cells from damage and is a powerful antioxidant. I have almond butter on toast every single morning (unless I have eggs cooked in coconut oil).
Just 2 a day will supply all the selenium your body needs. Selenium helps repair cell damage, support the elasticity in the skin and prevent ageing. I eat my two every morning whilst making breakfast. After a week it just becomes a habit, but a good habit.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids to keep the skin healthy and glowing, but also reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of walnuts help prevent breakouts, so great for skin prone to acne, spots and redness.
Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds
These are a powerhouse of Vitamin E, to help maintain the moisture in the skin and protects from free radical damage. I add one dessert spoon of each of these to my smoothie every day.
I will actually do an entire Blog on these sensational little black seeds. I couldn’t be without them, not only are the one of the highest sources of Omega-3 around, they also contain high levels of iron and fibre. I could go on and on about Chia Seeds but just take note and get them into your daily diet. The best find I have ever had for my skin!! I take 2 tbsp of chia seeds per day without fail.
I order these in 2kg bags from: www.infinityfoodwholesale.co.uk
• Grass-fed Beef
It is worth the extra money for the skin and health benefits. Grass feed beef contains less saturated fat, more Omega-3 oils, more linoleic acid (which helps reduce heart disease and cancer) and it is high in Vitamin E. Perfect if you don’t like fish!
Incredibly high in Vitamin E, as well as maintaining moisture levels of the skin from the inside out and keeping the skin hydrated. Sadly, this isn’t my favourite oil to eat, but I try to eat at least 2 a week, mashed up on toast with good olive oil, sea salt and black pepper…..it’s the only way I can take it!!
• Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a perfect was to fill your body with essential fatty acids. What isn’t there to love about coconut oil?! It is anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and can boost the immune system. This is the fat to include if you suffer from breakouts, candida, spots and dry skin. In fact, everyone should include this in their diet for glowing skin and general good health!! I cook with coconut oil. Eggs, stir-fry’s, potatoes etc. It is an easy oil to squeeze into your diet, cheap and found in Waitrose…..what more could you want!!
At present there are no guidelines to how much to consume per day or week. I personally try to include good fats where I can in my diet. I have almond butter for breakfast, nuts & seeds in smoothies and snacks, I eat oily fish at least 2/3 times per week and cook with coconut oil. My weight never really changes (if it does it is because of increased sugar consumption!!), my skin is always soft, glowing and good (most of the time) and my hair grows quickly and since upping my intake it seems much thicker and better quality.
Over the years I can take one look at someone skin and see if they are not eating essential fats and dieting without balance. Fats in the diet are a necessity, not just for the skin but for hormonal and mental balance (hence why people on diets are grumpy, snappy and miserable!!).
It is not fat the makes you fat!! I love fat and have full fat organic milk, organic butter, oils, nuts & seeds and oily fish. Eat it wisely, eat it regularly, take exercise and take care of your skin externally. All the products in the world won’t give you glossy, glowing and age proof skin…..but a balanced diet high in omega-3 will without a doubt help.
Don’t strive for a sunken hollow face, aim for a radiant plump and glowing complexion. Enjoy those nuts (salt free!), roasted potatoes (in olive oil) and salmon this Christmas and add “Increase good fats into my diet” in your New Year’s resolutions!!
Please Note: To help the omega-3 metabolise in the skin it is also important to have the nutrient Biotin in the diet. This can be found in egg yolks, sweet potato, chard, tomatoes, avocados and almonds.
Please Note: The reason I drink full fat organic milk, is that it is higher in Omega-3’s, full of Vitamin A and E. It also contains higher levels of calcium and less sugar.