It’s that time of year when we are just starting to recover from any over indulgences over the festive period. As we begin to allow our bodies to return to normal, this detox can start to show in organs such as the skin. Here is an overview on skin health for you:
Acne and Skin Health
Acne is caused when the sebaceous gland becomes blocked, infected and inflamed. This happens with the over production of keratin (a waterproof, protective protein) and sebum (an oil used by the body to protect against bacterial attack). Other skin cells that fail to shed can also add to the blockage.
Vitamin A (retinol) controls the rate of keratin accumulation and it reduces sebum production Lack of vitamin A can cause dry skin. Vitamin A rich foods include: liver, egg yolk, butter, peppers, carrots, apricots, kale, sweet potatoes, parsley, spinach and butternut squash
Zinc is essential in wound healing and the generation of new skin cells. It is used to make retinol binding protein and in skin oil gland function. Teenage boys have the lowest levels of zinc in the whole population and they also have the highest incidence of acne. Zinc rich foods include: oysters, ginger root, lamb chops, pecans, split peas, nuts, egg yolk, whole wheat, rye and oats.
Vitamin E regulates retinol levels and wound healing. It is a potent antioxidant. Vitamin E rich foods include: sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame oil, peanuts, olive oil, butter, spinach and oatmeal.
Selenium is an essential antioxidant used by the body to combat oxidative damage. This damage is increased when inflammation is present. It works closely with vitamin E. Selenium rich foods include: butter, smoked herring, brazil nuts, apple cider vinegar, scallops, barley, whole wheat bread, shrimp, red swiss chard and oats.
Vitamin D is essential in skin cell development and repair. It also helps your body to mobilise against free radical damage. If you are lacking in vitamin D skin can appear dry and sagging. The best source of vitamin D is sunshine. Amounts obtained from diet (oily fish, eggs, sunflower seeds) are insufficient to bestow benefits to the body.Clear Skin Diet, six steps to a glowing complexion.
1. Eat fresh unprocessed food and chose organic whenever possible.
2. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants such as berries, carrots, garlic, seeds and broccoli. Drink green tea instead of black and enjoy the odd glass of red wine.
3. Eat foods that high in fibre such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and oats.
4. Eat foods that contain essential fatty acids, these are found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, nuts and seeds.
5. Drink about two litres a day of pure water or herbal teas.
6. Eat less refined foods and limit sugar, caffeine, alcohol and trans fats.