You have all heard the phrase “You Are What You Eat”. However, not many of us stop to actually think about this in detail, and how true this old wives saying really is. Unfortunately we live in a generation where this saying is even more relevant than when it was first devised. With a continual rise in the amount of sugars, unhealthy fats, preservatives, pesticides, artificial flavourings and vitamins being added to our foods, unknown to us. Now is time that we have to take responsibility over what we put in to our bodies if we want to look after our health and the way we look.The way our skin looks is a direct correlation with how healthy we are on the inside. Take a moment to think about people that you know. Some of them may have great physiques and for all intense and purposes would strike you as being healthy. But they lack a glow and they may have imperfections on their skin. The chances are these people are fit, and although this helps with health it, doesn’t directly equate to health. On the other hand you can probably think of people who don’t look as physically fit, compared to the previously thought of people, yet they just glow. Their eyes are white, the skin and hair is shiny and full, without blemishes. People who fit this profile are probably the more healthy ones.Here at Kyushi we believe in health and creating beauty from within. You don’t just feed your skin with what you put on it, like our face oils. You also feed your skin with the food that you eat. Think about The Power of Ten face oil it is basically a smoothie of nutrients and hydration for your skin, imagine if you also filled your daily diet with watermelon, cucumber, blueberries and pears. We said in our diary ‘Love your body, Love your skin’ that it takes 28 days for your skin to regenerate. Therefore what you eat today can have lasting effects for up to 28 days. It is the food that you eat that will give every cell in your body the nutrients that it needs to function. The better all your cells function the greater your health will be and the better your skin will look. There are some huge topics where we could write whole books on the link between food, health, and skin (and many people have). Other than the obvious link that we have just pointed out. That your skin cells are regenerated from the nutrients you eat. There are many others that should be considered. Currently the link between your microbiome in your gut and the microbiome on your skin is receiving a lot of attention. Once your gut microbiome has matured no other regular factors change your gut microbiome more than food. Therefore we know this has a huge impact on the skin microbiome too. However, we are going to have to save this rather large topic too for another day.So here is detailed list of foods that directly improve the appearance of the skin by nourishing and/or protecting the cells that the skin is made of.
Salmon and other fish rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids
Salmon, Herrings, Mackerel are all rich in Omega-3 oils. These oils are essential in maintaining skin health. They keep the skin, plump, flexible and well moisturised. One of the symptoms of a lack of Omega 3 oils is dry skin. In addition to give the skin its full and nourished look, Omega 3 oils also reduce inflammation helping to reduce acne. Some studies have also shown that high quality (naturally derived and not synthesised) Omega 3 supplements fight inflammation and auto immune conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis and Lupus.
With the arrival of the Agriculturally heavy diet in the form of plenty of grains and corns and a variety of cheap oils making their way in to our diet. Many people have a pro inflammatory diet viewed from a fatty acid balance alone. This is heavy in Omega 6 and 9 oils rather than omega 3 oils. Although much debate exists as to the best balance for Omega 3 : Omega 6 & 9 oils. Most agree that it sits somewhere between 4:1 and 1:4 and that currently the average western diet is close to 1:16. This is far away from the recommended balance regardless of which recommendation you follow.
It has also been demonstrated to make your skin more resilient to the suns harmful UV rays. The oils of nuts, fruits and plants are often used by the plants to help protect it against harmful UV rays and it appears it has similar albeit much less effect when ingested by humans (Disclaimer: please don’t eat an avocado instead of applying an appropriate level of sun lotion)
Omega 3 oils are also great cell guards. Fat cells act a s a guard to the cell membrane and determine what can and what cannot pass over the cell membrane barrier. This means a good cell guard will help prevent free radicals and other toxins from entering the cells around them.
If you aren’t a fish lover other foods that have a good Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fatty Acid balance are Olives/Olive Oil (unheated), Avocados, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Flax seeds, Hemp Seeds, Organic/Pasture Raised Egg Yolks, Grass Fed Meats, Grass Fed Butter, Sea Vegetables, and Algae. Green Vegetables such as Spinach, Kale, and Chard Greens.
Ooooohhh AvocadoNo wonder these are the trendy food of the moment. Not only are they great tasting and versatile but they contain some great nutrients. They are a great source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids and chock full of Vitamin A, D and E. They also contain a ton of phytonutrients. I’m not going to get bogged down with the benefits of eating Avocado as its to tempting. Maybe we should write a blog on this little green wonder pear?
Water Melon – Eat your Water!!
