Diet is a powerful tool when it comes to health.
Eating well is probably the most important thing do for ourselves when it comes to avoiding the triggering of genes which switch on different diseases. These days we know that about 85% of disease is due to the interaction of diet and genes. There is a whole new field of study known as nutrigenomics which looks specifically at the interaction of nutrition and genes plus how we can steer our health with food to prevent or treat disease.
A healthy diet right down at the cellular level, provides nutrients and minerals and other goodies to help our body function and prevent disease producing effects. On the outside of our body, a healthy diet helps with;
- skin moisturization
- wound healing
- maintaining a healthy skin barrier
- minimizing inflammation
- decreasing free radical damage
- promoting a healthy cell turnover.
- promoting healthy production of collagen and elastin
Here are 3 Healthy Skin Food Groups
1) The omega 3′ fatty acids
Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory compared to omega 6 which is pro-inflammatory. Pro-inflammatory foods are unhealthy for the whole body. For good health it is essential to maintain the balance of omega 3: omega 6. Think of inflammation as being like the “fire within” that triggers an immune response, thus starting the cascade of ill health. Inflammation, often seen as skin redness, is very obvious in skin disorders such as eczema.
If you eat a fairly processed diet, for example food out of packets, take away foods or bakery goods it is more than likely that you will have high levels of omega 6. Omega 6 oils are usually sourced from vegetable oils which includes cotton seed oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed, soybean, safflower and margarine.
Omega 3 also helps to thin the blood and promotes a healthy circulation. In terms of skin health Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids promote a healthy, youthful looking skin and boost immunity. A deficiency is often implicated in skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and other dry, scaly skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.
To improve your intake of Omega 3’s eat plenty of fish especially the cold water varieties such as salmon, tuna, mackeral and sardines. Omega 3’s are also found in certain plants as alpha-linolenic acid. Non-animal sources of omega 3 include flaxseed, chai seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed and soybeans. The omega 3’s in seeds such as flaxseed are less available to the body however so many people will not get the same benefit as they would from fish sources. Another source of alpha-linolenic acid is green vegetables such as kale, parsley and wheat or barley grass.
2) Zinc rich foods
Zinc is the most important of all minerals when it comes to having a balanced immune system, a good skin pH, good wound healing capacity and low allergy.
Zinc levels are often diminished in the body. This can be genetic to some extent but where you live can also have an impact. In Australia, around 85% of females have some sort of zinc deficiency, presumably because it is not in the soils that grow our foods.
Zinc is often decreased or unable to be properly utilized in people who have stress, due to the effects of stress upon the copper to zinc ratio.
Good sources of zinc include: Oysters have by far the highest levels of zinc.
Other good sources of zinc include:
Phytonutrients are those nutrients found in plants (phyto). Phytonutrient research is on the increase as we begin to understand the many benefits of eating fresh, plant based foods. The cells of plants are made up of thousands of phytochemicals which interact with the body and boost our health. A phytonutrient that has been recognized for years is vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and has beneficial effects for the skin.
Other antioxidants are also found in plants, many with much greater effect than vitamin E. Antioxidants help to decrease free radical damage in the body and damage to our cells. Free radical damage is known to be destructive of collagen and elastin. Good levels of collagen and elastin are required to prevent signs of premature ageing. Low levels of collagen and elastin mean that the skin literally has less elasticity and will be more prone to a wrinkled appearance.
Phtyonutrients include a group known as flavanoids and flavanoids themselves have many subgroups of healing properties, many that are that are beneficial for the skin both internally but also topically. One of the better known flavanoids is turmeric – a powerful antioxidant which inhibits inflammation.
Many phytonutrients provide protection against UV damage. Sources of flavanoids include dark chocolate, green and white tea, red wine, red onions, citrus fruit and berries.
Another group of phytonutrients are the carotenoids. Foods containing carotenoids often have a pink colour (such as salmon). Carotenoids stimulate melanin production so enhance the natural skin tanned look. Carotenoids help with healthy skin turnover and can be useful in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, acne and to slow the ageing appearance.
A fresh whole diet is of course the key to all good health including radiant skin.
We would love to help you improve your skin problem and we can help with skin treatment of conditions such as eczema, acne, rosacea, scabies, psoriasis to name but a few.
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