Although this sounds counterintuitive most people who feel/look puffy and have extra water retention. Particularly under the eyes, are actually dehydrated. Yes, water retention is often a sign of dehydration. The balance between the intracellular fluid (fluid inside your cells) and extra cellular fluid (fluid outside your cells) is out. This is normally due to an imbalance in salts. Most people have too much sodium and too little potassium. If the concentration of sodium, which sits in the extra cellular fluid (outside the cells) is higher than the levels of potassium (which sites inside the cells). It will pull water out of the cells and in to the extra cellular fluid to balance the sodium concentration outside of the cells. Although Water Melon is by no means no means the highest concentration of Potassium of all of the fruits it remains a great way to rehydrate. It has a really high water content and low sugar content when compared to other fruits. Plus its so refreshing and helps to meet that sweet fix you might need. Additionally the low sugar content means you don’t have to worry about glycation. This is a chemical reaction that compromises collagen and leads to wrinkles and lines in the skin. I’m sorry but yet another thing sugar causes that has a negative on the way you look and feel. This is why we are not suggesting the other fruits that have higher potassium levels to help you balance out the levels.
It really is good to eat your water as its a simple way of getting in the water you need and balancing your salt levels. Other good options include Cucumber, Celery, Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Grapefruit, Lettuce, Strawberries, Spinach and Lettuce.
Green Cruciferous VegetablesGreen Vegetables such as Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, and Brussel Sprouts are higher in concentration of Vitamin C than citrus fruits. They contain greater concentrations and a broader variety of other essential vitamins and minerals. These include in varying quantities Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Folate, manganese, Potassium, and carotenoids.Vitamin C is great for reducing oxidative stress on the body. In fact studies have shown that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and age related dry skin than those who don’t. Unfortunately unlike some of the other minerals the human body cannot make or store vitamin C so it has to be regularly consumed through a healthy diet. Stock piling it occasionally will not help. Unfortunately for ease neither will Vitamin C supplementation. Most Vitamin C supplements are in the form of Asorbic Acid and this is not Vitamin C. It is only part of it. Its like going to buy a car and coming back with 4 wheels and nothing else. You have part of the car but its not going to get you to work in its current form, and never will without the rest of the car.Vitamin C is also great for helping your immune system. Studies have shown that upping Vitamin C intake on the onset of a cold can improve the recovery time and sometimes prevent the full development of a cold or flu.Other foods high in Vitamin C if you cant bear the though of eating your greens are Camu Camu (add the powder to your smoothies, this is the highest concentration of vitamin C). Acerola Cheries, Chilli Peppers, Yellow Peppers, Blackcurrants, Kiwis, and Strawberries and Citrus Fruit are also great sources.
MeatRed meat contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals such as Zinc, Iron, B Vitamins, Creatine and Amino Acids. We recommend you consume meat that is Grass Fed (and grass finished), absolutely Hormone and Antibiotic free, and not processed.Amino Acids are the building blocks of all cells, proteins, enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and metabolic pathways in the body. Meats, Seafood, Poultry, Eggs, and Dairy Products are considered foods that contain complete proteins. This means they contain all nine essential amino acids. (Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methonine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine for the need to knows amongst you).Spirulina, Seaweed, Soy, Quinoa, and Buckwheat are the only plant based foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Albeit in much smaller quantities. Other sources of protein such as nuts, beans and lentils are considered incomplete proteins and therefore do not contain all of the essential amino acids.Therefore we recommend that if you do not eat meat, fish or dairy you find the protein sources that work best for you. Then make sure that you have a diet that is varied in them to ensure you meet your quota for amino acid intake. Fortunately we actually need less protein than most people believe we do. Especially those in the world of fitness. The real quantities are around 0.4grams to 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. The 0.8 grams are more for the physically active among us. The human body is actually excellent at recycling proteins and amino acids so you don’t need to go over board.
EggsEggs are rich in Amino acids, B Vitamins and Zinc. Zinc is found in every single cell in your body, and more than 100 different enzymes need it to function. Skin cells are particularly dependent on zinc. The top layer of your skin is concentrated with up to six times more of the mineral than is found in the lower layers. Zinc works like an anti oxidant although technically it isn’t an antioxidant (like vitamins C and E, for example). The mineral lessens the formation of damaging free radicals and protects the skins lipids (fats) and fibroblasts (the cells that make collagen), when skin is exposed to UV light, pollution and other skin-agers.Zinc also aids the skin to heal. It is an anti microbial which can help soothe the skin and heal quickly. If you cut yourself the amount of zinc surrounding the cut increases as the enzymes and proteins multiply to protect against infection, control inflammation, carry away dead cells and produce new cells. A similar process is required for the general formation and turnover of skin, all relying on Zinc being present to assist.Spots and pimples develop when a build up of unhealthy oils, bacteria and dead skin cells block pores. This causes the skin around the pore to become inflamed and turn red and swollen. Zinc can help control this inflammatory response and may even prevent pores from becoming clogged in the first place if the turnover and regeneration of skin cells happens quickly. Other foods rich in Zinc are Red Meats, Shellfish, Legumes, Seeds, Nuts, Dairy, and Eggs.
Nuts and SeedsNuts and seeds such as Sunflower Seeds, Hazelnuts, Pine nuts, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, and Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E. They can all be added to salads, soups, cereals or eaten as snack.Vitamin E is a strong Anti-Oxidant and is considered to play a role in preventing a plethora of different diseases. Importantly in this section it is also considered very important for maintaining healthy skin as it protects your skin from the oxidative stress you encounter in your environment everyday.